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DR. ROKUICHIRO MASUJIMA,
OF TOKYO, JAPAN.
Mr. President and my learned friends of the American Bar Association:
I beg to tender thanks to the American Bar Association, on behalf of the International Bar Association, for the invitation so cordially extended to take part in this annual meeting. It is a singularly pleasing honour, because I understand your invitation to other bar associations has not often gone beyond your friends to the north, and the precedent you now create in sending an invitation across the Pacific Ocean is a good omen for the future of the International Bar Association, for which we thank you.
I should say, further, that personally it deeply gratifies me to be so fortunate as to represent the International Bar Association as President this year, and so to be favoured with such a unique opportunity as the present, actually to stand before you as an Oriental missionary, and advocate of the peace of the world, in accordance with the aspiration of the International Bar Association, which also I take it is the true spirit of the common law.
I hope to be able to submit to you some ideas as to the importance and possibilities of the International Bar Association, and I shall try to indicate how it may help to advance the peace and progress of the world.
I should first explain the circumstances under which the International Bar Association was formed. It was first suggested by the Philippine Bar Association at its annual meeting in 1919, but nothing was proposed beyond the organization of an Oriental Bar Association. It came eventually, however, in view of the exigencies of the times to assume its present all-embracing name and character as resolved upon at the inauguration meeting held last year in Japan. Thus the International Bar Association was born with great ambitions in that corner of the old world where
the notion of a bar association is not so well understood, as in this much developed part of the new world, and more particularly where it is not so thoroughly appreciated as among the present audience.
The broad object of the Association as stated in the constitution is: “ To promote justice by the co-operation of the members of the Bar throughout the world.” This clause is concise, yet comprehensive enough to cover such aims as may be cherished for the purpose of advancing the interests of the Association, whose ultimate aspiration it is to attain the permanent peace of the world by the power of a commonly accepted standard of justice.
The membership is intended to include all National Bar ciations, Occidental and Oriental. All members are equal and no difference is made by reason of size, each member-association having only one vote. The member-associations are absolutely independent of the central association, individual members themselves being in fact also members of the Association. These individual members are so qualified, because they belong to. member-associations, which hold and retain full powers over them. The International Bar Association has no direct authority over these individual members except while sitting in general meeting. Member-associations are expected to choose only those of their members to join the Association whom they can recommend, knowing their integrity and other qualifications such as should be possessed by all members of the modern Bar.
The constitution speaks of National Bar Associations. This has already become the subject of some correspondence. To be practical, the word “National ” should be interpreted to mean “Local” in an extended sense, and applied agreeably to circumstances in each case. Some of the United States may not have their state bar association, for instance, the State of Delaware has county bar associations only. There is no reason why we should not have these county associations as members of our Association, and we desire to have them.
The field of the Association is world-wide. Its dominion is so extensive because its aim and work are concerned for the peace of the whole world. The Association has no local home, hence no domicile; its seat is migratory, being shifted from year to year
to different countries where its general meeting may be held, as is quite natural when we consider the character of its work. In these days of rapid transit and quick communications there is no real obstacle in distance. The exchange of visits made annually between the headquarters of the different member-associations will assist in attaining the aim of the International Bar Association, by virtue of mutual knowledge and information which will be gained by individual members as they meet their colleagues from different parts of the world.
