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Law, Justice and Development Week 2020 - Legal Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic

November 16-19, 2020

Virtual

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    8:00 - 9:00 AM ET

    Justice Accelerators Programme: Youth, Social Entrepreneurship and Digital Innovation to Promote the Rule of Law | WATCH THE REPLAY

    Speakers

    • Gilberto Duarte, Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Officer, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
    • Yane Frenski, Consultant, Education for Justice (E4J) Initiative, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
    • Dagen Valentine, American Councils Representative
    • Diana Mkrtchyan, Trainer/Mentor of Teams in Armenia
    • Kyzzhibek Batyrkanova, Trainer/Mentor of Teams in Kyrgyzstan

    Moderator

    • Eileen Brewer, Director, Takween Accelerator, Iraq

    Summary

    This past year marked the pilot of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s (UNODC’s) Justice Accelerators Program in Armenia and Kyrgyzstan. Following the adoption of the Doha Declaration, UNODC has aimed to implement a program which adequately involves the youth in promotion of the rule of law. The pilot, aimed at students between 16-18, took on the task of giving the youth the opportunity to tackle issues, such as cybercrime and gender-based violence, which readily affect them, through sustainable entrepreneurship. The program provided participants with intensive skills training, access to mentors and prepares them for a go-to-market strategy over a 3.5-month period. The program is set to expand both within the two countries and beyond in the years to come.

    Key takeaways

    • UNODC organized the pilots of their Justice Accelerators Program in Armenia and Kyrgyzstan, where participants between 16-18 came together to promote the rule of law.
    • The program embodies the goals of the Doha Declaration and the UNSDGs and aims to tackle rule of law issues through youth-led sustainable entrepreneurship.
    • The program, organized alongside American Council, provides students with a week of intensive skills training and mentoring over a 3.5-month period.

    10:00  - 11:30 AM ET | By Invitation Only

    Shaken and Stirred: Blended Finance in the Wake of COVID-19

    Speakers

    • Flavia Rosembuj, Global Lead for Blended Finance, Climate Business and Trust Funds, International Finance Corporation
    • Duncan Kiara, Chief Counsel, Development Finance, World Bank 
    • Kate Harrington, Chief Counsel, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

    12:00 - 1:00 PM ET

    Remembering Ruth Bader Ginsburg | WATCH THE REPLAY

    Opening Remarks

    • Sandie Okoro, Senior Vice President and Group General Counsel, and Vice President of Compliance, World Bank

    Speakers

    • The Honorable Lady Justice Martha Koome, Court of Appeal of Kenya
    • Judith Resnik, Arthur Liman Professor of Law, Yale Law School
    • Katherine Meighan, General Counsel, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
    • Anne Goldstein, Director of Training and Curriculum Development, International Association of Women Judges

    Moderator

    • Daniela Kraiem, Director, Women and the Law Program, American University College of Law

    Summary

    The late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, (RBG) was a feminist pioneer, progressive icon, and a champion of civil and human rights. She was the second woman to serve on the United States supreme court, the first being Sandra Day O’Connor. During her career as an attorney, RBG was a fierce advocate for civil rights, arguing that discrimination on the basis of sex is not an abstract ideal of equality, and gender-based discrimination wreaks havoc on society as a whole. RBG was crowned “The Notorious R.B.G.”, which was based on the play of words from the rapper Biggie Smalls who was nicknamed notorious BIG. This is homage to her pioneering spirit as a woman and the long-lasting transformation resulting from her work. The life and career of late RBG inspired many women both personally and professionally. As a mother, she motivated women across the world to believe that they can succeed both at home and in their careers. She got married to Martin Ginsburg, raised their baby, and also cared for Marty, who was diagnosed with cancer while finishing her law degree at Columbia. She helped to constitutionalize the most hard-fought and least-appreciated revolution in modern American history: the emancipation of women. According to her ‘women belong in every place where decisions are made’. She was a great woman who consistently promoted the rights of women throughout her career.

