In 2012, almost 800 of the world’s leading women judges, from 50 countries, met in London to debate a raft of legal issues.
The biennial meeting, hosted by the International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ), based in Washington, DC, is significant as it marks the only real opportunity women judges from across the world have to meet, share and learn from each other.
Lady Hale, at the time the incoming President of the IAWJ, approached London & Partners in 2008 to seek assistance in putting the UK capital forward as host city. The aspiration was that her final year's Presidency would be remembered for a convention in her home city, the home of common law.
She comments: “London & Partners provided essential support in our decision to bid to host the IAWJ 2012 conference in the UK capital. In the first instance, they gave us sound advice about the content of the bid and provided clear facts, figures and photos to evidence our case.
“They assisted us in the appointment of our PCO, TFI Meeting Point and co-ordinated the production of the impressive bid document, which gave us the edge. Their proactive and professional support is hugely reassuring for Ambassadors like me who have the will to host an international conference but neither the time nor the experience to turn it into reality.”
TFI Meeting Point worked with London & Partners to help the IAWJ to form its organising committee and appoint roles once the bid had been secured.
Managing Director of TFI Meeting Point, Caroline Windsor says: “As judges, their day-to-day roles mean they have to be incredibly careful not to be involved with anything that may conflict their objectivity. The convention couldn’t be funded by corporate sponsorship for example. We had some Government support but it needed donations and foundation funding. Together with London & Partners we advised them on whom to approach."
Making the most of London's wide range of accommodation suiting all budgets, a complete range from top quality hotels to hostels was sourced. A number of apartments were also used to accommodate the preferences of some of the delegates. Participating hotels included some of London's most well-known brands, Park Plaza, Marriott and Novotel. The main conference hotel was the perfectly situated Park Plaza Westminster Bridge, with stunning views over the river Thames and the Houses of Parliament.
The meeting attracted a record turnout and went beyond the expectations of the IAWJ.
“Main sessions were held in Church House, which proved a superb fit for the event, providing an intimate backdrop to help stimulate open debate while still maintaining Chatham House rules,” says Windsor.
The conference programme also capitalised on London’s rich legal heritage with visits to legal landmarks, such as the Old Bailey and Lincoln’s Inn. A complementary social programme included a gala dinner at the Guildhall, the City of London’s magnificent medieval Grade I listed landmark, complete with trumpet fanfares and opera singers, and a concert at Temple Church.
“London’s global reputation as the cradle for common law was part of the attraction for delegates but moreover, it’s simply a fantastic city to meet in and it provides excellent access from all over the world. The judges loved the city’s wonderful blend of cultures and the fact that it is a melting pot of different cuisines and nationalities,” Windsor concludes.