The eleventh edition of the meeting was held at the Adolfo Suarez Conference Centre in Málaga.
1,448 participants, including myself who as far as I could see was the only British lawyer, attended the event up on the 1200 for last year coming from all branches of law. The congress covered all subjects of law ranging from Immigration to Banking.
In order for the event to take place a cooperation agreement was signed by the mayor of the town, Angeles Muñoz, with the Bar Association of Malaga, for which in return Marbella provided the municipal facilities “for the celebration an event of great importance for the city in the tourist and economic sphere, “ highlighted by the mayor.
For his part, the Dean of the Bar Association of Málaga, Francisco Javier Lara, explained that “this legal congress is the most important of our country, and some say in Europe.”
In addition, he noted that an important factor for choosing Marbella “responds to the fact that it has an excellent climate, varied cultural and gastronomic events on offer and very hospitable neighbours that make you want to come back.”
Lara announced that the Third Conference of International Criminal Law will also be held in the city and thanked “the willingness of the City Council and its support for the activities of the Bar Association of Málaga”.
Regarding the legal conference, Lara pointed out that all matters of law from personal injury, immigration, litigation, employment to addressing gender violence, among others would be discussed.
The congress has now completed 11 years and stands as a leader in the sector. According to Francisco Javier Lara this growth has been proven in the number of those who have registered, but not only that the speakers, are becoming more international and come from the most important institutions. This is due to the response from the lawyers who believe in the program and make the effort to leave aside the obligations of their offices, to come to Malaga to attend.
There were around 70 presentations and 7 round table discussions on offer and it was difficult to choose between the wide range of topics and prestigious speakers. There was something for everyone no matter what area of law you were specialised in and often there would be two or more presentations of relevance to your field being held at the same time. As I work with the expat communities on the Costa del Sol I chose those seminars which would be relevant to me from inheritance tax to planning and the law of horizontal property.
The Congress is already considered one of the most important legal meetings in Spain if not in Europe and possibly the rest of the world in a few years according to Lara.
Further he has stated that one of the main objectives is to attract speakers from other countries, not only from European institutions but coming from courts in other countries. So we can give insight into how another country is acting on a particular theme. It was also expressed that the presence of the monarchy at the opening of Congress would be welcome. This year there was state presence, with the representative of the Ministry of Justice, but for future congresses the monarchy could also show the importance of the training of lawyers in society.
In my personal opinion I was impressed by the event, there is nothing equivalent on offer in the UK that I am aware of. The UK has the Law Society which governs the solicitors in the country as a whole whereas in Spain the societies are divided up into their prospective autonomous regions. Seminars in the UK are held by law firms and barristers chambers and usually attended by fellow solicitors either before or after the working day enabling them to update their knowledge and receive CPD points for professional development.
It will be interesting to see if in the future international speakers come to the congress from the UK and then we would see a multilingual event with some seminars held in English and others in Spanish.