    Key takeaways

    • RBG was a trailblazer who spent much of her legal career as an advocate for gender equality, winning many arguments before the Supreme Court. For example, Reed v. Reed, in 1971, involved an Idaho statute that gave preference to men— “males must be preferred to females”—in executing estates.
    • RBG received attention in American popular culture for her passionate dissents in several cases, widely seen as reflecting paradigmatically liberal views of the law.
    • RBG work on empowering poorer litigants fits in with broader World Bank work. Her legacy has also impacted the work of the World Bank and other international finance institutions as the Bank mainstreams gender in its projects.

    2:00 - 3:00 PM ET

    Exposure Notification Systems: A Privacy Smart Response to COVID-19 | WATCH THE REPLAY

    Opening Remarks

    • Sandie Okoro, Senior Vice President and Group General Counsel, and Vice President of Compliance, World Bank

    Speakers

    • Keith Enright, Chief Privacy Officer, Google
    • Kalinda Raina, Vice President, Chief Privacy Officer, LinkedIn
    • Todd Mckinnon, CEO, Co-Founder, Okta
    • Gina L. Paik, Director of Global Privacy, Apple
    • Anna Bjerde, Vice President, Europe and Central Asia Region, World Bank

    Moderator

    • Tami Dokken, Chief Data Privacy Officer, World Bank

    Summary

    The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the need for using personal data as well as brought forward key issues in the area of privacy policy. During this challenging period, private companies (e.g. Google, Apple, LinkedIn and Okta) have helped health authorities to combat COVID and provided support to the society in many ways. For example, Google and Apple jointly created the Exposure Notifications System which protects individual privacy and optimizes public health outcomes. This Apple/Google protocol brings the benefits of speed and scale by utilizing Bluetooth technology in order to enhance digital contact tracing. In doing so, these companies have preserved privacy and security of individuals in order to maintain their trust. This privacy and security policy is pursued despite the fact that there is no legislation mandating those companies to do so. According to Kalinda Raina, the Chief Privacy Officer of LinkedIn, if a data protection legislation is to be enacted, there are three main issues to be taken into account: flexibility, design, and control. With regards to flexibility, the law should be sufficiently flexible; it should not create a barrier to innovation. Concerning the issue of design, a company should be socially responsible by designing a technology which protects data. As for control, a firm should create a tool which enables consumers to have a meaningful control of their fundamental information.

    Key takeaways

    • A survey conducted by Okta finds that respondents underestimate the extent to which their data is being tracked. However, they value their privacy most. Similarly, a World Bank study finds that even individuals with low-income levels would spend considerable amount of time and money to preserve their privacy.
    • The Exposure Notifications System is different from contact-tracing technology. The former does not obtain personally identifiable information. For instance, it does not specify where a user has been. Instead, the system lets a user know that he or she may have been in proximity to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or shown symptoms of the virus.
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    8:00 - 9:00 AM ET | By Invitation Only

    Sovereign Debt and COVID-19

    Introduction

    • Wolfgang Bergthaler, Senior Counsel, Legal Department, International Monetary Fund

    Speakers

    • Deborah Zandstra, Partner, Clifford Chance
    • Oumar Dissou, Debt Management Resident Advisor, International Monetary Fund, Gabon
    • Stella Rusine Nteziryayo, Director Debt Management, Ministry of Finance, Rwanda

    Moderators

    • Yan Liu, Deputy General Counsel, Legal Department, International Monetary Fund
    • J. Clifford Frazier, Deputy General Counsel, Legal Vice Presidency, World Bank

    9:00 - 10:00 AM ET

    Opportunities for the Energy Transition and for the Fight Against Energy Poverty after COVID-19 | WATCH THE REPLAY

    Speakers

    • Leonardo Sempertegui, General Legal Counsel, Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries
    • Hafida Lahiouel, Director of Legal Affairs, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
    • Helene Bertaud, Lead Counsel, Operations for Infrastructure, Urban Development and PPP Operations, World Bank Group Singapore Hub

    Moderator

    • Markus Pohlmann, Senior Counsel, Environmental and International Law, World Bank

    Summary

    The COVID-19 pandemic inadvertently helped the world to meet its emissions targets but there is risk of a rebound. It is therefore important to sustain the progress made even after the pandemic. There is an opportunity to use lessons-learned from the COVID-19 experience going forward for transformational change and to achieve the Paris Agreement commitments.

