UIA Members | 04.11.2022

Spanish lawyer, Urquiola De Palacio, is the new UIA President

Urquiola De Palacio officially took office at the closing ceremony of the Association's 66th Annual Congress on October 29 in Dakar, succeeding Hervé Chemouli.

A UIA member since 2011, Urquiola De Palacio Del Valle De Lersundi has been a practicing attorney since 1992 and is an Associate Director with the firm, Palacio y Asociados, Abogados.

She specializes in civil, business, European and international law. She is a mediator in civil and commercial law and has been an arbitrator since 2003. She has been the President of the Madrid Court of Arbitration and the Madrid Business Mediation Center since September 2019, and is a member of the Madrid Community Bar Council. In addition, since October 2019, she has been Vice President of Madrid's International Arbitration Center.

Before assuming the Presidency of UIA, Urquiola De Palacio was an active member of the association, successively holding the positions of Advisor to the President; Deputy Director, Co-Director and Director - Independence of the Profession; and President of the Future of the Lawyer Commission. She has been a member of the Executive Committee and the Governing Board since 2012. Urquiola de Palacio was also closely involved in organizing UIA’s 2021 Annual Congress in Madrid, as well as several seminars.

Furthermore, she represents the UIA at the World Bank and the Global Forum on Law, Justice, and Development (GFLJD).

In her speech at the 2022 Annual Congress, Urquiola De Palacio made several observations about the Association’s future, as well the legal profession and the professional challenges lawyers face. Urquiola De Palacio reiterated her intent to continue the work carried out by the Association during the pandemic, taking advantage of the dynamism and adaptability demonstrated by the UIA over this period. She intends to focus on face-to-face gatherings as a priority, in order to ensure the visibility and cohesion of the Association.

"We must strengthen our associative base by continuing the actions carried out during Hervé Chemouli's term in office and focus on new memberships, in particular by developing UIA's presence on all continents."

Beyond these commitments, Urquiola De Palacio intends to continue to support UIA-IROL's actions and the defense of the rule of law, the independence of the profession and, particularly, the defense of the right of defense itself – in other words, the protection of lawyers.

In this area, UIA-IROL needs to strengthen its presence and collaboration with the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers of the United Nations. This is particularly important after the recent publication of a report published under the UN's mandate highlighting the general deterioration of the guarantees of professional practice. Urquiola De Palacio wishes to support and disseminate the Council of Europe's work, in which the UIA is participating, towards the development of a binding international instrument, establishing standards guaranteeing the conditions of legal professional practice. The objective of this instrument is to establish European standards, but also to promote similar initiatives in other regions and countries.

Finally, Urquiola De Palacio pledges to continue and intensify the UIA's collaboration with Ukraine, and Ukrainian colleagues in particular. This collaboration will be strengthened through direct actions by the UIA and by channeling the initiatives by the Association's members, or by participating in projects with other institutions and organizations.

An example of these projects is the "Project Sunflowers" initiative developed by the Warsaw Bar Association, whose goal is to develop channels of communication and facilitate means of providing support for gathering information on crimes against humanity committed in Ukraine in order to facilitate action by the International Criminal Court.