Aims and Objectives

The Aims and Objectives of the network are:

1. For members to be referred foreign commercial clients who wish to do business in their countries.

2. For members to keep existing commercial clients who need overseas referrals and who will go elsewhere if this resource is not provided.

3. To market member firms as having international commercial expertise and/or international connections.

4. For members to win new commercial clients who seek overseas referrals because the clients´ own lawyers do not have access to such international resources.

5. For members to be able to find out easily about local laws and trading practices abroad.

6. For members to exchange information about developments in areas of the law with cross-border interest ie trade, joint ventures, corporate acquisitions and investments.

7. For members to facilitate trainee exchange schemes.

8. For members to embrace the use of modern technology as a means of communication between members and the wider international business community and for member firms to demonstrate a strong web presence with their own website.

9. For members to meet the LAWorld Code of Practice established by the membership.

10. For members to be part of Regional Desks within LAWorld. There are regional desks in Europe/Middle East, North/Latin America and Asia Pacific. Regional meetings take place regularly and within the Annual Conference.  Reports of meetings are circulated to all members.  These events encourage stronger friendships and collaboration between firms.  

Eligibility for membership

11. Any firm of qualified lawyers anywhere in the world can apply for membership if it meets the membership criteria and there is a vacancy for that location/jurisdiction. LAWorld will accept membership of more than one firm from any one location/jurisdiction, where the LAWorld Committee believes that geographic or population factors would accommodate more than one member, or where existing members are or have become specialised, in which case complementary members may be invited to join.

12. Those who join this network commit themselves to take advantage of internet based technology and use it to improve communication with other members, actual or potential clients and other introductory sources.

Developing the network

The network will endeavour to create awareness amongst all members of other members´ areas of expertise. The nature of such programs will be determined by the members from time to time but include:

13. An Annual Conference, to which all members are expected to attend. This event is held every year in a different part of the world on a rotational basis ie Europe, Asia/Pacific, North and Latin Americas. The 2009 Conference was held in Miami, 2010 Moscow, 2011 Beijing, 2012 Rio de Janeiro, 2013 Zurich and 2014 will be held in Hong Kong.

14. Networking opportunities with other professionals around the world.

15. A web page on the internet within the LAWorld website ( for each member firm - available for access by all members and prospective clients and linked to members´ own websites.

16. Inclusion within the LAWorld entry in Martindale-Hubbell International Law Directory.

17. LAWorld will support the host firm to organise a business meeting with local referrers and potential clients during Conference, to allow members to meet and mix with potential international referrers and future clients. Invitees may include Trade Organisations/Chamber of Commerce/Enterprise Agency representatives and members, Foreign Embassies representatives etc.  

18. Membership Bulletins can be produced by the Executive Office to provide member information to other members (including client activities and business opportunities). 

19. To coincide with IBA Conferences, LAWorld members can be assisted by the Executive Office to arrange meetings with regional trade associations, chambers of commerce etc whose members may be interested in doing business via the LAWorld member firm.

20. Unique amongst international legal networks, LAWorld members have access to legal and commercial opportunities throughout China, through our associate group of 28 Chinese law firms which cover the country ( 

21. A client newsletter, with common international legal news, may be distributed from time to time so that members have a marketing tool to distribute to clients and contacts promoting their extensive international legal credentials.

22. A LAWorld Corporate brochure for clients and introducers will be produced centrally from time to time. 


23. Each member shall pay the annual membership fee of USD 2,500 

24. A once only joining fee of USD 500 will be paid to contribute towards the expenses associated with a new firm joining our network.

25. The network is an informal association, ie an International Economic Interest Grouping.

26. Members do not normally specialise in just one area of law but rather provide a full range of legal commercial services in order to broadly satisfy clients´ needs.


 27. Members of the Committee are appointed at the annual conference to run the affairs of the network.  A Chair is elected for a term of 2 years. Within the Committee there is a Regional Director for Europe, North and Latin America and Asia/Pacific, all of whom are unpaid.  The Committee has appointed an Executive Director who is responsible for the day-to-day activities and promoting the network.