    Energy transition is on its way. Many countries have made net zero commitments. Further, spurred by science and public demand for accountability, big emitters, including both signatories and non-signatories to the Paris Agreement, have formally committed to emission reductions through policy and legislation. However, for these formal commitments to be effective, they must be of the right quality.

    Further, to accelerate the energy transition, a commonsense approach is required. Short-term concerns including jobs should be balanced against long-term considerations such as transformation. Fossil fuels will be required for decades to come and abandoning them may create undesirable volatilities like job losses. Therefore, a range of coherent economic incentives should be employed, coupled with a diverse energy mix.

    For the fight against energy poverty, poorer countries with less developed energy systems will require assistance. Therefore, partnerships are important, including partnerships to develop knowledge for demonstration effects, partnerships to finance energy projects, and partnerships to improve efficiencies like private participation and institutional capacity.

    Key takeaways

    • For policy and legislation for the energy transition to be effective, it must be of the right quality.
    • The need for fossil fuels, at least in the short-term, requires inclusive approaches to energy transition.
    • Partnerships are key to deal with energy poverty.

    11:00 - 12:30 PM ET

    COVID-19 and Human Rights: Impacts and Lessons Learned | WATCH THE REPLAY

    Speakers

    • Tlaleng Mofokeng, UN Special Rapporteur on Right to Health
    • Philippe Lacoste, Director, Sustainable Development, French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs
    • Jan Wouters, Professor of International Law and International Organizations, University of Leuven, Co-Chair of the GFLJD Working Group on Human Rights and Sustainable Development
    • Joelle Grogan, Senior Lecturer in Law, Middlesex University
    • Paul-Joël Kamtchang, Executive Secretary, Adisi-Cameroun
    • Vanessa Murphy, Legal Adviser, International Committee of the Red Cross

    Moderator

    • Siobhan McInerney-Lankford, Senior Counsel, World Bank, Co-chair of the GFLJD Working Group on Human Rights and Sustainable Development

    Summary

    The COVID-19 pandemic has severely affected different human rights, such as the right to life, right to work, right to education, right to information, right to freedom of movement, etc. This exacerbated other problems such as poverty, corruption, imbalance on access to health care and social security, increase of domestic and gender-based violence cases.

    Nonetheless, the pandemic highlighted the importance of prioritizing health care, education and the right to information of people. This challenging time also stresses universality and interdependence of human rights in a more meaningful way and the importance of states’ obligations and cooperation. States should learn lessons from this unprecedented global crisis moving forward. It is recommended that states should ensure legal certainty and clarity in public communication. This mitigates fake news and unreliable information or opinion. Rules should be certain, consistent, and prospective in their application. States should ensure transparency in decision-making processes and that scientific decisions must be accessible. States must comply with international law and human rights standards. States must aim to deliver rapid, coordinated, and collective actions. States should protect oversight mechanisms to ensure quality and effectivity of legislative measures and ensure checks and balances. States should engage with experts and stakeholders and learn from international experience (i.e. follow guidance from multilateral and international institutions). Moreover, states should reform laws following identification and analysis of best practices both on the domestic and international level.

    Key takeaways

    • Uncertainty does not suspend human rights and we do not have to trade off rights during this pandemic.
    • International cooperation and coordination are very important during this unprecedented challenging time.
    • Responses to this global health emergency should be guided by the principles of rule of law, human rights, and good governance.
    • Restrictions curbing the virus should be guided by the principles of legality, necessity, proportionality, temporariness, effective oversight, and prospectivity.

