28 May 2020
The British-Albanian Lawyers Association took part in a virtual meeting with Kosovo’s acting Justice Minister, acting deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Albanian lawyers in the diaspora. The discussion focused on the creation of links between Albanian diaspora lawyers and the Kosovo institutions with the purpose of exchanging professional skills and experiences.
BALA was praised as a success story and an example of how non-profit organisations can promote cooperation between professionals, support younger generations of professionals and promote the exchange of ideas and experiences between countries. BALA Chair, Brikena Muharremi, was asked to talk about the BALA model, how we work and how BALA could assist the Kosovo institutions in creating similar organisations of Albanian lawyers in other countries. Brikena said that BALA would be happy to assist the Kosovo institutions in achieving this aim and to work on projects that are in line with BALA’s vision and aims.
The meeting was organised by Kosovo’s Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
BALA celebrated the centenary of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 by choosing women lawyers as its speakers throughout 2019.
5 April 2019
BALA Chair, Brikena Muharremi, was appointed by the Albanian Government on Albania’s Diaspora Coordinative Council, a newly created body consisting of 15 Albanian Diaspora members who represent the Albanian Diaspora across the globe. The roles of the Council include promoting the interests of the Albanian Diaspora and working with the key figures of the Albanian Government on strategies and policies relating to the Albanian Diaspora.
20 March 2019
BALA held its Annual General Meeting at Hill Dickinson Solicitors. At this meeting, which was attended by members of BALA, we held elections for the positions of Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, Advisor and Liaison Officer. The following Committee members were elected for a second term to these positions with unanimous votes: Brikena as Chair, Fortesa as Secretary, Alban as Treasurer, Diana as Advisor and Artan as Liaison Officer. Congratulations to all!
11 March 2019
BALA is proud that Steven Powles, who sits on the BALA Committee, was sworn in as Queen's Counsel. BALA congratulates Steven and looks forward to continuing to work with him.
28 February - 2 March 2019
BALA Chair, Brikena Muharremi, was invited to attend the Diaspora Summit, which was organised by the Albanian Government in Tirana from 28 February until 2 March 2019. She was invited to be a panellist on the Diaspora Voting Rights panel on 1 March 2019 where she spoke about her work in the improvement of the diaspora voting system. Brikena called for the Kosovo parliament to vote on the Election Law draft amendments presented before it which, if passed, would allow the diaspora to vote at embassies in addition to other forms of voting.
During the awards ceremony on 1 March 2019 Brikena was awarded the newly created ‘Ambassador of the Nation’ Award from the Albanian Government. Brikena is the first recipient of this prestigious award. In her acceptance speech Brikena thanked the Albanian government for this recognition and said that she hoped that the government’s work in strengthening the rule of law continues.
16 January 2019
BALA celebrated 3 years as an organisation with our colleagues, friends and supporters in attendance. 3 years have flown by really fast! During this time we have worked with the most incredible and inspiring lawyers who have been speakers at our events and through which work we hope we have inspired lawyers, aspiring lawyers and others.
21 & 22 December 2018
BALA was invited to the annual conference organised by the Kosovo Bar Association (KBA), to celebrate Advocacy Day and the 45th Anniversary of the creation of the KBA. Newly qualified lawyers were sworn in. Present were representatives of the KBA from Kosovo and representatives of bar associations from other countries including Albania, Croatia, Slovenia and the Czech Republic. Former Kosovo President Ms Jahjaga and the president of the Kosovo Supreme Court were also present and addressed the audience. Guests were also taken for a visit to the town of Rahovec and there was a festive evening in Prishtina to conclude the conference. BALA was represented by its Chair, Brikena Muharremi. BALA thanks the KBA for the invitation, the excellent event and their hospitality.
5th to 7th October 2018
BALA Chair, Brikena Muharremi, attended a 3-day meeting in Prishtina, Kosovo, with members of Kosovo parliament and representatives of the Kosovo government, other institutions and organisations, to discuss the draft Kosovo Diaspora Law and draft Diaspora Strategy 2019-2023.
