The International Malaysia Law Conference (IMLC) 2014, a signature event by the Malaysian Bar, was held at the Royale Chulan Hotel in Kuala Lumpur last month.

The conference, themed “Reshaping the Legal Profession, Reforming the Law”, was attended by some 900 persons, consisting of local and foreign delegates, speakers and moderators.

In his welcoming address, President of the Malaysian Bar Christopher Leong highlighted the importance for the legal fraternity to meet the challenges of the changing legal environment, particularly in light of the recent liberalisation of the legal services market in Malaysia, thus setting the tone for the three-day conference, which was held from Sept 24 to 26.

Leong also called upon all the “stakeholders” in the legal sector, “namely the Judiciary, Attorney-General’s Chambers, private practitioners, and the law faculties of our higher education institutions, to come together as a committee to pursue a coordinated and concerted effort to study, develop, and establish a blueprint for the legal sector of Malaysia as a whole in improving and responding to an ever-evolving and transforming environment.”

The conference also saw delegates attending the break-out sessions which covered three streams – Litigation & Dispute Resolution; Corporate & Commercial; and International Law & Public Interest.

Among the topics covered in these sessions include Protecting the Deal: Mergers and Acquisitions — The Risks Involved and Strategies to Mitigate and Insure Against Risks; Modern Appellate Advocacy; Arbitration: Interim Relief or Long-Term Pain?; and Arbitration: Litigating Arbitral Disputes — Challenging and Defending Arbitral Awards.

In the session Protecting the Deal: Mergers and Acquisitions, the speakers tackled the issues on the risks involved with M&A transactions. They also provided an introduction to transactional risk insurance and how it could be best applied to Malaysian and cross-border deal, and the key benefits these policies offered to corporate and financial buyers.

In the session Modern Appellate Advocacy, the speakers (comprising of three from the Judiciary and three from the Malaysian Bar) addressed the topic of advocacy in the appellate courts, discussing a wide range of aspects relating to modern appellate advocacy from the perspective of the Bar and the expectations of the Bench.

In Arbitration: Interim Relief or Long-Term Pain?, which was a joint session with the Law Society of Singapore, the speakers addressed the considerations when choosing between the courtroom and arbitration in seeking interim relief, and judicial attitudes and trends in dealing with urgent interim relief applications in aid of arbitration. They also examined the effectiveness of an arbitral award in respect of interim relief.

In Arbitration: Litigating Arbitral Disputes, which was a joint session with LAWASIA and the Hong Kong Bar Association, the speakers dealt with the topic of applications to court to challenge arbitral awards, specifically addressing challenges in terms of questions of law. They also discussed the limits and boundaries of such challenges, and looked at issues pertaining to the enforcement and setting aside of the arbitral awards.

The inaugural Malaysian Law Conference was first launched by the then-Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein in 1971. Since then, the legal profession has witnessed significant and dynamic growth. It was renamed as the International Malaysia Law Conference in 2012.