    1:00 - 2:00 PM ET

    Legal, Policy, and Institutional Solutions for Food and Human Insecurity: Female-Owned SMEs, Fragile Regions, and COVID-19 | WATCH THE REPLAY

    Speakers

    • Esther Dassanou, Head, Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa Programme, African Development Bank
    • Dorte Verner, Lead Agriculture Economist, Agriculture and Food Global Practice, World Bank
    • Frank Samolis, Partner and Co-Chair, International Trade Group, Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP

    Moderator

    • Valentina Okaru-Bisant, CEO, Founder, and General Counsel, Afrocosmo Development Impact, LLC, and Adjunct Professor, The Catholic University of America

    Summary

    Food security is a fundamental element of poverty reduction. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected freedom of movement and undermined food production in conflict and non-conflict areas. Closure of businesses, staff reduction, and lack of mobility further exacerbated food insecurity and worsened poverty. The pandemic also heightened challenges of IDPs in Chad and female-owned SMEs that constitute the backbone of African economies.

    With this, renewed urgency for solutions that are economically viable and sustainable are called for. States have the critical obligation to come up with solutions. Suggested solutions include multilateralism and incorporation of SMEs and women in treaties and international agreements. States should promote the inclusion and opportunities for women and refugees. It is also recommended that financial systems and regulations should be more inclusive for women and SMEs to increase productivity. Digital and technological solutions for women to sell their products should also be prioritized. Moreover, to further solve food insecurity, we have to get data and analytics right and promote multilateral engagement. Adaptation of implementation arrangement for multisectoral participation—coordination between states, multilateral institutions, NGOs, and other global actors are important solutions. Provision of funds in a faster way is also encouraged to help fragile regions.

    Key takeaways

    • Food is a problem but also a solution and COVID-19 should be an opportunity instead of a challenge.
    • Refugees play an important role in food security because of their agricultural background.
    • Women and refugees should be part of the system and global actors should design a program for their inclusion to increase productivity.
    • It is recommended that financing mechanisms should be more innovative and lessen risks in favour of SMEs, especially in fragile regions.
    • It is important for states and global actors to coordinate in solving food insecurity.

    3:00 - 4:00 PM ET

    Women's Economic Empowerment and the Impact of COVID-19 - The IMF's Role and Legal Developments | WATCH THE REPLAY

    Speakers

    • Audrey Yiadom, Counsel, International Monetary Fund
    • Alessandro Gullo, Assistant General Counsel, International Monetary Fund
    • Karla Vasquez, Senior Counsel, International Monetary Fund
    • Lisa Kolovich, Economist, International Monetary Fund

    Moderator

    • Katharine Christopherson, Assistant General Counsel, International Monetary Fund

    Summary

    The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected women and girls in many ways (e.g. reducing access to healthcare services, increasing childcare needs, and raising gender-based violence). This is especially the case in sub-Saharan Africa where COVID-19 affects women more than men. The IMF has created measures in order to alleviate these problems because gender-based issues have an impact on economic growth and stability (10 percent of GDP in advanced economies and 30 percent of GDP in less developed countries). As gender is critical for Fund-supported programs, the IMF will address this issue through conditionality. In addition, the IMF helps support the informal sector where women are over-represented. There are two main sources of funding that can be utilized to reduce the gender inequality gap: 1) the General Resources Account available for all IMF members; and 2) the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust available for low-income countries. Moreover, there are gender-responsive measures (e.g. gender budgeting) which contribute to sustain finance overtime.

    Key takeaways

    • A good practice in a legal reform is to give a constitutional underpinning of gender equality in the design of policy measures.
    • In order to enhance transparency, the law should be explicit about an obligation of the government in making data regarding gender-sensitive responses available.
    • The law could increase political accountability of the government by providing a systematic framework which requires the government to share information regarding gender-sensitive responses.
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    8:00 - 9:30 AM ET

    Urgency of Online Courts for Commercial Disputes | WATCH THE REPLAY

    Opening Remarks

    • Sandie Okoro, Senior Vice President and Group General Counsel, and Vice President of Compliance, World Bank

    Speakers

    • Richard Susskind, President, Society of Computers and Law, United Kingdom
    • Olena Kibenko, Judge of the Grand Chamber of the Supreme Court, Ukraine 
    • Klaus Decker, Chair Justice and Development Community of Practice, World Bank

