Introduction of His Honour Judge John Toulmin

Text of the introduction of Judge John Toulmin CMG QC, made by Dr. Noronha, at the Universidade Autonoma de Lisboa, in Lisbon, portugal, on May 31, 2001.

Ladies and Gentleman,

It is a distinct pleasure to introduce His Honour Judge John Toulmin CMC QC who will shortly present us with his views on `The Reform to Judicial Procedures for the Efficient Resolution of Commercial Disputes`. In fact, the profile of the transnational resolution of disputes and litigation has been considerably expanded with the intensification of international economic relations resulting from trade liberalisation within the ambit of the multilateral forum of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The staggering increase in the number of regional trade pacts, now numbering not less than 170 agreements under the exception of article 24 of GATT 1947, has also contributed decisively to a much greater complexity of issues presented to the legal professions, in general, and before the sundry municipal Judiciary powers, in particular. In addition, the nature of the claims, reflecting a broader and denser social and economic universe, has become more challenging.

Accordingly, the legal professions and the Judiciary powers have had to react to such a situation, in order to present to the civil societies the administration of Justice that is the reason for their existence, as well as the indispensable foundation of the rule of law and democracy. This has proved to be a daunting challenge. Not only the legal professions are a bastion of conservatism, old habits die hard and abstention from controversial initiatives can be comfortable. Such accommodating deportment was ill received by public opinion in general and caused much discredit to the legal professions, with most unfortunate consequences to the administration of Justice and to the quality of the democracy that we all deserve. By the time of the creation of the WTO in 1995, changes in the Judiciary powers all over the world had become imperative.

This is where we come to His Honour John Toulmin CMG QC. A Patterson scholar at Cambridge and a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Michigan, Judge Toulmin was, at the beginning of his career, one of the most brilliant barristers practising international law. As such, he became a Queen`s Counsel at the early age of 39 and president of the Council of the European Bars in 1993. As such and before, as a member of the presidency of the European Bars, he was in most part responsible for this watershed mark in professional deontological rules, which was the Code of Conduct of the European Lawyers. This was followed by Judge Toulmin`s notable leadership in the creation of the framework of the EC Directive on the Establishment, another pioneer and relevant legacy for many future generations of lawyers. Although somewhat behind the scenes, he was also responsible for the very correct and honest approach taken by the European Communities during the Uruguay Round of the GATT in the liberalisation of the legal professions, making points by examples rather than by empty rhetoric.

To the great loss of the Bar, Judge Toulmin was recruited in 1997 as a Judge of the High Court of Justice, as part of the efforts to reform the English Judiciary and prepare it for the new challenging times. The choice could hardly have been better. In four years as a High Court Judge, he has specialised in commercial disputes, has revolutionised proceedings and has single-handedly beaten arbitration in time and cost efficiency. In addition to substance, he has become highly praised by solicitors and the Bar alike and had his decisions reviewed by major legal publications. Judge Toulim has become a necessary reference for national and international reform of the Judiciary.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am delighted to present His Honour John Toulmin CMG CC.