Brikena was also invited to take part in a TV debate to discuss the above as well as the benefits of the involvement of the diaspora in the political, social and economical development of Kosovo. You can view the debate on this link here.
18 May 2018
BALA Chair, Brikena Muharremi, addressed Members of Parliament in the Kosovo Parliament on diaspora rights and engagement. This was part of the Diaspora Flet conference organised by NGO Germin the purpose of which was to inspire a new path of diaspora-government relations in order to work towards a brighter future for the region. The full plenary session, which was broadcast live on Kosovo’s national TV, can be seen on the link below. Brikena’s speech starts at 59:42 and can be viewed on Youtube.
Brikena also presented before Kosovo’s Parliamentary Commission for Legislation proposals on diaspora’s rights and appeared on a TV debate on 17 May 2018 where she spoke about the work of BALA and how it can contribute to the improvement of Kosovo’s and Albania’s legal systems.
2 August 2017
BALA Chair, Brikena Muharremi, was invited to attend a roundtable presented live on national TV in Prishtina, Kosovo, organised by the Ministry of Diaspora and Kosovo-based NGO Germin to discuss how the role of the diaspora in Kosovo can be advanced. Those present included Minister Murati and representatives of community organisations in the diaspora. Brikena spoke about her professional legal experience and the work of BALA and stressed the importance of there being a functional legal system in Kosovo, which will act as an incentive for business investments in Kosovo.
10 June 2017
BALA was invited to attend Kosovo Bar Association’s celebration of Advocacy Day and the 44th anniversary of the creation of the Kosovo Bar Association. On the same day the Kosovo Bar Association and Albania’s National Chamber of Advocacy signed an agreement to create the Union of Albanian Speaking Lawyers. BALA’s Chair, Brikena Muharremi, was invited to address the audience on behalf of Albanian speaking lawyers in the diaspora. Brikena welcomed the initiative for the creation of the Union of Albanian Speaking Lawyers and said that this union will contribute to the promotion of collaborations between Albanian speaking lawyers around the world. Brikena also said that the union will contribute to the advancement of the legal systems in Kosovo and Albania, which in turn will contribute to the advancement of both countries.
Newly qualified lawyers were also sworn in. Guests included representatives from the Bar Associations of Kosovo, Albania and other countries, the Diaspora Minister, Valon Murati, other representatives of local and international institutions and Albanian speaking lawyers from the diaspora. The opening ceremony took place on 9 June whereas on 10 June after the above mentioned events guests were taken on a visit to Prizren and then Prevalle for a closing festive evening. We thank the Kosovo Bar Association and the Diaspora Ministry for inviting us to this event and for their hospitality.
8 June 2017
BALA’s Chair, Brikena Muharremi, and BALA’s Kosovo-based committee member, Merita Stublla-Emini, met the British Ambassador to Kosovo, Ruairi O’Connell, at the British Embassy in Prishtina, Kosovo. Topics of discussion included BALA’s work to date and its future projects and the work of the British Embassy in Kosovo in the Rule of Law field. The Ambassador expressed his support for BALA’s work and his willingness to collaborate with BALA in the future.
24 March 2017
BALA held its first Annual General Meeting at the Albanian Embassy in London in the presence of BALA members, the Albanian Ambassador, Mr Qirko, and other staff from the Albanian and the Kosovo Embassies. The BALA committee presented the Chair's Annual Report covering the BALA activities since its launch in January 2016 and the Treasurer's report covering BALA's accounts. BALA voted for the adoption of the descriptions for the roles of the BALA officers. BALA also voted for Steven Powles and Merita Stublla-Emini to join our committee. Steven is a barrister and Head of Doughty Street Chambers International. Merita is a Kosovo based lawyer who runs her own office in Prishtina and was Chair of the Kosovo Bar Association for Prishtina. Both have given an excellent contribution to the work of BALA to date and we are privileged to have them on the committee. BALA thanks the Albanian Ambassador and his staff for their support and hospitality.