    Moderators

    • Michael Strauss, General Counsel, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
    • Veronica Bradautanu, Principal Counsel, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

    Summary

    Although online courts have been in existence in some jurisdictions for more than a decade, COVID-19 has pushed this idea into mainstream thinking. In the digital space, the pandemic has made certain realities possible in days what many have tried to accomplish in years. It has forced courts to quickly adapt to use remote and virtual technology. It has also forced court users to adjust online services as a substitute for their day in court. The ensuing lockdowns has made online courts a critical tool for resolving commercial disputes (particularly amongst small and medium enterprises) which is important especially in the light of an expected surge in commercial cases due to the pandemic. It is vital to ensure that vulnerable people are not left behind and that online courts help close justice gaps. This is especially true for the 1.5 billion individuals who have unresolved justice issues as well as the women who enjoy only three quarters of the legal protection that their male counterparts have. Furthermore, COVID-19 has exposed weaknesses in justice systems while likely inundating courts with new cases. For example, there are steep rises in reported cases of gender-based violence, and also in the severity of gender-based violence which puts women in a very vulnerable position. On the one hand, online courts can be a tool to address these issues. It is cheaper and faster, reduces backlog, and ensures speedy decision-making processes. It also increases access to justice through technology to transform how we work in courts. On the other hand, there are challenges, as litigants lack adequate skills to participate in the process, especially in developing economies where there is an added difficulty of maintaining expensive digital tools. Online litigation procedures also require lawyers to file processes on behalf of clients, increasing the cost of legal action.

    Key takeaways

    • Successful court adaptation should be made permanent and scaled up, not just during the pandemic but in the long term. This may even include the use of AI to determine some cases.
    • It is essential to simplify procedures so that litigants can better institute proceedings themselves online without the need of legal assistance. This may include enhanced usage of written presentations to save time.
    • Judges and lawyers need to be open-minded and flexible to allow online courts to work effectively. Focus should be put on the outcome (access to justice) not the traditional procedures.

    9:00 - 11:00 AM ET

    Closed Session (For IFI General Counsels)

    International Financial Institution General Counsel Roundtable

     

    11:00 - 12:00 PM ET

    Public Healthcare Procurement during the COVID-19 Pandemic: How to Reconcile Urgency with Integrity?  | WATCH THE REPLAY

    Speakers

    • Roberto Chieppa, Secretary General of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Italy
    • Ana Cristina Calderon Ramirez, Sector Specialist, Public Procurement, Inter-American Development Bank
    • Vinay Sharma, Global Director, Procurement, World Bank
    • Paulo Magina, Head, Public Procurement, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development
    • Sean Darby, Senior Project Officer, Transparency International’s Health Initiative

    Moderator

    • Enrico Canzio, Chief Counsel and Member of the Procurement Complaints Committee, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

    Summary

    The COVID-19 pandemic has generated a worldwide emergency in public health procurement, which created a simultaneous competition between buyers. This situation has increased prices and disrupted supply chains with significant integrity concerns. In response to this uncertainty, countries have enabled their legislation and digitalized procedures to connect procurement effectiveness and transparency. Also, strong cooperation between countries and international organizations has provided transactional flexibility, process acceleration and monitoring. In this respect, civil society has further played a key role in demanding a pellucid contracting process, accountability, and data release.

    Key takeaways

    • Fostering communication transparency and simplifying bureaucratic procedures through legal tools enhance procurement integrity and better preparedness for post-COVID-19.
    • Digitalization and the use of technology permit a combination of rapid response and effectiveness in procurement while keeping a record of operations.
    • Monitoring and coordinating stakeholders’ efforts through a priority-based-approach enforce the integrity of procurement processes.
    • Encouraging civil society involvement in the management and decision-making process can prevent transparency issues.

