The St. Petersburg International Legal Forum saw upwards of 4500 participants in 2018. This year’s Forum was attended by a record number of countries – 90 – from all continents. Some of the countries represented were Australia, Austria, Belgium, Germany, Hong Kong, Greece, Egypt, Netherlands, UAE, Pakistan, Portugal, US, Finland, France and Japan.
The majority of SPBILF guests were practicing attorneys and leaders of the in-house legal offices of major corporations. Each of these two groups accounted for 27% of the Forum’s participants. Public servants constituted another major group of attendees with 21% of the total number. Twelve percent of SPBILF guests this year were representatives of law schools.
“We are glad to see the Forum grow and expand, and the dynamic is all positive again this year,” said Yury Liubimov, State Secretary and Deputy Minister of Justice of Russia. “We know it is getting harder to grow quantitatively – the platform is simply not equipped to accommodate all the people we would like to see. While the number of guests has increased, quantity is not what we are after; quality is. We have done a good job managing this Forum’s programme. We have managed it in an interactive mode, and succeeded in getting all participants to contribute to the programme planning. We set these interactive wheels in motion to fill the programme with content: every SPBILF participant was welcome to propose a new roundtable, or join any debate that was already scheduled. We have launched a number of new formats this year. The battles, for one, really made the grade, as did process debates between lawyers contending different viewpoints. One of the formats we premiered was a man versus robot contest, which really tied in with the keynotes stated at the plenary session. Dmitry Medvedev actually advertised this new format in his address, and the battle was a big success with the audience. We have managed to balance all these different topicalities, and that’s something we had always aspired to do. It seems to me that the topics are quite interesting this year – sufficiently elaborate, adequately philosophical – so everyone can find something of interest.”
The SPBILF has, over time, staked out its claim as a key platform for international networking and for sealing important diplomatic agreements. The Forum received 95 official delegations this year from overseas Ministries of Justice, Supreme and Constitutional Courts. Among the foreign guests of honour at the VIII SPBILF were 14 Chief Justices of Constitutional Courts, 13 Chief Justices of Supreme Courts, and 16 Ministers or Deputy Ministers of Justice.
“We appreciate the fact that the Forum has garnered the attention of so many states, but we also appreciate the attendance of high-profile international institutions,” Yury Liubimov noted. “One of the programme highlights this year was the session dedicated to the 20th anniversary since the ratification of the Convention on Human Rights. Thanks to this milestone, the SPBILF was attended by a delegation of the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights, led by Christos Giakoumopoulos, Director General of Human Rights and Rule of Law of the Council of Europe. Meetings like this advance the overarching mission of the Forum, which is to forge international dialogue and cooperation.”
Also participating in the work of the business platform were representatives of the UN Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism, the International Welfare Association, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Over 530 speakers took the floor at the SPBILF events. There were outstanding professionals, iconic scholars, unique experts in different fields of law among them.
General partner of the VIII St. Petersburg International Legal Forum is "Gazprombank" (Joint-stock Company)