18 March 2017
BALA Chair, Brikena Muharremi, was invited to present the work and objectives of BALA at an event in London organised by the Kosovo-based non-profit organisation Germin as part of its ‘Structured Dialogue for the Rights of the Diaspora’ project. BALA is one of three organisations that were selected to present their work during this event. The event aimed to raise awareness about the above-mentioned project and to stimulate debate mainly on the involvement of the Albanian diaspora in policy making processes in Kosovo.
Click here for an article on the event
11 January 2017
BALA co-hosted with Doughty Street Chambers a roundtable discussion on the adoption of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence for the Kosovo Specialist Chambers. The topics of discussion included matters that those contributing to the discussion considered the court should to take into account when drafting the Rules of Procedure and Evidence. The topics covered the rights of the accused, victims and witnesses, disclosure, etc. Attendees included representatives from Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Redress, Open Society, International Bar Association, Oxford University and the Kosovo independent bar. A representative from the Kosovo Embassy in London also attended as an observer. A report setting out the discussion was sent to the Kosovo Specialist Chambers in The Hague for their consideration.
Read more about this event in Doughty Street’s first international law bulletin by clicking here.
16 January 2017
BALA celebrated its first anniversary with lawyers, law graduates and students, the Albanian Ambassador, other staff from the Albanian and the Kosovo Embassies and other prominent members of the community. We are proud to have had a successful first year as an organisation and to have the support of not only our fellow lawyers but also of key organisations: the Kosovo and the Albanian Embassies here in London, the British Embassies in Prishtina and Tirana, the Kosovo and the Albanian governments, the Law Society and the Bar Council here. We were honoured to announce during our celebration that Albania’s Ambassador to the UK, Qirjako Qirko, has agreed to be our patron. We look forward to working with the Ambassador, the Albanian Embassy and our supporters in achieving our objectives.
See Albanian Embassy’s post on the event here
For pictures click here
28 November 2016
Brikena and Artan from the BALA committee were invited to attend a celebration in honour of the Albanian Flag day organised by the Albanian Embassy in London. In attendance were diplomatic staff as well as a number of Albanian community activists.
See pictures here
18th – 21st November 2016
Brikena, Arta and Diana from the BALA committee attended the Diaspora Summit, which was organised by the Albanian Government and took place in Tirana, Albania. The Summit included panel discussions regarding issues affecting the Albanian diaspora and how an effective dialogue can be formed and maintained between the diaspora and the Albanian and the Kosovar governments.
For photos click here
18th November 2016
Brikena, Arta and Diana from the BALA committee met with Albania’s Deputy Justice Minister, Eridian Salianji, at Albania’s Ministry of Justice in Tirana. They informed the Deputy Minister about the work and objectives of BALA and also discussed possible collaborations between BALA and the Ministry of Justice.
18th November 2016
BALA Chair, Brikena Muharremi, met the British Ambassador to Albania, Duncan Norman, at the British Embassy in Tirana. Brikena informed the Ambassador about the work and objectives of BALA. The Ambassador expressed his support for BALA and discussed with Brikena possible collaborations between the Embassy and BALA.
8th November 2016
BALA Chair, Brikena Muharremi, was invited to attend a celebration of Albania’s success in tourism in the House of Lords. The event was organised by the Albanian Embassy in London in collaboration with the Albanian-British Chamber of Commerce and Industry and under the auspices of the Rt. Hon. Lord Alan Watson of Richmond. Guests included the Albanian Minister for Economic Development, Trade and Entrepreneurship, representatives from the Kosovo and the Albanian Embassies in London, representatives from high ranking business British and Albanian tourism businesses and representatives from the Albanian National Tourism Agency.
3rd November 2016
Brikena and Artan from the BALA committee attended the UK-US-Kosovo Trade and Investment Forum, which took place in London. This was organised by the UK, US and Kosovo governments. Attending the Forum were Kosovo’s Prime Minister, representatives of the British Parliament, the Ambassadors of the UK and the US in Kosovo, the Kosovo Ambassador to the UK, the head of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, heads of associations and businessmen.