LAWorld News


The EU court of Justice has ruled that the Spanish method of compensation for private copying, funded by the general budget, is contrary to EU law because it is not capable of guaranteeing that the cost of fair compensation is borne by the users of the copies.

Jose A. Suarez, senior partner in LAWorld’s Madrid member firm of Suarez de la Dehesa,was recently lead  counsel for the plaintiffs in a very significant case concerning the harmonization of Spanish copyright law with European Union copyright law.  The case, No. C-470/14, styled Entidad de Gestion de Derechos de los Productores Audiovisuales v Administración del Estado in the EU Court of Justice (“EUCJ”) is a significant upheaval to Spain and potentially to other EU members that are struggling with the issue of how to provide for fair compensation for non-commercial, private use of copyrighted materials.  

Most EU member states have implemented a system based on a private copying levy, which is, in broad terms, a charge on media and/or devices that enable the person who acquires them to make private copies. The amount collected by this way is usually distributed later among the right holders by the copyright collecting societies.

That system was in force in Spain from 1987 to 2011. Manufacturers, suppliers, importers, exporters and distributors of the devices and recording media paid the private copying levy, and afterwards were allowed to pass on the payment to consumers, who were the true debtors of the private copy compensation.

In December 2011 the Spanish Government approved a new compensation scheme by which the private copy compensation would be funded from the state budget and according to an allocation previously made, provided funding was available.  This meant not only that everyone in Spain, individuals and corporations alike, had to pay the compensation, but also that it would be the State who would determine the quantum of its own debt to the right holders.  How does that scheme mesh with EU Article 5.2.b)?  Not very well, it appears. 

Article 5.2b) allows Member States to establish an exception to the exclusive reproduction right that the article 2 grants to authors and producers in case of reproduction made by a natural person, by any means, and only for private and non-commercial use. Article 5.2.b) conditions the establishment of such exception by mandating that right holders receive fair compensation for those type of reproductions. The applicable directive further provides that moral persons are excluded from such benefit and, therefore, should not pay it.

On January 2013, several Intellectual Property Rights Management Societies requested the Spanish Supreme Court to repeal the aforementioned rule. The legal ground for that claim was that the plaintiffs considered the new Spanish system to be in conflict with article 5.2.b) of the Directive, as interpreted by the EUCJ.

On September 2014 the Spanish Supreme Court sent to the EUCJ two preliminary questions:

“1.- Is a scheme for fair compensation for private copying compatible with Article 5.2.b of Directive 2001/29 where the scheme, while taking as a basis an estimate of the harm actually caused, is financed from the General State Budget, it thus not being possible to ensure that the cost of that compensation is borne by the users of private copies?

2.- If the first question is answered in the affirmative, is the scheme compatible with Article 5.2.b of Directive 2001/29 where the total amount allocated by the General State Budget to fair compensation for private copying, although it is calculated on the basis of the harm actually caused, has to be set within the budgetary limits established for each financial year?”

On 9th June 2016, the EUCJ answered the first question in the negative by holding that the current Spanish private copy exception system is contrary to article 5.2.b) of Directive 2001/29/EC. The opinion states:

article 5.2.b) must be interpreted as precluding a scheme for fair compensation for private copying which, like the one at issue in the main proceedings, is financed from the General State Budget in such a way that it is not possible to ensure that the cost of that compensation is borne by the users of private copies.”

The EUCJ ruling did not state that compensation cannot be paid from public funds, what it found objectionable was that moral persons (as, i.e., businesses) which cannot benefit from the exception must also pay for it. And to that extent, in obiter dictum, the court suggest that per person tax might be acceptable. But would it be workable? A special tax to collect an average of €1 to €2 per citizen is an extremely inefficient means of paying for private, non-commercial copyright usage.  You still must determine how you calculate actual harm from such copying, and who gets to do so?

The majority of EU countries have payment systems that use a levy paid by commercial intermediaries.  Those remain compliant.  But not all do so.  The effect of the Court ruling is unsettling to nation states that desire to solve this problem in alternative ways, whether for political, cultural or historical reasons.  For them, as in Spain, it is back to the drawing board. 

Blanca López de la Osa.

Associate Lawyer

Suarez de la Dehesa Abogados

 28003 Madrid, Spain  T: +(34) 91 559 59 99

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