The dominating character of the Association is democratic, yet its government is not absolutely political; but consensual, as bound together by the free will of its individual members, associated for one common, grand purpose—to build up an international standard of justice. It has no selfish interests of its own or for its members collectively, as has a political association. Its one interest is the advancement of human justice. It looks to the general good of mankind and the broad interests of the whole human race. It is not a political organ, nor an emissary of governments. It is not a law association or academy whose aim and work are generally scholastic. It is a legal entity in the broadest sense, with “the Supremacy of Law” for its battle cry! The Association aims to be a guardian of justice, as manifested in that legal embodiment of reason which is called “International Law.” This we intend it shall be, in the new and most advanced form of that science, so that more reality and authority will be instilled into it and a deeper sense of obligation impressed into the minds of nations. It aspires to make international justice more certain and international peace more secure. Hereafter, we cannot doubt that those large bodies and successive generations of officials or politicians designated by the high sounding title of statesmen, will, in the interest of peace and human happiness, be replaced in international affairs by representative members of the legal profession, a state of things that will be the natural result of the complete development of the International Bar Association. Those lawyers who are to be enrolled as supporters of the Association, are to be men of legal mind and independent position. They are to be learned and experienced in the affairs of man and engaged in the work of that most supreme of human
institutions, the administration of justice. The sense of justice will be their proud possession. Their noble and elevated morals, uplifted as the result of legal training, acquired after years of practice spent in ascertaining the truth of facts to be tested by the law—will guide them in measuring the real standard of justice. Their sound judgment and their initiative and administrative capacity will most aptly fit them to conduct and assist in the advancement of universal affairs and interests of humanity as regulated by the international standard of justice.
All the members of the Bar of the world have reasonable confidence in one another because they know each other to be by virtue of their profession broad-minded and capable of allaying the suspicions, correcting the misunderstandings and enlightening the ignorance and darkness of nations as they daily do in the case of individuals and corporations. They are one in mind, although of different jurisdictions. They are best qualified to render disinterested service in a world of strife and distrust, establishing mutual knowledge and good-will among nations. The decision of the Bar is not a mere political opinion or theoretical doctrine, nor is it the result of impulse or prejudice, but of calm, impartial, dignified, disinterested consideration. No difference in race, language, religion, or other condition of life among nations is an impediment to lawyers in their reaching an unimpeachable judgment. No other body of men is so well qualified by education, culture and experience to act as mediators or peacemakers.
The field to be explored by the Association for the purposes of its work should cover all those parts of the globe where modern governments with the necessary system of judicial administration exist. These are parts of Europe, of the North and South American Continents, of Asia, of Africa and of Australia. The Association should inquire what sort of jurisprudence has grown up in these states which meets the purpose of judicial administration, and whether there exists in each case such an institution as a bar association which maintains its validity and independence.
The civilization of the world, ancient and modern, has as yet seen only two systems of jurisprudence, the civil law and the common law. Each of these systems has in its own way determined the political fortunes of the people which has adopted it.
The civil law field cannot furnish a ready soil for planting such a democratic institution as the Bar Association. The civil law or Continental system is the foundation of the legal institutions of European nations and those which have ramified to other parts of the world. The Roman law, which is the origin of this continental system, is, historically speaking, now dead, having been arrested in its progress with its conversion into the Corpus Juris Civilis. Such a codification is always fatal to the growing life of juri sprudence.
The civil law ended not as jurisprudence, but as the source of rules and doctrines of royal prerogatives and privileges, and it has since remained stationary. It never enjoyed the happiness of experiencing what should have been its natural development. The consequences are lamentable. Under it there has not grown up that body of lawyers, which develops the integrity of the Bar and supports the independence of the Bench. They are not the guardians of law and justice. They are servile to the system itself, and tied down to rules prescribed to be applied in mechanical fashion.
The division between legislative and executive functions with them is scarcely defined. Politicians went on dreaming of Roman Imperialism, intoxicated with their desire for power, and organized the judicial system as a political machine. The people became subject slaves of arbitrary power protected by rules, and never did, and do not yet, enjoy justice. No nation so placed can advance in political principles, and there cannot be developed the democratic ideas, which should, if development were left undisturbed, be the ultimate goal of juristic progress. Under such conditions we could expect to see no just and equal laws; no scientific method of cultivating jurisprudence; no supremacy of law; no judicial precedent; no contentious procedure; no rules of pleading or of evidence; no principles of equity; no rational mode of legal thinking; no regular manner of deciding disputes ; no controlling power of the constitution over legislation; no supreme authority of the judiciary over unconstitutional executive actions; no truth and justice; no ordered freedom and constitutional liberty where officialism and officialdom are the order of the day; because these grand principles or institutions are