On February 8 – 10, 2018 Maria Ślązak, President of the European Association of Lawyers represented our Association as a speaker during the 46th European Presidents’ Conference. AEA-EAL Past Presidents Monique Stengel and Konrad Meingast also participated this event. The convention is the oldest and the biggest summit of the highest representatives of European lawyers. Also, many organizations from the outside of our continent are represented each year in Vienna. During their stay in the capital city of Austria, the participants are hosted by the Federal Chancellor, the Federal Minister of Justice and the Mayor of the City of Vienna. The fact that more than 200 top lawyers are present each year, serves as a proof for the importance the Presidents’ Conference. This meeting is a forum not only for exchanging opinions and views, but also for filling information deficits, debating different viewpoints and developing strategies as well as for informal talks. It is also a tradition that bars, law societies and international organizations of lawyers submits each year reports on their activities and international domestic developments that occurred within the passing year.
Traditional venue of the European Presidents’ Conference – Palais Ferstel
This year the topic was “Self-regulation or heteronomy – lawyers’ independence in danger?”. Maria Slazak was one of four speakers who delivered presentations and was speaking, among others, about international guarantees for Lawyers’ independence and self-government with conclusion that proposed European Convention on a Profession of a Lawyer is more than needed due to the fact that existing legal instruments have non-binding character (resolutions, declarations or recommendations) and the Convention will include an enforcement mechanism also for these Member States, where independence and/ or self-regulation is problematic or threatened. She also underlined that it is crucial for every lawyer to take into account mission of the profession towards citizens and society and not profits only. The presentation was welcomed with great interest from the participants (see below letter from President of the Austrian Bar).
Maria Slazak speaking during the conference
During meetings in Vienna AEA-EAL President met with representatives of several Bars, international organizations of lawyers and institutions, including Christiane Wendehorst, President of the European Law Institute (ELI).
Maria Slazak and Prof. Christiane Wendehorst, ELI President
She met also with the delegation of Serbian Bar Association, with President and Vice-President of the International Organization of Young Lawyers (AJIA) and with the President of the Kazakhstan Bar Association, with whom a preparation of the common conference in Almaty (June 15-16) was discussed.
Vienna events was closed by a traditional Ball of Lawyers in the Halls of Hofburg Castle. This Ball closes carnival season in the Austrian capital.