Andrew Mackenzie, Chief Executive of the Scottish Arbitration Centre, has been appointed Co-Vice Chair for the International Bar Association Access to Justice and Legal Aid Committee.
The International Bar Association (IBA), established in 1947, is the world’s leading organisation of international legal practitioners, bar associations and law societies. The IBA influences the development of international law reform and shapes the future of the legal profession throughout the world. The Association has a membership of 80,000 individual lawyers and more than 190 bar associations and law societies. These figures represent over 160 countries spanning all continents. The IBA has considerable experience in providing assistance to the global legal community.
The IBA Access to Justice and Legal Aid Committee gathers information from around the world on the barriers to access to justice in each jurisdiction and ways in which these barriers are overcome. The committee serves as a central coordinating point within the IBA, where all matters relating to access to justice and legal aid (given the fact that, this is a topic that overlaps with diverse other Committees of the Association) will be handled. The other Officers of the Committee are Lucy Scott-Moncrieff (Co-Chair), England; Mark Woods (Co-Chair), Australia; Heike Lörcher (Co-Vice Chair), Belgium; and James Robottom (Website and Communications Officer), England.
Mr Mackenzie is a solicitor on secondment from the Scottish Government Justice Directorate at the Scottish Arbitration Centre and is also Secretary General of the International Centre of Energy Arbitration. He said:
“I am delighted to have been selected by the IBA as Co-Vice Chair for the Access to Justice and Legal Aid Committee. One of the great strengths of the IBA is its global reach, which is key to the committee’s objective of sharing and spreading good practice on access to justice around the world. The differing approaches to seeking access to justice provide a valuable source of ideas and information for jurisdictions struggling to maintain or improve access to justice.
I have been involved in the committee for almost two years now. We have been involved in some important research work, alongside the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law, publishing reports on Legal Aid in Criminal Cases and Redress for Victims of Violence and Barriers to Access to Justice. The most recent research project looked at Children and Access to Justice, with the report launched at IBA Washington DC last year. It featured an analysis of the systemic barriers and solutions within the operation of criminal, civil and administrative justice systems. After England, Scotland had the highest response rate for this survey, indicating that Scotland is keen to continue contributing to this research and to have its input heard on the international stage. I am particularly delighted that Scotland featured so prominently in the report, highlighting Scotland’s place as a key legal jurisdiction on the international stage, and hope this will continue in our future surveys.
On behalf of the committee, I have also been engaged with the IBA Presidential Task Force on Climate Change Justice, which means working directly with colleagues on the IBA Arbitration Committee on the dispute resolution aspects of the project. In recent years there has been a growing number of international environment and climate change actions brought against states and private companies, so this is a developing area, which I recently discussed in an article in the November issue of The Resolver.
Future plans include working more closely with the committee’s subcommittee, the Poverty and Social Development sub-committee, as well as pursuing another survey on Access to Justice and Disability, focusing on mental and physical disability. The committee is also seeking to produce a report on the economic case for legal aid and produce guidelines on the principles and practice that should underpin an effective legal aid system.”
Congratulating Andrew on the appointment, Brandon Malone, Chairman of the Board of the Centre, said:
“This appointment demonstrates Andrew’s hard work on the committee to date and ensures that Scotland continues to have a voice on this committee, and is able to feedback to those here on access to justice and other initiatives elsewhere in the world. It is also an opportunity to showcase Scotland as an ideal place for resolving disputes by having a Scots lawyer involved at the heart of an international legal body. This will increase exposure for arbitration in Scotland and ties in with our previous input into various access to justice projects in Scotland, and Andrew will now have the opportunity to expand on that work in international projects.”
Lorna Jack, chief executive of the Law Society of Scotland, said:
“I congratulate Andrew on his appointment. It is great to see a Scottish solicitor being chosen to help lead the International Bar Association’s work on access to justice. With his experience from both inside and outside government, Andrew has brought great knowledge and policy expertise to the committee over the last two years. I know he will make an even greater contribution as Vice-Chair.
“Like many legal jurisdictions around the world, Scotland has a proud history of maintaining access to justice and ensuring people can receive quality legal advice, whatever their position or financial background. With challenges here in Scotland in terms of the public money available for legal aid and with new technology transforming the delivery of legal services, this is an important time to learn and share knowledge with other legal jurisdictions around the world.”
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