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Barristers worldwide look set to have an international forum within the International Bar Association (IBA).
The initiative, headed by Bar Council chair Robert Owen QC and Malcolm Wallis SC, who is chair of the South Africa Bar, has been prompted by the fact there are no specific meetings at the IBA for the referral bar.
It was recently discussed at the IBA's 50th anniversary celebrations in New York. About 10 barristers from a selection of referral bars, including Hong Kong, Ireland, Australia and Scotland, debated the issue in a meeting which lasted one and a half hours.
"There are 20,000 referral advocates worldwide," said Owen. "This forum will serve as a vehicle for us to exchange information."
He added that issues such as advocacy training would be high on the group's agenda.
Frank Clarke SC, a former chair of the Irish Bar, is in the process of drawing up draft regulations to govern proceedings.
Membership of the forum would be divided into two categories - individual members of the IBA and organisational members.
The forum will be fully established at the IBA's conference which is to be held in New Delhi later this year.