    1:00 - 2:00 PM ET

    Insolvency in the Context of COVID-19: Can Out-of-Court Workouts Flatten the Curve of Insolvency Cases? | WATCH THE REPLAY

    Speakers

    • Scott Atkins, Partner, Deputy Chair and Head of Risk Advisory, Norton Rose Fulbright, Australia
    • Bruno Navarro, Founder, Ipso Facto Ltd., United Arab Emirates
    • Ancois Plaatje, Deputy Director, Banking Supervision Department, Bank of Namibia
    • Tayo Oduwole, CEO, Frontier Capital Alternative Assets, Nigeria

    Moderator

    • Mahesh Uttamchandani, Practice Manager, World Bank

    Summary

    Corporate insolvency is forecasted to grow by 25 percent between 2019 and 2021 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, corporate debts in emerging markets are at an all-time high. However, insolvency regimes in many emerging markets are ill-equipped to handle complex cases and cope with a surge of cases under the COVID crisis. An out-of-court workout could be a good alternative to an insolvency regime, as the former is less costly and time-consuming than the latter. An out-of-court workout would also benefit SMEs which do not have sufficient capital to pursue their cases in an insolvency court. In addition, an out-of-court workout is better than insolvency from the perspectives of both creditors and debtors. For instance, banks think about an out-of-court workout as the best way for recovery. Meanwhile, companies consider an out-of-court workout as the best way to preserve their value. Nevertheless, it is still important to have an effective insolvency law function in the background in order to support out-of-court workouts. For example, in a hybrid approach, the court can validate and make an out-of-court workout binding upon all creditors.

    Key takeaways

     

    • SMEs have simple business structures (e.g. few creditors). Hence, out-of-court workouts could be utilized in order to reach a consensus in an efficient and effective way.
    • Successful out-of-court workouts need to be driven by best practices.
    • There are many ways to improve the efficiency of out-of-court workouts (e.g. following due processes and creating awareness that a going concern is the best way to preserve value).

    3:00 - 4:00 PM ET

    Gender, Laws and COVID-19 | WATCH THE REPLAY

    Speakers

    • Sara Mbago-Bhunu, Director of East and Southern Africa Division, International Fund for Agricultural Development
    • Joan Grogan, Head of Finance and Impact Investments Unit, International Fund for Agricultural Development 
    • Victoria Stanley, Senior Land Administration Specialist, World Bank
    • Olena Mykhalchenko, Legal Analyst, Women, Business and the Law, World Bank

    Moderator

    • Monica Restrepo, Chief Counsel, Legal Vice Presidency, World Bank

    Summary

    The current worldwide health uncertainty affects vulnerable people more negatively, particularly women, than non-vulnerable individuals. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated women’s living conditions and increased domestic and gender-based violence. While enduring home evictions, women also face (il)legal denial of production means (land, asset, and financing), access to justice, and even the possibility to telecommute. In this environment, some countries have chosen to empower women by supporting caregivers or home-based workers. Studies have revealed that endowing women with production tools increases food production from 20 percent to 30 percent and allows them to participate in a fairer distribution of prosperity. As a result, there is an urgent need to address women's vulnerability in the midst of this health emergency.

    Key takeaways

    • Championing women’s leadership and involvement in the decision-making process through policies and legal reform is a crucial element to foster economic and social development.
    • Providing women with good education and information on their rights allow them to deal with women’s right denials.
    • Digital tools and technology could play an essential role in eliminating gender discrimination.
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    8:00 - 9:30 AM ET

    COVID-19 and Justice System Institutions | WATCH THE REPLAY

    Speakers

    • The Honorable Lady Justice Lillian Tibatemwa-Ekirukubinza, Professor of Law and Supreme Court Judge, Uganda
    • Professor Y.S. Lee, Director and Professorial Fellow of the Law and Development Institute and Visiting Professor of Law, Georgia State University College of Law
    • Professor Muna B. Ndulo, Professor of International and Comparative Law and Director of the Berger Legal Studies Program, Cornell University

    Moderator

    • Sheila Braka Musiime, Chief Counsel, Africa and Middle East and North Africa, Legal Vice Presidency, World Bank

    9:00 - 10:00 AM ET

    Review of Legal Experiences and Global Best Practices Related to COVID-19 | WATCH THE REPLAY

