Report from IALL in India
by Roy Sturgeon
IALL Opening Ceremony. Photo by Roy Sturgeon
The International Association of Law Libraries' (IALL) 26th Annual Course in International Law Librarianship took place in December from Dec. 1-5, 2007, at the National Centre for Performing Arts in Mumbai, India. Approximately 80 delegates representing 20 nations and five continents attended.
During the conference, lectures by judges, lawyers, and legal experts elucidated India's legal system and ever-increasing role in globalization. The Honorable Dr. Justice Y.V. Chandrachud, former Chief Justice of India, inaugurated the conference on the first evening and gave the presidential address. On day two the Honorable Mr. Justice B.N. Srikrishna, a retired judge of the Indian Supreme Court, spoke about the legal system. He was followed by Dr. Chandra Krishnamurthy, Vice Chancellor of S.N.D.T. Women's University, who spoke about legal education and the legal profession. She was followed by Ms. Flavia Agnes, an activist and Bombay (Mumbai) High Court Advocate, who spoke about women's rights and legislative reforms. After lunch, Mr. Talwant Singh spoke about the Indian Legal Information Institute (INDLII), of which he is the General Secretary, and Dr. Rakesh Kumar Srivastava, Chief Librarian of the Indian Supreme Court, spoke about court libraries.
Mr. Surrendra Malik, Chief Editor of Supreme Court Cases, started day three by speaking about legal literature. Afterward, the Honorable Dr. Justice S. Radhakrishnan, Bombay High Court Judge, spoke about the development of human rights, and his high court colleague, the Honorable Dr. Justice D.Y. Chandrachud (son of the former Indian Chief Justice), spoke about constitutional and administrative law.
Day four featured talks by Dr. V.V. Tulzapurkar, Bombay High Court Senior Counsel, about intellectual property law and technology transfer; Mr. Shiraz Rustomjee, Bombay High Court Advocate, about global environmental law and India; Mr. Nishith Desai, international legal and tax expert, about India's perspective on international trade law; and Mr. Paven Duggal, Indian Supreme Court Advocate, about the legal issues of outsourcing. Day five of the conference was set aside solely for sightseeing.
I enjoyed listening to all of the speakers and learned much about the Indian legal system. In addition, I enjoyed meeting fellow law librarians from all over the world. I have already e-mailed some of them for research help, and vice versa. As a new foreign and international law librarian, I was fortunate to have been able to attend the conference--my first-ever IALL conference. I hope it was just the first of what will be many more to come. I also hope to return to India someday because five days in Mumbai, two in Delhi, and one in Agra was far too short a time to fully experience such a fascinating country.