Changing of the Guard: New UNCCA Chair and Deputy Chair
The Hon Neil McKerracher and Dr Dalma Demeter have now concluded their respective terms as UNCCA Chair and Deputy Chair. UNCCA thanks them for their invaluable contributions to the organisation, which have moved UNCCA to new highs.
Below is a recap and update by Justice McKerracher, which UNCCA thanks his Honour for.
CHANGING OF THE GUARD
As the completion of my three year term has arrived and as Deputy Chair, Dr Dalma Demeter has also retired from that office, it is an appropriate time to introduce the new Chair the Hon Justice Brigitte Markovic and the new Deputy Chair Dr Jessica Viven-Wilksch.
It is also a convenient time to review what has happened in recent years with UNCCA and to reveal some plans for the future in which both the incoming Chair and Deputy Chair have participated.
Justice Markovic practised in corporations, insolvency, commercial and administrative law and is well known and respected from her work as a judge of the Federal Court of Australia.
Jessica’s studies and academic journey show her interest for commercial, international and comparative laws. In her PhD, Jessica wrote on the state of Good faith in Australia and in the European Union. One of her articles was recently cited by the South African Constitutional Court in their long-awaited decision on good faith in contract law.
Jessica began her law studies in 2002 at the University Toulouse I, France and completed her Licence through a year exchange program in UCD Dublin, Ireland. She completed a Master Degree in Comparative Law in 2007 in Germany and Australia before graduating with a Master in International and Comparative Law in France in 2008. Jessica has also worked as a legal researcher for companies and law firms, including a multinational company based in Adelaide.
She started working as a lecturer at Flinders law School before accepting a permanent full-time position as a lecturer at Adelaide Law School where she has been working since September 2015. In this role, she has distinguished herself by demonstrating collegiality, management and leadership skills.
UNCCA is also pleased to welcome to its executive, Dr Robert Walters Lecturer Law, Victoria University, Melbourne and Adjunct Professor, European faculty of Law in Slovenia, Europe. Dr Walters has had wide experience with UNCITRAL topics and has published extensively.
Jessica and Robert are most welcome additions.
It is a convenient time to bring members up to speed with what has happened over the last 3 years or so and what the future hopefully holds.
Tim Castle, the founding Chair and still very actively involved, often speaks of these time capsules as UNCCA 1.0 while he chaired, UNCCA 2.0 during my period and UNCCA 3.0 in the 3 exciting years to come. His ongoing contributions have been invaluable.
I also cannot say enough about the tireless and boundless work of Dr Dalma Demeter whose service to UNCCA as Deputy Chair has been enormously valuable.
REPORT ON STRATEGIC PLAN OUTCOMES (2017-2020)
The MOU with the University of Canberra had a fruitful three year run between 2017-2020, with UC providing admin support and hosting the May Seminar for 2018 and 2019. Our links to Canberra and the Attorney General’s Department, and DFAT both involved in the creation first, and then secondly the implementation of, international instruments in the domestic sphere are essential to the effective work of UNCCA.
The size of the Executive Committee expanded to spread the load on the managing directors providing voluntary contribution to the daily management of UNCCA. In particular, the Media and Communication portfolio has two additional admin support personnel assisting the Director Jag Sandhu who has done amazing work with the web page https://www.uncca.org/ and the newsletter.
With the termination of the MOU with the University of Canberra and the move of the Executive Office off the UC campus, admin support was procured through casual paid service.
The UNCITRAL Delegates program was also extended. Director Dr Anne Matthew undertook handling the appointment of lead delegates to assist Director Dr Alan Davidson who has been successfully managing the UNLAWS student program for years.
There was a temporary inclusion of a new position focussing on expanding membership and attracting sponsor/corporate members, but that initiative was put on hold with the unavailability of its initial holder.
A new deputy treasurer and a new secretary now ensure the smooth operations of UNCCA.
UNCCA members are legal practitioners, academics, members of the judiciary, and students, in two main categories of membership: fellows and associate members.
Our membership has remained relatively constant at about 42 members have their membership paid for 2020, with new members joining each year with UNCCA’s events to take the place of those who attended in prior years. With the new website, UNCCA looks forward to achieving greater retention year on year.
Similarly, proposals were made for establishing corporate membership categories for supporter or sponsor organisations and law firms, all of which were put on hold due to the inability to organise face-to-face events during the pandemic.
We engaged however with our members through live and recorded events, group emails distributing the UNCCA Newsletter and inviting expressions of interest to attend UNCITRAL WG Sessions, and by providing substantive content relevant to UNCITRAL fields of law through the UNCCA website.
Our external stakeholders have included
· UNCITRAL and UNCITRAL RCAP
· Law Asia
· The legal academic community
· The legal profession
· The judiciary
We have engaged with external stakeholders by providing them with the UNCCA Newsletter, inviting them to participate in UNCCA events, sending delegates to the UNCITRAL WG sessions, and connecting through social media portals.