17th October 2016
Following the meeting with the Kosovo Justice Minister, Dhurata Hoxha, in London on 4th October 2016 the British-Albanian Lawyers Association is honoured to have received a letter with very positive and encouraging comments. We look forward to future collaborations with the Minister and Kosovo’s justice institutions.
Click here to open the letter
14th October 2016
The President of the RIT Kosovo (formerly the American University of Kosovo), Dr Sharon Hart, met Brikena and Artan from the BALA committee and other London-based Albanian activists to discuss the work of the Albanian community in London and possible collaborations with RIT Kosovo.
4th October 2016
BALA is privileged to have been invited to meet the newly appointed Justice Minister of Kosovo, Dhurata Hoxha, who was on an official visit in London. The meeting was attended by Brikena, Artan and Alban from the BALA committee. During the meeting the Minister shared her vision and plans for reforming the legal system in Kosovo and for promoting respect for the Rule of Law. The Minister and BALA discussed possible collaborations between UK based lawyers and the Kosovo institutions.
23rd September 2016
BALA Chair, Brikena Muharremi, was invited to attend a reception at the Albanian Embassy organised by the new Albanian Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Qirjako Qirko. During the reception Mr Qirko introduced himself and spoke about the plans of the embassy and Albania’s Foreign Ministry to engage with the Albanian diaspora. Members of the audience were invited to introduce themselves and talk about their background. Brikena used this opportunity to talk about the work and objectives of BALA.
21st July 2016
Statement of the British-Albanian Lawyers Association on the legal reform process in Albania.
The British-Albanian Lawyers Association, as a promoter of the Rule of Law and access to justice, welcomes the process of justice reforms that is currently happening in Albania. This process is necessary to ensure that the Rule of Law, which is an essential part of a democratic society, is respected and always prevails. The British-Albanian Lawyers Association supports reforms which ensure, amongst other matters, that the judicial system in Albania is accountable to the public and is independent of political and other influences. A fundamental legal reform in Albania is necessary not only to protect the legal rights of the citizens of Albania, but also to ensure that Albania progresses on its road towards becoming a properly functioning democracy.
10th June 2016
The Chair of the British-Albanian Lawyers Association was invited to attend a live interview on the RTK, the Kosovo national television, to discuss the law conference of 10 and 11 June 2016 organised by the Kosovo Ministry of Diaspora in collaboration with the Kosovo Ministry of Justice and the Kosovo Bar Association. Brikena appeared alongside representatives from the Diaspora Ministry and the Kosovo Bar Association.
Watch the interview here.
10th - 11th June 2016
Members of the BALA committee, Brikena Muharremi and Artan Llabjani, were invited to be panellists at a law conference organised by the Ministry of Diaspora of Kosovo in collaboration with the Kosovo Ministry of Justice and the Kosovo Bar Association on 10 and 11 June 2016 in Prishtina, Kosovo. The aim of the conference was to explore possible collaborations between Kosovo’s and Albania’s institutions and the Albanian lawyers working in the diaspora, Kosovo and Albania. Brikena and Artan contributed with their views and proposals.
8th June 2016
Members of the BALA committee were invited to meet with the Kosovo Parliament Speaker and the Kosovo Ambassador to the UK to discuss the work of BALA and future projects.
6th June 2016
Members of the BALA committee, Brikena Muharremi and Artan Llabjani, were invited to attend the launch of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Kosovo in the House of Lords. At the launch the Kosovo Parliament Speaker and his delegation from Kosovo were present as well as the Kosovo Ambassador to the UK and members of the UK Parliament.
Click here for pictures
1st June 2016
BALA Treasurer, Alban Brahimi, gave a talk on the Rule of Law in Prishtina, Kosovo. This was part of events organised by the British-Embassy in Prishtina to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday.