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The One With The ICFLP

The inaugural Taylor’s Law School International Conference on the ‘Future of Law and Legal Practice’ was held on the 15th and 16th of October 2019 at the Dorsett Grand Subang. With the theme being “Law in the Midst of Change”, the conference was aimed towards exploring the future development of the law in Malaysia, regionally and internationally. The two-day event saw a mirage of legal luminaries, practitioners, academics and students coming together to share and learn about the direction in which the legal profession is progressing towards in order to properly equip oneself with the necessary skills. Senior students from Taylor’s Law School served as volunteers during the event.

The conference started on a high note, with welcome and opening addresses being presented by Mr Harmahinder Singh, Head of Taylor’s Law School and Professor Michael Driscoll, the Vice-Chancellor of Taylor’s University respectively. The highly anticipated keynote address was presented by YAA Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Panglima Richard Malanjum, the Immediate Past Chief Justice of Malaysia. YAA talked about the modernization of the judiciary during his tenure through the introduction of e-filing which made the court system more efficient. He got the crowd bursting into laughter through various quips about “dinosaurs” that were unable to keep up with the times and encouraged all the participants to use technology to their advantage. He also encouraged universities to structure programs that allow students to specialize in a specific area of the law while doing their degree. He envisioned a future where bundles of documents would no longer be necessary, and lawyers could just walk into courtrooms with an electronic device and submit their case.

With the banging of the gavel, YAA Tan Sri called the conference to session. After some light refreshments and mingling, the first plenary session began. This session was titled “Educating the Lawyer” and featured Mr Philip Koh as the moderator, with Dato Mahadev Shankar, Mr Steven Thiru, Mr G.K. Ganesan and Ms Shanti Latha serving as panelists. Adaptability, perseverance and integrity were the themes of the session, with Ms Shanti Latha stating that “if you are to succeed in any profession, you will need to learn to adapt”. Each panelist shared their experiences as practitioners and as individuals training budding lawyers, emphasizing the need for integrity in the legal profession.

The next plenary session featured Ms Firdaus Husni, Dato’ Haji Sulaiman Abdullah, Dato Gurdial Singh Nijar, Emeritus Professor Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi and Professor Dato’ Dr. Aishah Hj Bidin. This session was titled, “The Significance of Malaysia’s Commitment to International Human Rights Conventions” and emphasized upon the various treaties that Malaysia is a signatory to. The panelists talked about the impact and implementation of such treaties, or the lack thereof, on the local sphere, and harped on the importance of international treaties in preserving and promoting human rights.

After the plenary sessions, all participants proceeded to the adjoining ballroom for lunch and this was followed by the parallel sessions. The structure of the parallel session provided participants with the opportunity to choose between academic and practitioner sessions, all focused around the area of corporate law, healthcare and medical law, human rights and liberties as well as legal education and training. Discussions at the sessions focused on the development of these areas of law to suit the pace of technology, such as personal data protection, fintech, liabilities of artificial intelligence and the ethical side of it all. The practitioners involved in the parallel sessions were from law firms such as Messrs Shook Lin & Bok, Messrs Sivananthan Advocates & Solicitors, Messrs Raja, Darryl & Loh, Messrs Christopher & Lee Ong, Messrs Lee Hishammuddin Allen & Gledhill, SUARAM and Messrs SKRINE.

Participants were also treated to a conference dinner at the venue, with performances by the Jari Temari Dance Group from SK Taman Megah. The dinner also served as a platform for the launch of Dato’ Mahadev Shankar’s new book, titled “Legal Anecdotes”. The launch was officiated by YAA Tan Sri Datuk Seri Panglima Richard Malanjum. The book was dubbed a “labour of love” as it was produced with the support of students from the Taylor’s Law School Masters Program.

The second day of the ICFLP consisted of two rounds of parallel sessions and the closing ceremony. Mr Harmahinder once again took to the podium to thank everyone for their presence and contribution towards the success of the ICFLP. Special mention was given to the organizing committee and student volunteers, as well as the speakers for sharing their knowledge and experience. An upcoming event, LawTech Malaysia was also introduced by the emcees, Beverley Ramona Tan and Amitaesh Theva. All attendees then proceeded to the ballroom for lunch and it is the hope of the organizers that all the participants had a fruitful experience.

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