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Karlskirche, Vienna

Hallo Wien! International Bar Association annual meeting 2015

After venturing to the far East of Japan last year, 2015 sees the return of the International Bar Association’s annual meeting to Europe. Vienna will host the conference this year, a city which holds an interesting pedigree as a legal centre.

Vienna is currently home to the Vienna International Arbitral Centre, one of Europe’s leading arbitral institutions, and which serves as a focal point for the settlement of commercial disputes in the regional and international community. Founded in 1975 as a permanent arbitral institution of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (AFEC) the centre has enjoyed a steadily increasing caseload from parties across Europe, the Americas and Asia.

Vienna is also well-known for the international law treaty: the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (VCLT), which was adopted on 22 May 1969 and entered into force on 27 January 1980. Ratified by 114 states, the VCLT was drafted by the International Law Commission of the United Nations. During the twenty years of preparation, several draft versions of the convention and commentaries were prepared by special rapporteurs of the Commission. The Convention defines a treaty as “an international agreement concluded between states in written form and governed by international law,” as well as affirming that “every state possesses the capacity to conclude treaties.” Most nations, whether they are party to it or not, recognize it as the preeminent “Treaty of Treaties”.

Vienna is perhaps better known for its cultural highlights. Developed from early Celtic and Roman settlements into a Medieval and Baroque city, Vienna played an essential role as a leading European music centre, from the great age of Viennese Classicism through the early part of the 20th century. The historic centre of Vienna is rich in architecture, including Baroque castles and gardens, as well as the late-19th-century Ringstrasse from which grand buildings, monuments and parks can be viewed.

Some of the interesting cultural sights in Vienna include Vienna’s most important Gothic landmark: Stephansdom (St. Stephen’s Cathedral); Hofburg, the royal Habsburg residence and the Kunsthistorisches Museum – a palace housing vast collections of fine art which the Habsburgs had acquired throughout the centuries.

On October 3, 2015 a single ticket grants holders access to the exhibitions and collections on show at around 100 Viennese museums, galleries and cultural institutions between 6pm and 1am during the Long Night of Museums. The event also features discussions with artists, readings and live music. The Long Night ticket also acts as a free pass for the special shuttle bus and the Viennese public transportation network.

Vienna cake shop
Image: Cafe Central, Wien, by Ungry Young Man. CC-BY-2.0 via Flickr.

The Annual Meeting itself promises to be a must-attend event for all international lawyers, with the chance to join over 6,000 lawyers in sessions ranging from climate change justice to human trafficking, as well as to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, signed in England in 1215.

Some of the other key things to look out for at the annual meeting are:

Tuesday 6 October 1315 – 1415 – A conversation with… José María Aznar
José María Aznar served as a Member of Parliament for Madrid, firstly as the Leader of the Opposition then becoming President of the Government of Spain in 1996, following the electoral victory of the Partido Popular. With the party’s subsequent electoral victory in the year 2000, this time with an absolute majority, he led the country again for a new term. His time as President of the Government of Spain lasted until the elections of 2004, when he voluntarily chose not to run for office again.

Wednesday 7 October Afternoon – IBA football match
One of Europe’s most famous footballing teams is the aptly styled ‘Rapid Wien’, founded in 1898 as Erster Wiener Arbeiter-Fußball-Club (First Viennese Workers’ Football Club). Although many of the regular players may no longer be as ‘rapid’ as they were in their twenties, once again the IBA Annual Conference will provide an opportunity for delegates to parade their footballing skills.

Thursday 8 October 2030 – Late Law Rocks!
Vienna Law Rocks! is a series of live ‘battle of the bands’ style rock concerts in which law professionals battle it out on stage for charity at legendary music venues around the world. Law Rocks! Started in London five years ago, with the first IBA edition taking place at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston in 2013. The net proceeds of the event will go to the IBA’s Human Rights Institute and local charity so, if you want to battle it out on stage, or simply enjoy a night of great music for a good cause, you can do.

Here are a few tips on what to expect when you get to Vienna:

  • The weather in Vienna in October will be cool. Expect temperatures to reach between 15-16 degrees Celsius.
  • The conference venue is the Austria Center Vienna, which is just 7 minutes from the city centre and a few minutes’ walk from the Danube and the Donaupark.
  • Finding your way around: You can find details of the layout of the Austria Center Vienna on their website.

If you have any free time during the week, why not drop by the OUP booth (22-23) and pick up a sample journal copy or take in a free demonstration of one of our online services including Oxford Legal Research Library: International Commercial Arbitration and International Commercial Law. We will have a full library of books to purchase and our friendly staff will be on hand to help with advice and to take your order including the new edition of Redfern and Hunter. If you’re lucky you may also bump into your favourite legal author! We will also have the opportunity for you to take part in our prize draw for a chance to win a collection of six OUP law books. This includes selected titles such as Point Made: How to Write Like the Nation’s Top Advocates by Ross Guberman, International Capital Markets by Cally Jordan, and Ethics in International Arbitration by Catherine Rogers.

To follow the latest updates about the IBA Conference as it happens, follow us @OUPCommLaw, @OUPIntLaw, @blackstonescrim and via the hashtag #IBAvienna. See you in Vienna!

Featured image credit: Karlskirche, Vienna, by John Mernard. CC-BY-SA-2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

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