    Speakers

    • Sandie Okoro, Senior Vice President and Group General Counsel, and Vice President of Compliance, World Bank
    • Dayna Bowen Matthew, Dean, The George Washington University Law School
    • H. E. Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Second Minister for Law, Singapore
    • Alberto Rodriguez, Director, Strategy and Operations, Human Development Practice Group, World Bank

    Moderator

    • Vikram Raghavan, Lead Counsel, Legal Vice Presidency, World Bank 

    Summary

    In this uncertain and unprecedented time, we are still coming to terms with the devastating ramifications of COVID-19 on the health and lives of people across the globe. Many lives have sadly been lost and, due to the global recession ensuing the pandemic, 1.4 percent of the world’s population will likely fall into extreme poverty. There is also the myriad of other challenges and obstacles that may stop us from achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. The pandemic has had a gargantuan impact on law, the delivery of justice and the legal profession in general. Countries have imposed restrictions with various justifications: some have declared emergencies under their constitutions, some have relied on disaster management laws, and others enacted new legislation to tackle the pandemic. In addition, COVID-19 has created a wide array of legal and regulatory challenges. These include disruptions to contract and commercial relations between individuals, small and large businesses. Sometimes, the potential for cross-border disputes exist, especially regarding imported essential public health services, equipment and vaccines. Laws and regulations are being enacted to reduce operating costs and wage bills, but these may conflict with labor and employee protection. Companies also need to implement new regulations for employee health and safety. Individual rights to privacy must be balanced against the public need for contact tracing and surveillance. And, in addition to the rising backlog of existing cases, courts are likely to face an avalanche of new litigation due to COVID-19. Such litigation could include pandemic related death or injury lawsuits, criminal prosecutions, commercial and contractual disputes, real estate matters, bankruptcy and insolvency, consumer complaints, insurance liability, domestic violence and family law cases. This will impact access to courts, especially among those who are already disproportionately deprived.

    Key takeaways

    • To overcome the challenges, countries must initiate various measures, including drafting specialised laws for disease outbreaks and pandemics that can provide a statutory framework for lockdown and reopening decisions, promotion of ADR systems.
    • Teach young lawyers about the role of law in redressing inequalities, particularly in accessing health and other services.
    • Jurisdictions should work together to address the cross-border effects of COVID-19.

    11:00 - 12:30 Heure de Washington DC | Session en français

    Accès à la Justice en temps de crise sanitaire : une opportunité pour innover : Regards croisés Afrique/Europe  | REVOIR LA VIDEO

    Intervention d’introduction

    • Didier Reynders, Commissaire Européen à la Justice
    • Emmanuel Sibidi Darankoum, Secrétaire Permanent, Organisation pour l’Harmonisation du Droit des Affaires en Afrique (OHADA)

    Intervenants

    • Coco Kayudi, Bâtonnier de l’Ordre des Avocats de Kinshasa/Matete, République Démocratique du Congo 
    • Christiane Feral-Schuhl, Avocate au Barreau de Paris et du Québec, Présidente, Conseil National des Barreaux 
    • Régine Dooh Collins, Notaire, Membre de l’Association du Notariat Francophone (ANF)
    • Lionel Galliez, Notaire, Vice-président pour l’Europe de l’Union internationale du notariat (UINL)
    • Alain Ngongang, Huissier de justice, Président de l’Union africaine des huissiers de justice (UAHJ)
    • Patrick Sannino, Huissier de Justice, Président de la Fondation Européenne des Huissiers

    Modératrice

    • Anne-Charlotte Gros, Directrice Générale de la Fondation pour le Droit Continental

