Spare a thought for Obiter’s colleague John Hyde who, thanks to the wonders of the internet, kept up a live blog of the IBA conference (almost) round the clock. At one stage we detected a plaintive note when he posted that the conference delegates had headed off to the bars, leaving only journalists and cleaners at work in the conference centre. However, Obiter suspects he did manage to get out eventually, judging by his account of watching the Boston Red Sox’s defeat by the Tampa Bay Rays on licensed premises.

‘I made a faux pas with one barman who couldn’t believe what had happened by asking: “Was that home run important then?” I’m pretty sure he didn’t top up my next beer deliberately.’

Apparently conversation then turned to safer ground: ‘Once the shock of that wore off, much of the chat was based on alternative business structures. The Australian contingent was surrounded for most of the night by people asking how it works and what the pitfalls were of liberalising their legal profession. Strewth mate, not exactly pub conversation.’

Obiter’s colleague was not the only one to make a cultural blunder. An 8am seminar run jointly by the Law Society and the Danish Bar, was graced with a contribution from the president of the Law Society of Scotland, splendid in national dress with kilt, sporran and sgian dubh. The Danish chair thanked him for speaking – and said it was good to have someone from Ireland taking part.