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April 2019

Caribbean Workshop on International Law

Caribbean Workshop on International Law

The first OAS Workshop on International Law organized for the Caribbean was held on March 29-30th at the Faculty of Law, University of the West Indies (UWI) Cave Hill Campus in Barbados in partnership with the Faculty of Law, Queen’s University of Kingston, Canada, and the Department of International Law, Secretariat for Legal Affairs. The theme of the workshop was “International Business Law and Inclusive Economic Development: Law as an Engine for Development.” Permanent Missions of Caribbean OAS Member States had been consulted early in the process and had been invited to suggest panelists and participants who could benefit from the experience and contribute towards the development of international law in the Caribbean in the years ahead.

Opening remarks were made by Her Excellency Marie Legault, High Commissioner of Canada in Barbados, who spoke about Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy and its relevance to inclusive economic development. Welcoming remarks were also offered by representatives of the three co-partners: Jean Michel Arrighi, OAS Secretary for Legal Affairs; Clive Landis, UWI-Cave Hill Deputy Principal; and Arthur Cockfield, Professor of Law, Queen’s University.

The first panel considered various international business instruments for inclusive growth, including the OAS Model Laws on secured transactions and simplified incorporation, innovative legal vehicles to encourage “impact investing”, effects of constraints on foreign direct investment and changing roles of development banks. The second panel explored development of legal instruments to bridge different legal traditions, whether originating from civil or common law, and to include indigenous peoples and other marginalized groups. The third panel examined international tax law and challenges that result from its being rooted to an outmoded system based on classification and misperceptions in the current narrative over “tax havens.” The fourth panel considered legal instruments to promote regional integration, with illustrative examples, while the final panel discussed trade agreements and bilateral investment treaties and their impacts in the context of sustainable development goals.

Workshop participants also enjoyed a luncheon address given by the Honorable Mr. Justice Sir Martson Gibson, Chief Justice of Barbados and distinguished speakers included Honourable Mr. Justice Jacob de Wit, Judge of the Caribbean Court of Justice, and Sir Trevor Carmichael, among others. The event took place thanks to administrative and technical support from UWI and financial support from Queen’s University, which also made it possible for several UWI law students to participate. The agenda and speaker bios are available here. Plans are to include papers by the speakers in a special edition of the Caribbean Law Review.

These workshops are organized in furtherance of the OAS Inter-American Program for the Development of International Law (AG/RES. 1471 (XXVII-O/97)) which requires periodic workshops and “meetings of professors of public and private international law from the member states to share ideas and proposals for action… and [to develop] future links with appropriate academic institutions with a view to achieving the systematic incorporation of inter-American law into the curricula of the various faculties of law.” Since 1999, there have been eleven workshops; this was the first to be held in the Caribbean.

For further information on this matter, please contact the Department of International Law of the Secretariat for Legal Affairs of the OAS +1 202 370 0743.

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