Belfast Telegraph

Top lawyers to meet in Belfast over changing technology

By Joanne Sweeney

Some of the UK and Ireland's top lawyers set to meet in Belfast to discuss the impact of changing technology and the law, including accessibility, new areas of litigation and some of the pitfalls.

The British Irish Commercial Bar Association is hosting a conference on Thursday, at the Royal Courts of Justice, looking at how opportunities created by the rise of digital media can be "harnessed to make dispute resolution more efficient and effective". But it says developments, such as online dispute resolution, can "create risks for both lawyers and clients which require careful management".

Micheal Humphreys QC, chairman of the Commercial Bar Association, said: "Just as Google is no substitute for qualified and skilled medical advice, commercial entities will always require quality advice and advocacy in order to protect their interests."

Thursday's event takes place in the Royal Courts of Justice. Speakers include the President and Justices of the Supreme Court, Lord Neuberger and Lord Kerr.

Meanwhile, a legacy of unresolved legal debt disputes between banks and businesses remains following the 2008 economic crash, a Northern Ireland QC has said.

But alternatives to court can be found to settle disputes, which could allow businesses to continue trading and maintain a good working relationship with their banks in the future, he added.

Earlier this year, bookmaker Gareth Graham settled his long-running dispute with vulture fund Cerberus through mediation.

David Casement QC, the joint chairman of the British Irish Commercial Bar Association, spoke before a seminar on dispute resolution in Belfast on May 6.

He said that he believed that now was the right time to hold the seminar to help settle disputes as large number remain in the system. "There is a legacy of alleged banking disputes still to be resolved, not only in Northern Ireland but also in the UK and the Republic

"Dispute resolution is an alternative to court proceedings where there is normally a winner and a loser.

"We will have an expert panel from top legal firms Cleaver Fulton Rankin, Berg and McKeever Rowan Solicitors who will address local banks, businesses, accountants and wealth managers on how to resolve disputes out of court.

"I believe that the seminar will help create a cultural shift in how banks and businesses resolve these disputes."

Mr Casement added that there were still places available for the event at Law Society House.

Belfast Telegraph

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