“The annual Legal Sunday Service also took place on 11 June at which I was represented by Stephen Mahoney, Vice President. Our European colleagues at the FBE were certainly really looking forward to the event.
We hosted 20 guests from Bilbao and Logrono, Cork, Erlangen, Gdańsk, The Hague, Leiden, Leuven, Rotterdam and Verona Bar Associations plus Professor Sara Chandler QC (Hon), the President of the Federation of European Bars and her husband José. Six of those attending had not taken part in the Legal Sunday procession and service before, so it was nice to welcome new blood.
After a relaxed and very sociable dinner at Rendez-Vous in Southernhay on Saturday evening, the procession, led by the High Sheriff of Devon, Heleen Lindsay-Fynn, made its way for the first time from Rougemont Castle to Exeter Cathedral.
After the service, there was a well-attended lunch back at the Castle at which The Honourable Mr. Justice Dingemans spoke formally to welcome our Bar Association guests.
It was an indication of the success of the lunch that so many stayed two hours or more to chat as well as eat and drink. It is clear the ceremony and grandeur of Legal Service Sunday is something of a novelty to our European friends and an event they thoroughly enjoy.
Acquaintances with several of those who were in Exeter that weekend were quickly renewed as Bilbao Bar Association hosted the Twin Bars Annual Meeting on Friday 16th June, which dovetailed neatly with its Annual Bar Association lunch.
Vice President Stephen Mahoney, Chair of the International Relations Sub-Committee, Emma Mitcham, and Law Society Council Member Rod Mole represented DASLS and were the fortunate recipients of some truly memorable hospitality from Ignacio Delgado (Vice President of the International Relations Commission), Nazario de Oleaga (Past President of the Federation of European Bars) and Javier Diago Elorduy (FBE Honorary Secretary General and Member of Bilbao Bar) and their colleagues.
On the Friday morning, presentations were made by representatives from Verona, Rennes, Erlangen, Leuven, Gdańsk, Bilbao Bar Associations and by Emma and Steve on behalf of DASLS on a case study set by the hosts around the subject of the abolition of roaming charges for mobile phones. The presentations by some of the Bars were impressively thorough on both EU Law and that applicable to their own jurisdictions.
The DASLS presentation was undoubtedly the briefest but seemed to go down well as it got some laughs and escaped any tricky follow-up questions.
The Bar Association lunch lasted late into Friday night, to be followed on Saturday morning by a boat trip along the Ria de Bilbao, another leisurely lunch hosted by the Bar Association President Carlos and his wife and then dinner at the Sociedad Bilbaina (a venue based upon an English Gentleman’s Club of the 19th Century) at which Bilbao was formally accepted as a member of the Twin Bars Association.
For those with any stamina left around Midnight, Bilbao itself was awash with the White Night Celebrations, commemorating the signing of the municipal Charter in June 1300 which led to the founding of the City.
On Sunday, there was time to visit the Catedral de Santiago to watch the post service Corpus Christie procession and a final dose of Basque hospitality with a visit to one of the numerous bars for pintxos and drinks before taxis to the airport.”
Stephen has also now been appointed Vice President of the South West Law Societies, becoming President in June 2018.
Photo shows Stephen Mahoney, Sue Aggett and Nigel Lyons.