16th January 2021
We launched BALA 5 years ago today and are immensely proud to celebrate our work to date. We have had as speakers at our events some of the most high profile figures including Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, Kosovo’s Supreme Court President, Kosovo’s Fourth President, Dr Tunde Okewale MBE and other eminent judges and lawyers. We have hosted numerous events with hundreds of attendees and co-operated with prestigious organisations and law firms. The Embassies of Kosovo and Albania in London have supported us by hosting a number of our events and the UK Law Society and the Bar Council have continuously promoted our events. We are grateful and thank all our members, guest speakers and supporters who have been part of our journey to date and look forward to continuing our work with the aim of promoting co-operation between lawyers, advancing the knowledge of law, supporting future generations of lawyers and promoting the rule of law and access to justice.
13th January 2021
Careers in Law. Speakers: Panel of lawyers from different jurisdictions. We were pleased to host our first online which was aimed at providing guidance for students and others wishing to work in the legal field. Our panel of lawyers from different jurisdictions discussed the following topics: routes to qualifying as a lawyer, alternative careers in law and careers in different jurisdictions
16 January 2020
We are proud to have celebrated 4 years as an organisation in the presence of lawyers, trainee lawyers, students, leaders of our community organisations, professionals of different fields, the Albanian Ambassador to the UK, Mr Qirko, and his staff and Ms Gjakova from the Kosovo Embassy. We are honoured to have worked during these 4 years with the some of the best professionals in the legal industry and to have had and to continue to have the support of the legal profession, our community and the institutions. We thank Jak’s Mayfair, an award winning venue, for hosting our event.
18th November 2019
Talk “From Law to the Presidency – a conversation with former Kosovo President Atifete Jahjaga, Kosovo’s first female president”
We were honoured for this event to have guest speaker Atifete Jahjaga, Kosovo’s first female president who served as Kosovo’s Head of State from 2011 until 2016 . President Jahjaga studied Law at university and went on to work in leading positions in the Kosovo Police force prior to becoming President. She has received numerous honours and awards for her work prior, during and after her presidency. We are privileged that President Jahjaga agreed to have this talk about her journey and her work.
9th July 2019
We thank Blauden and Bernard Mustafa for their presentation for BALA on 9 July. Blauden and Bernard run the Horizon Legal Advice Clinic in London, which provides free legal advice on welfare areas of law to people with disabilities. They spoke about their work assisting some of the most vulnerable members of the community who are in need of legal assistance. We had in attendance lawyers, students and other members of the community who engaged in a discussion about the work of the Horizon Legal Advice Clinic and how this work could expand further for the benefit of the community in other areas of law.
Members of the Free Legal Aid Agency of Kosovo who were originally planned to join us as speakers at this event were unfortunately unable to join us due to issues with their London agenda. We thank Blauden and Bernard for stepping in and for speaking for BALA. We also thank the Kosovo Embassy for hosting the event and the drinks reception.
25th March 2019
Talk: 'Mud Sticks' by Ann Cotcher QC. Event held at the Kosovo Embassy.
We are privileged to have had a brilliant and insightful talk by barrister, Ann Cotcher QC, on the issue of anonymity in criminal proceedings. Ann spoke about the detrimental effect of not granting anonymity to suspects in rape cases during the investigation stage and before the conclusion of the trial, whilst anonymity protection is granted to complainants for life irrespective of the outcome of the investigation or trial. Ann gave examples of where charges against suspects are not pursued by the police or where a suspect is found innocent at trial, but due to there being no anonymity protection for them the cases have a devastating effect on their lives due to media reporting. Ann spoke about the need for legal reform in order to ensure that both complainants and suspects are afforded similar protection due to the stigma attached to such cases. There was an engaging discussion with the audience after the talk with many questions asked by the audience. We thank all who attended and the embassy for its hospitality and support.
20th 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.
During the meeting the BALA Committee also presented the Chair's Annual Report and the Treasurer's Report. We had a question and answer session at the end during which our members were able to ask questions about our work. We also had some useful suggestions from our members regarding our work.
16 January 2019
We had a brilliant evening celebrating 3 years as an organisation with our colleagues, friends and supporters in attendance. 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.
