Roca Junyent awards its First Law and Society Award to Judge Thomas Buergenthal of the International Court of Justice
16 December, 2014
At an event held at Barcelona’s Town Hall, the firm also presented the winners of the First Roca Junyent Social Responsibility in the Law Awards, recognising outstanding work by secondary school students on the values of the law.
On Saturday, Roca Junyent awarded its first Law and Society Awards as part of its Social Responsibility in the Law Plan, which aims to bring it closer to the social and economic reality of the country, and to give back to society some of what it gives to the firm. The ceremony took place in the Saló de Cent at Barcelona Town Hall, led by the Mayor, Xavier Trias, and the Head of Welfare and Family Affairs, Neus Munté. The event was also attended by Miguel Ángel Gimeno, President of the High Court of Justice of Catalonia; Pablo Llarena, President of the Court of Barcelona; Lluís Martínez Sistach, Archbishop-Cardinal of Barcelona; Miquel Roca, Chairman of Roca Junyent; and Joan Roca, Vice-chairman of the firm.
The first Law and Society Award went to Thomas Buergenthal, a judge at the International Court of Justice, for his outstanding work to promote human rights. After receiving the award from Miquel Roca, Mr Buergenthal explained his vision of the law as: “a profession that is not about winning cases, but about promoting tolerance, respect and the Rule of Law”. In his speech, the judge asked “what would happen if countries gave greater recognition to people who fight intolerance and promote human rights rather than their military heroes?”, arguing for the need to create regional international courts. Mr Buergenthal finished by discussing some of the many international conflicts currently threatening Human Rights, lamenting the situation in Africa as a result of the Ebola epidemic, where “countries have not been as committed as they should have been”.
The event also featured the First Roca Junyent Social Responsibility in the Law Competition Awards, recognising the outstanding work of secondary school students on the values of the law. Members of the Roca Junyent team gave classes on the value of the law in schools in April and June, as part of a project to interest secondary-school students in the importance of human rights, respect, tolerance and living in harmony, in a world where structures and institutions are shaking.
Roca Junyent Vice-chairman Joan Roca explained that these first awards sought “to bring together two initially distinct realities: those of secondary-school students who are just starting to discover the value of law and that of a leading judge, an example to us all of using the law to defend human rights”.
The jury awarded the first prize in the Roca Junyent Social Responsibility in the the Law Competition to the “Legal implications in the film Sophie Scholl”, prepared by the students at Bell-Lloc school in Girona. Second place went to a reflection on the right to intimacy and privacy by a student at the Bambini-Montjuïc school in Girona, whilst the third prize went to three students at the Virolai School in Barcelona, who considered the recently withdrawn abortion law.
Barcelona Mayor Xavier Trias closed the award ceremony, by “celebrating this Roca Junyent initiative and highlighting the importance of interesting society – particularly our young people – in the fundamental importance of the law”.
The event was attended by the Director of the Judicial College, Gema Espinosa; the Chairman of the Bar Association of Catalonia, Abel Píe; and the Chairman of the Catalonia College of Notaries, Joan Carles Ollé.
About Roca Junyent
Roca Junyent is one of Spain’s leading law firms. It employs over 230 professionals and operates both in Spain and abroad through its offices in Barcelona, Madrid, Palma de Mallorca, Lleida, Girona and Shanghai and through partnerships with top-tier law firms outside Spain. The firm and several of its fee earners have been singled out by the most prestigious legal publications, including Chambers, Legal 500 and Best Lawyer International.