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Lawyers have opportunity to shape global regulations: Abhishek Manu Singhvi

IANS | March 27, 2024 12:29 PM

NEW DELHI: Member of Parliament and senior Supreme Court advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi has said the building of a nation is fundamentally dependent on the foundation of good governance that is controlled by the rule of law.

In his inaugural address at the G20 Conclave on 'Role of Lawyers and the Legal Profession in the Economic Development of G20 countries', Abhsihek Manu Singhvi, who was the Guest of Honour, said, "Initiatives like G20 are based on certain essential creeds. These include clear collective action, universal outlook, global citizenry, transnational cooperation, synergy and collaboration ultimately all encompassed in that beautiful phrase Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam."

"There is an opportunity, especially for young lawyers, to actually participate and to actively shape global regulations by engaging with policymakers, industrial leaders and civil society, " he said.

He said, "The legal community has been at the forefront of the Indian national movement, India's independence movement. We all know the legal connection from Mahatma Gandhi to Ambedkar to Nehru, Sardar Patel and others. What is less known is the contribution of legally trained persons in the G20 countries as well from Lincoln to Mandela!

"The contributions of these persons extended far beyond the courtroom. They shaped their respective nations for future generations and it is no exaggeration to say that legal profession is at the heart of industrialization and of economic growth.

"But all of them involve the principle of rule of law to see that contracts are enforced, to see that a level playing field exists for everyone, to see that disputes are either minimised or managed well, and that people and businesses are correctly advised about navigating these legal intricacies and jurisdictions."

Dr Singhvi also warned that with globalisation, there were many new challenges too.

"The flipside is that crime and criminals do not respect either sovereignty or borders. Take cybercrime or cyberterrorism, for example. No one G20 country can deal with it alone. Lawyers must be at the forefront of designing the remediation and the preventive mechanisms. Collaboration, cooperation and coordination will be needed, even within the more limited confines of G20, because none of this can be handled by any entity alone.

"Young lawyers must do work in areas of harmonisation of new regulations and this applies not only to artificial intelligence, but to related subjects like data privacy, data security, mitigating bias in artificial intelligence systems. G20 lawyers here also should equip themselves to act as neutral third parties facilitate efficient regulations, and most importantly, create a paradigm or a mechanism for resolving conflicts.

In his welcome address, Dr. C. Raj Kumar, Founding Vice Chancellor, O.P. Jindal Global University & Dean, Jindal Global Law School said, "The theme of the conclave is the role of lawyers and the legal profession in the economic development of G20 countries. The question of the role of lawyers, the legal profession, is one of the less studied aspects in the larger context of G20 and the economic development of G20 countries.

Prof David Wilkins believed in the vision of India, as well as its own unique positioning in the world. His research work focused on India which led to an extraordinary book the on Indian legal profession was published by Cambridge University Press. This conclave was his brainchild which has been organised in less than a month and we are honoured that Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi, a distinguished lawyer, a public intellectual, a senior advocate, the Supreme Court of India, a distinguished member of parliament is giving the inaugural address."

Introducing the Theme of the Conclave Prof. David B. Wilkins Lester Kissel Professor of Law & Vice Dean, Harvard Law School, "The events of the last few years are really a symptom of even bigger changes that have transformed our world. First and foremost, the globalisation of the economy and the increasing movement of global activity from the global north and west to the south and east, and including our friends in China and India, and also the complexity of that interaction that's also led to a kind of explosion, law regulation and risk that all organisations face.

"Since the COVID crisis new laws and programmes, redesigned institutions and online courts, stimulus measures, contact tracing, reform of traditional corporate policies challenged by the pandemic around employment, online work supply chains, data privacy and security, corporate governance itself and that we have to not just think about shareholders, but balance the interests of shareholders with other stakeholders is an important development. These new laws are challenging traditional ideas and what it means to be a lawyer and what lawyers should be doing."

The Special Address was given by the American Bar Association (ABA) India Committee Chair Pratibha Jain and also the ABA India Committee Head of Strategy and Group General Counsel, Everston, "Investment firms are at the core of economic growth of any country other than capital markets. The alternative investment industry has been pivotal to the economic growth of G20 countries.

"Contribution of alternative investment such as private equity, hedge funds, real estate funds is critical for growth of start-ups and provision of innovation capital in these countries. For any firm to operate or to set up new businesses in a new jurisdiction, they have to navigate not only the local laws but the cross-border laws and the laws of the country from where they're investing from.

"A well-functioning legal system attracts investments and contributes to long economic, long term economic growth. A strong legal profession is integral to creating an innovative economy, policy, advocacy and legislative reform."

Dr. Mohan Kumar Dean and Director, Jindal Global Centre for G20 Studies gave his reflections and said, "Never ignore geopolitics! There is a discordance between those who are committed to international law and those who want to actually build a rules-based international order.

"G20 has always talked about the liability of legal persons for corruption, and they want to introduce high principles in this regard. Brazil has taken it upon itself to come up with G20 high level principles for legal persons and their responsibility against corruption."

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