We thank Bolt Burdon Solicitors for hosting the event and for their hospitality and generosity. We were also honoured by the presence of John Grogan MP, member of UK Parliament and chair of the All Party Parliamentary Groups for Kosovo and Albania. We thank Mr Grogan for joining us and for his encouraging words for BALA.
15th November 2018
The Kosovo Justice System: the past, the present and the future’
Speaker: His Honour Judge Enver Peci, President of the Supreme Court
We were honoured to have hosted this BALA event with the President of the Supreme Court of Kosovo as our guest speaker and other top legal figures from Kosovo in attendance and contributing to the discussion including the Chief State Prosecutor, the Kosovo Bar Association Chairman and other Kosovo senior judges. The discussion focused on the history and work of the Kosovo Supreme Court, challenges faced by the Kosovo legal system and the future.
We had a stimulating discussion at the end of the talk and some excellent questions from the audience.
BALA was also presented by the President of the Supreme Court with a plaque bearing the name and symbol of the Kosovo Supreme Court, a gift we will treasure. We thank all who came and the Kosovo Embassy for hosting the event and its hospitality as always.
30th October 2018
Murder, Rape and Terrorism: A day in the life of a woman Queen’s Counsel
by Felicity Gerry QC
Our speaker was Felicity Gerry QC, an international lawyer specialising in complex and serious crime. She has received a number of awards including the '2016 Legal Personality of the Year: UK Solicitors Journal 160th Anniversary award'. She holds a number of leading positions in different organisations and is involved in advancing a number of causes relating to the protection of vulnerable victims of crime. We were privileged that Felicity came to talk to us about her work.
19th July 2018
Succeding in Law by Dr Tunde Okewale MBE
‘Succeeding in Law’ was an inspirational talk by Dr Tunde Okewale MBE, which took place at the Kosovo Embassy on 19 July 2018. Tunde is an inspirational role model not only for lawyers and aspiring lawyers, but also for anyone wishing to succeed in any profession irrespective of their background. Tunde was the first in his family to attend university and due to having to work whilst at university to support his family he did not do well academically. However, through his outstanding work and determination, not only did he qualify as a barrister and joined a renowned law chambers, but he was included in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2016 and was awarded an MBE for his services to the community and disadvantaged young people. Tunde is the founder of Urban Lawyers, an organisation that provides information to disaffected young people and communities. It also provides information and opportunities about how to secure work and/or experience in the legal profession. In addition to being awarded an Honorary Doctorate degree, Tunde is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Young Legal Barrister of the Year 2012 award. We are proud to have had Tunde as our speaker on the day.
14th June 2018
The Airspace Tribunal: towards a new human right to protect the freedom to exist without physical or psychological threat from above - by Professor Nick Grief and Shona Illingworth. 6.30pm at Doughty Street Chambers, 54 Doughty Street, London, WC1N 2LS
Synopsis: In a series of international public hearings beginning in London in September 2018, the Airspace Tribunal will consider the case for and against the recognition of a new human right to protect the freedom to exist without physical or psychological threat from above. Drawing on wide expertise and experience, it will engage the public in discussion, seeking to challenge the narrow terms by which airspace is currently represented and defined in law. Conceived by Grief and Illingworth, the Airspace Tribunal is part of and will inform the development of Topologies of Air, a major new body of art work by Illingworth, commissioned by The Wapping Project, that will be exhibited at The Power Plant, Toronto in 2020 and provide further opportunity for public debate. The London hearing of the Airspace Tribunal is supported by The Wapping Project and the University of Kent’s Public Engagement with Research Fund.
21 March 2018
BALA’s Annual General Meeting took place on 21 March 2018 from 6.30pm at the Kosovo Embassy, 8 John Street, London, WC1N 2EB. At this meeting, which was attended by BALA members, we presented the Chair's Annual Report and the Annual Accounts. We had a Question and Answer session at the end of the meeting during which our members asked questions about our work and future plans. We had some useful suggestions and ideas from the audience. We thank all who attended and also thank the Kosovo Embassy for hosting the meeting.
