The College set a precedent for other common law notariats to follow when it held its annual Conference in Bologna, Italy on 1, 2 and 3 September 2011.
From the formal Conference Opening in Bologna’s magnificent Stabat Mater hall, to the working sessions conducted at the five star Grand Hotel Majestic, to the Conference Dinner held in the Palazzo Fava, the Conference has been praised by delegates and guests alike as an unforgettable event and an outstanding succes.
In his speech of welcome, Conference Chairman Professor Peter Zablud expressed the feelings of everybody present at the Stabat Mater, when he said:
‘This is not just a conference. This is a privilege. It is a privilege for each and every one of us to meet together in this magnificent location within the precincts of the oldest University in Europe - in the very birthplace of the modern notariat.’
Notaries from British Columbia, England, Germany, Hong Kong and Portugal joined the members of the College, who had travelled to Italy from Australia and New Zealand. In all, 95 delegates and guests attended the Conference.
The College was honoured by the presence of the Deputy Secretary General of the Hague Conference on Private International Law, Dr. Christophe Bernasconi FANZCN (Hon), the new CCNI President, Mr. Michel Merlotti, the President of the World Organisation of Notaries, Mr. Ken Sherk and Professor Pietro Zanelli, representing the Council of Notaries of Bologna, all of whom addressed the Conference.
Working sessions took place at the Grand Hotel Majestic conference facility, directed to the theme “Towards a Closer Understanding”. Eighteen presentations were delivered by a group of prominent speakers drawn from both common law and civil law jurisdictions.
Throughout the sessions, it became increasingly apparent that the longstanding antipathy between many civil law and common law notaries is not only ill-founded and counter-productive, but is largely based upon a lack of knowledge by each tradition of the qualifications, functions and skills of the other.
Most delegates came away from the conference convinced that as between common law and civil law notaries, there are in fact, far many more things in common than had previously been supposed.
The social highlight of the Conference was undoubtedly the “black tie” dinner held at Bologna’s recently renovated Palazzo Fava - now a museum and art gallery.
The former Deputy Prime Minister of Australia and now Ambassador to the Holy See, the Hon. Tim Fischer AC was the guest of honour and guest speaker at the Dinner. Against a stunning background of paintings and sculptures, his Excellency captivated the Dinner guests with his wit and charm. His Excellency has graciously agreed to accept an Honorary Fellowship of the College on completion of his tour of duty on Australia Day 2012.
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