    Clôture du débat 

    • Klaus Decker, Spécialiste senior du secteur public, Banque Mondiale

    Summary

    La crise sanitaire relative à la pandémie de la Covid-19 a affecté le fonctionnement des systèmes de justice à travers le monde, en particulier ceux d’Afrique et d’Europe. Ces deux continents sont confrontés presque aux mêmes problèmes principaux à des degrés différents. L’interruption des services juridiques a non seulement affecté socialement et financièrement les professionnels du droit, mais aussi leurs partenaires clientèles. Ainsi, se fait sentir la nécessité de trouver des solutions alternatives afin de se soutenir mutuellement. À ce titre, le numérique a joué un rôle de premier plan dans le concours du rétablissement des systèmes de justice. Si, en Afrique par exemple, la Cour d’arbitrage de l’OHADA a lancé l’initiative cyber-droit, les Européens ont, de leur côté,  adopté une approche similaire en créant des plateformes digitales permettant d’assister les usagers des services juridiques. Avec l’augmentation des violences domestiques et celles fondées sur le genre durant les périodes de confinement, ces plateformes ont permis aux professionnels du droit d’offrir des services juridiques gratuits aux citoyennes et citoyens, surtout les populations vulnérables et celles souffrant de handicaps.  Toutefois, le niveau de préparation dans l’adoption des technologies digitales diffère entre les deux continents. Certains pays européens ont été mieux préparés à l’implantation de ces technologies et prévoient d’ailleurs de les pérenniser.

    Points clés

    • Le numérique devrait continuer de jouer un rôle important dans la distribution des services juridiques afin d’éviter d’éventuelles interruptions de services ; 
    • La coordination de la solidarité internationale devrait être renforcée pour soutenir les systèmes de justice faisant face à des défis financiers et techniques en temps de crise ;
    • Les systèmes de justices devraient se préparer à une forte demande de services après la crise sanitaire en adoptant des approches plus résilientes.

     

    2:00 - 2:45 PM ET | By Invitation Only

    SIDE EVENT | Law Societies Compact and Forum for SDG16 | WATCH THE REPLAY

    Speakers

    • Sandie Okoro, Senior Vice President and Group General Counsel, and Vice President of Compliance, World Bank
    • David Greene, President, Law Society for England and Wales
    • Penelope Warne, Board Member, Law Society of England and Wales
    • Christiane Feral-Schul, President, French Bar Association
    • Olivier Cousi, Batonnier, Paris Bar
    • Lourdes Escaffi-Venes, Secretary General, Inter-Amercian Bar Association

    Master of Ceremony

    • Amir Shaikh, Adviser to the Senior Vice president and Group General Counsel, Word Bank

     

    3:30 - 4:30 PM ET

    Access to Justice and Technology: A People-Centered Approach  | WATCH THE REPLAY

    Speakers

    • Haerang Lee, Judge, Suwon District Court, South Korea
    • Margaret Hagan, Director, Stanford University, The Legal Design Lab 
    • Rebecca Sandefur, Faculty Fellow, American Bar Foundation

    Moderator

    • Francesca Daverio, Co-Task Team Leader, Access to Justice and Technology Project, Legal Vice Presidency, World Bank

    Summary

    The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light a number of issues, globally, around access to justice for the most vulnerable. There is currently an opportunity to reform the justice system and this is the time to act. A people-centered approach to access to justice aims to focus on the individuals, who the justice system affects, as opposed to the institutions, such as courts that provide justice. As part of this approach, the benefits of a tech-driven justice system are evident: flexible court timings have seen default rates decrease, the use of pictures and recordings provide to methods to demonstrate evidence, and the Internet provides access to helpful resources. At the same time, the digital divide harms those most vulnerable and without proper access to the Internet, AI programs have been shown to have racial and other demographic biases, and the large amount of personal legal data creates a risk of leaks. The pandemic has accelerated the digitization of the court systems, and this opportunity should be used to collect data on access to justice to help frame a more equitable justice system going forward. The data-driven model in South Korea demonstrates how the digitization of courts should be instituted in a slow manner that does not leave behind the society’s most vulnerable.

    Key Takeaways

    • A people-centered approach to access to justice leads to the conclusion that most justice issues do not reach lawyers and courts.
    • The use of technology in justice has many benefits and challenges. This is the perfect time to gather data to help shape the justice system going forward.
    • The South Korean court system provides a good example of a data-driven, people-centric approach where court system digitization does not exclude the most vulnerable.