16 January 2018
The British-Albanian Lawyers Association celebrated its second anniversary. We were happy to celebrate another successful year as an organisation among our friends and supporters. We are proud to have worked and to continue to work with some of the most prominent professionals in the legal industry.
Venue: Andaz, Catch Bar Lounge, 40 Liverpool Street, London, EC2M 7QN
7th December 2017
‘Recent Legal Developments in Money Laundering and Confiscation’’
by Kieran Vaughan QC
Venue: Albanian Embassy, 33 St George's Dr, Westminster, London SW1V 4DG
Time: 18.30 - 19.30
BALA's last event for this year, we had a fascinating talk delivered by Kieran Vaughan QC, who is one of UK's best court advocates and who has been shortlisted for the Crime Silk of the Year 2017 Award. His talk focused on money laundering offences and confiscation. We had excellent questions at the end of the talk from lawyers and students. We were honoured by the presence of the Albanian Ambassador, who is one of BALA's patrons and who welcomed the audience. The Ambassador said that having originally trained and worked as a lawyer himself in Albania, the law remains his passion and that it was an honour to host the event for BALA. We also thank the Ambassador for his gifts to the BALA Committee, which are 2018 Diaries in honour of Albanian national hero Skenderbeu.
1st November 2017
'The importance of a good defence’
by His Honour Judge Michael Topolski QC
We were honoured to have His Honour Judge Michael Topolski QC as our speaker at the event. Fantastic talk on His Honour's experience as an advocate and some brilliant guidance given on what it means to have a good defence.
Venue: Kosovo Embassy, 8 John Street, London, WC1N 2EB
Time: 6.30pm - followed by a drinks reception.
5th July 2017
‘Qualifying as a lawyer in the UK’
Venue: Kosovo Embassy, 8 John Street, WC1N 2ES
Time: 18.30 - 19.30
It was a pleasure for the British-Albanian Lawyers Association to host a careers event for students and others interested in pursuing a career in law. In attendance were university and A-level students, lawyers qualified abroad, legal professionals working in London, parents of aspiring lawyers and others who were curious to find out more about working in the legal field. Our panel of barristers and solicitors spoke about their route to qualification and their current roles. They also shared their advice for aspiring lawyers. This was followed by a Question & Answer session and a drinks reception during which attendees were able to continue the discussion with the panellists. The attendees thanked us for organising the event and said that they found it insightful. We are happy to support future generations of lawyers and this is one of BALA's aims. We thank the Kosovo Embassy for hosting the event and for its hospitality.
18th January 2017
‘Developing International Humanitarian Law for Developing Post-Conflict States’
by Sir Geoffrey Nice QC
Venue: Kosovo Embassy, 8 John Street, WC1N 2ES
The British-Albanian Lawyers Association is honoured to have hosted at the Kosovo Embassy on 18 January 2017 a fascinating talk by the distinguished Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, who led the prosecution of Slobodan Milosevic in the Hague for atrocities committed during the war in Kosovo. Sir Geoffrey Nice QC spoke about the development of international law and international courts and their efficiency in achieving justice. One of the issues discussed was whether the lawyers working for the international courts are truly independent when carrying out their duties. The discussion also focused on how the rule of law functions in different countries.
16th January 2017
1st Anniversary Party
Venue: Koha Restaurant & Bar,10-11 St Martins Court, London,WC2N 4AJ.
BALA 1st Anniversary celebration
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 the Albanian Embassy’s post on the event here
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.
12th October 2016
Lecture on ECHR and Asylum
The British-Albanian Lawyers Association in collaboration with Doughty Street Chambers had the pleasure of organising ‘The ECHR and Asylum’ lecture presented by Judge Ledi Bianku and hosted by Judge Ann Power-Forde SC. Judge Bianku is Albania’s judge at the European Court of Human Rights. He practised as a lawyer in Tirana between 1994 and 2006, during which time he also lectured in law at the University of Tirana. He has held a number of advisory roles that include the OSCE Legal Counsellor in Albania, ad personam to the President of the Republic, President of the Parliament, Minister of Justice and the Minister of European Affairs from 2000 to 2007. In February 2008 Judge Bianku became the Albanian judge at the European Court of Human Rights.
Click here for pictures