Barrister Frederico Singarajah and the Bar Council's Melisha Charles explain the international work strengthening ties between the UK and Mexico.
After two fruitful business development visits to Mexico in 2018 and 2019, the Bar Council of England and Wales, and three voluntary Mexican bar associations - Barra Mexicana, Ilustre Colegio de Abogados (INCAM), and Asociacion Nacional de Abogados de Empresa (ANADE) - renewed their commitment to collaboration and share knowledge at the International Bar Association Annual Conference in Miami in 2022. It was decided to organise skill-based workshops in Mexico City during the autumn of 2023, opting for this approach over the typical legal conference format.
The previous visits had involved collaboration with the Law Society, but the 2023 event marked a new direction for the partnership. On the 21st and 22nd of September 2023, the Bar Council of England and Wales delivered workshops in International Arbitration and Corporate Investigation in vibrant Mexico City.
The delegation consisted of five barristers and two Bar Council staff members, including the former chair of the Bar, Mark Fenhalls KC. The visit was orchestrated in cooperation with BMA, ANADE, INCAM as well as ICC Mexico. The event was sponsored by Nardello & Co. (headline sponsor). The dinner and drinks reception were sponsored by law firms Santillana y Abogados, S.C. and Von Wobeser y Sierra, S.C.
This visit was the third of its kind by the Bar Council to Mexico, and it laid the groundwork for an exciting fourth visit planned to coincide with the International Bar Association Annual Conference, set to take place in Mexico City in 2024.
The event in 2023 boasted an impressive lineup of speakers and workshop leaders. The first day commenced with keynote speeches from Carlos Loperena, ICC Mexico Arbitration Chair; Francisco González de Cossio, Mexican Bar Arbitration Chair; and David García Sarubbi, Federal Collegiate Court Magistrate. Their contextual insights set the stage for an engaging and informative series of workshops. Frederico Singarajah and Shaylla Shabir of Gatehouse Chambers and Exchange Chambers took the reins, delivering practical skills and know-how from an international perspective during the International Arbitration workshops.
Adriana Greaves, Mexican Bar Anti-Corruption Chair; Luis Dantón, ICC Mexico Anti-Corruption Co-chair; and Victor Meyer, General Director of Investigations of Absolute Monopolistic Practices of COFECE, opened day two with keynote speeches and the first workshop on the enforcement of corruption investigations against corporates in the country. Mark Fenhalls KC, Sarah Gaunt, and Joshua Hitchens of 23 Essex, 36 Group, and Outer Temple Chambers, respectively, led the remaining workshops. They provided insights into the complex considerations required when an investigation spans multiple jurisdictions.
These workshops and keynote speeches demonstrated the commitment of both the Bar Council of England and Wales and their Mexican counterparts to strengthening legal ties and promoting knowledge exchange. The event's success underscores the importance of international collaboration in the legal field, fostering a deeper understanding of legal systems and practices across borders.
As the Bar Council looks forward to its fourth visit in 2024, timed with the International Bar Association Annual Conference, it is evident that the Bar Council's dedication to forging connections and to expanding networks remains unwavering.
Frederico Singarajah is based at Gatehouse Chambers. Frederico has developed a successful practice in international dispute resolution that encompasses commercial litigation and international arbitration. He is a specialist in international trade and investment disputes.
Melisha Charles is the Bar Council's International Policy and Programme Officer.