7th Madrid Meeting completed

The 7th edition of the “Madrid Meetings” was held on 23–25 April 2015. The event included a discussion of cooperation between the Warsaw Bar Association and the Department for Promotion of Trade and Investment at the Polish Embassy in Madrid in the area of promotion and information about the legal services offered by members of the Warsaw Bar Association.

Information about the Warsaw Bar Association published at the website of the Polish Embassy in Madrid is available here .

The Madrid Bar Association—Ilustre Colegio de Abogados de Madrid—established the “Madrid Meetings” as a forum for bar leaders from all over the world to meet. This year the Warsaw Bar Association was represented by attorney at law Radosław Radosławski, a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee. It is a forum for exchange of views and for discussion of topics of global importance for the legal profession.

This year the organizers presented four main themes:
• Cybercrime and cybersecurity
• Challenges presented by new forms for practice of legal professions
• Alternative dispute resolution methods
• The business community and human rights.

These themes were covered in panel discussions, with many panellists from Latin America. There was also a strong contingent of lawyers from the Maghreb and sub-Saharan Africa. European countries were represented by members of bars from cities such as Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Paris, and Warsaw (Radosław Radosławski from the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Warsaw Bar Association).

The first panel, on cybercrime, was of great relevance in the context of the change in criminal procedure in Poland authorizing attorneys at law to appear as defence counsel in criminal cases. The panel discussed cybercrime from the point of view of IT, law and sociology. The involvement of Spanish police and prosecutors contributed greatly to the debate. They discussed for example the problem of ignoring minor offences causing minimal harm, resulting in premature dismissal, often skipping even the most basic procedures. Victims face similar problems in Poland. Commissioner Silvia Barrera explained that there is a nationwide database in Spain where all cybercrimes are entered, even those that cause a relatively small material loss. This system is designed to detect potentially large organized criminal groups using the same modus operandi, causing losses that may be small in each case but are conducted on a broad scale. The key conclusion from this portion of the event was to stress the need for close cooperation among law enforcement authorities from different countries.

In the ADR panel, a concept for broad application of mediation in criminal cases was presented by Óscar Cruz Barney, former dean of the Colegio de Abogados de México. Work on the relevant legal act is underway in Mexico, with the goal of introducing extensive opportunities for mediation between the perpetrator and the injured party. Lawyers and politicians realize the potential dangers of linking the imposition of punishment to the results of mediation (“buying justice”). Therefore the proposals are focused on common offences involving relatively little social harm, but not covering the most serious crimes or narcotics offences. Nonetheless, an advantage of this approach is that the victim obtains some recompense from the perpetrator, which in theory should serve a penal function and also improve the efficiency of the law enforcement process.

For three years Spain has noted a negative balance of migration, as immigrants faced by double-digit unemployment return to their country of origin, including Poland. Those who decide to remain must struggle with problems connected with maintaining themselves and their families there, but also with legal issues arising from often neglected matters pending at home.

The 7th Madrid Meeting was also an opportunity to strengthen the cooperation with the Madrid bar. The Foreign Affairs Committee of the Warsaw Bar Association has taken steps to formalize this cooperation via a cooperation agreement. In Spain, such an agreement would supplement the agreement reached in February of this year with the Barcelona bar. An important point to be worked out in the agreement is an exchange and internship program for trainees from both bar associations.

Issues connected with organizing legal assistance and providing information on the possibilities for appointing an attorney in Poland were the subject of a meeting between the Warsaw delegate to Madrid and Polish Consul Krzysztof Czaplicki. The possibility of cooperation with the Warsaw bar in promotion and information about the legal services offered by members of our bar association was discussed in turn with Mirosław Węglarczyk, head of the Department for Promotion of Trade and Investment (WPHI) at the Polish Embassy. WPHI undertakes initiatives to encourage Spanish firms to invest in Poland, promotes Poland economically, and organizes thematic conferences, seminars and workshops for the Spanish business community. These contacts will help promote the profession of attorneys at law and also enable exchange and forwarding of information between the Warsaw bar and the Polish Embassy within the areas covered by WPHI.

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