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Conference 2014

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For those of you who were unable to attend our conference or would like to re-visit our key-note on ‘The Rule of Law and Innovation,’ by our key-note speaker Monjurul Kabir you can find the full text of his speech below.

We would like to thank him once again for his inspiring start to our conference.

Keynote Speech Rule of Law & Innovation



Oxford Lawyers Without Borders is delighted to extend an invitation to our upcoming annual conference. After a successful inaugural conference last year, Oxford Lawyers Without Borders is seeking to continue building a legacy of thought provoking, inspiring conversations about international law with some of the world’s foremost practitioners and advocates in the field.

We will have a keynote address on the “Rule of Law and Innovation” from leading development practitioner Monjurul Kabir (UNDP’s Rule of Law, Human Rights and Justice Adviser and Team Leader for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States), host a panel discussion on “Does a International Rule of Law Exist?”, run creative workshops on better understanding the rule of law and implementing legal innovation, and host a “Pro Bono in the City” Fair with representatives from several major firms. The conference will also include a dinner for delegates, and will allow for ample opportunities to interact with invited speakers, law firm representatives, and fellow law students.

This year we will also be hosting a human rights colloquium unlike any seen in Oxford before. As part of a new initiative, the conference will base itself on an ‘innovation competition’ designed to generate innovation geared towards implementing and improving the rule of law in developing countries, where student teams from universities across the UK present prospective, plausible one-year projects showcasing pioneering solutions to entrenched human rights problems. The universities and firms represented include:

  • Exeter (mentored by LWOB)
  • Oxford (mentored by Gibson Dunn)
  • King’s College London (mentored by Gibson Dunn)
  • Southampton (mentored by Jones Day)
  • SOAS (mentored by Linklaters)
  • UCL (mentored by Shearman & Sterling)

Our vision is to make the event as interactive and enriching as possible for all participants.  We hope to see you there!


T.S. Eliot Theatre, Merton College


Saturday, March 8th (7th Week), 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Keynote – “Rule of Law and Innovation”

Abul Hasnat Monjurul Kabir, an international human rights lawyer, is UNDP’s Rule of Law, Human Rights and Justice Adviser and Team Leader for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) based in the Bratislava Regional Centre. As part of his responsibility, he manages a regional portfolio of Rule of Law, human rights, justice and legal empowerment initiatives and projects for the Europe and the CIS region. As a parliamentary development specialist, he is the regional focal point for UNDP’s legislative strengthening work in the region.

Mr. Kabir, a frequent public speaker in global and regional forums, advocates for greater integration of rule of law issues and social inclusion of disadvantaged groups and marginalized communities (i.e., women, persons with disabilities, minorities, people living with HIV etc.) into justice delivery mechanisms and national human rights systems. In 2013, he launched HuRiLab [innovating for Rule of Law, Justice and Human Rights], a new initiative to deepen civic and youth engagements in development projects. Last year, Mr. Kabir also pioneered legal aid assessment through Legal Aid for Justice [LAJ] initiative.  In 2012, he initiated a new and innovative business line for human rights, the Universal Periodic Review Support Facility (UPR-F), to support UNDP offices and national partners in implementing agreed-upon UPR-related human rights and justice recommendations.

Previously, Mr. Kabir worked with UNDP’s Bureau for Development Policy in New York as Policy Specialist for Democratic Governance and Knowledge Management from 2006 to 2010. He served in UNDP Afghanistan as Legislative Adviser from 2005 to 2006 in UNDP Kathmandu and Bangkok Sub-regional Resource Facility as Expert Practitioner for Asia-Pacific Access to Justice Initiative and in UNDP Bangladesh as Programme Manager/Specialist from 2002 to 2003, and Team Leader/Head of Governance for the period 2003–2005.

Panel Speakers – “Does an International Rule of Law Exist?”

Roger Leese is a Partner in the Litigation Department at Clifford Chance LLP.  He is also responsible for his firm’s pro bono work on developmental issues. Roger chairs the Board of Trustees for A4ID.Through A4ID’s innovative broker service, Roger helps bring together legal experts and those working towards the Millennium Development Goals, ensuring all those who need legal advice can access it. This network involves more than 39,000 lawyers around the world who provide free legal advice to development organisations, civil society groups, bar associations, developing country governments and social enterprises.

Peter Van Veen is the director of Transparency International‘s Business Integrity programme. Peter joined TI-UK in July 2011 to head the Training & Advisory Services team. He has 20 years’ experience in advising companies and has worked for such diverse organisations as The Economist Group, Royal Dutch Shell, Accenture, SRI International, Bertelsmann and SABMiller. He has consulted and spoken extensively on strategic risk management, corporate governance, business ethics and corruption.

Paul McCann is the director of Communications and Advocacy for Namati.  He has 20 years experience working in journalism and communications around the globe. He was a reporter on The Independent and The Times in the UK before running the communications department for UNRWA, the UN’s specialist agency for Palestinian refugees. From the agency’s HQ in the Gaza Strip, Paul worked on communications and advocacy campaigns in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and the occupied Palestinian territory. As a development communications consultant he has written emotional speeches for celebrity ambassadors, formal reports for the UN General Assembly and uplifting radio scripts for charity appeals.

Neelim Sultan is an International Human Rights Law barrister at 1 Mitre Court.


***UPDATE: DLA Piper has just agreed to sponsor the conference dinner, so we can now offer three courses and wine for £20!  It’s an absolute steal, and will feature time with conference judges, teams, and Nicholas Patrick, Partner and Head of Pro Bono and Corporate Responsibility at DLA Piper.  Tickets are limited, so get yours today!***

£7 (Day Pass)

Availability is limited. Book today!


£27 (Dinner and Day Pass)


£20 (Dinner Only)


Policy Competition

Interested in participating in the policy competition? Take a look at the Innovation Competition guide!

2014 Conference Policy Competition Guide

The conference is generously sponsored by DLA Piper and Linklaters.


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