The EUBA held its annual conference in Paris on 8–9 November 2019, in association with the Paris Bar.
On the Friday night we were hosted by the Paris Bar for dinner in the Maison du Barreau itself, which is located on the Île de la Cité, just opposite the Palais de Justice. The tone of the evening was set when Paul McGarry SC, Chair of the EUBA, gave a short speech in French thanking our hosts for the warm welcome and Stéphane de Navacelle of the Bar Council of Paris responded in English.
The following morning conference delegates were back in the Maison du Barreau for the main business of the conference, along with coffee and choux buns.
Judge Françoise Kamara, conseiller doyen of the Première chambre civile de la Cour de Cassation, chaired the opening panel on State aid and national fiscal measures. Papers were given, on the Irish side, by Judge Colm Mac Eochaidh of the General Court and Suzanne Kingston BL and, on the Parisian side, by Thomas Picot and Thierry de Bovis. The speakers considered, among other issues, the extent to which the State aid rules apply to tax rulings, the policy position of the European Commission on tax harmonisation and the position taken by the Court of Justice, in particular in the World Duty Free cases.
Later in the day Mr Justice Robert Haughton, newly of the Court of Appeal, chaired a panel on commercial dispute resolution after Brexit. Paul McGarry SC gave an overview of the Commercial Court in Ireland and Patrick Leonard SC analysed the possibilities opening up for both the Bar of Ireland and the Paris Bar post-Brexit. Judge François Ancel, president of the International Commercial Chamber of the Court of Appeal in Paris, then gave us an insider’s view on the workings of this new Parisian court that allows pleading in English. Finally, Jacques Bouyssou of the Paris Bar took an overview what Paris had to offer international litigants.
Before the conference dinner on the Saturday night, delegates had a few hours to enjoy Paris in the sunshine, which for some involved going to take a look at the ongoing repair work on Notre-Dame at the other end of the Île de la Cité, following the fire earlier this year.
Thanks are due to the committee of the EUBA and to Aoife Kinnarney, as well as to those involved from the Bar Council of Paris, for organising a fantastic conference that succeeded on all levels.
Hannah Godfrey BL