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Hong Kong – HKIAC ADR In Asia Conference – Event Recap.

12 November, 2012

 

Hong Kong: The New World Leader In International Arbitration.

 

The Hong Kong international arbitration centre launched its new premises on the evening of 17th October 2012, the third day of the inaugural Hong Kong arbitration week. The HKIAC has made its intentions clear: that it is a world leader for international arbitration and it intends to remain that way.

 

The ADR in Asia conference held at the Four Seasons Hotel on 17th October 2012 began with a round table debate on the subject of third party funding, who holds the purse strings in arbitration and how that affects the arbitral process. The discussion was moderated by Denis Brock of King & Wood Mallesons with panelists Jean Engelmayer Kalicki of Arnold & Porter LLP, Bronwyn Lincoln of Herbert Smith Freehills, Michael Napier CBE QC of Harbour Litigation Funding, James Searby of FTI Consulting and Mick Smith of Calunius Capital. 


The panel agreed that third-party funding should not be disclosed to arbitrators. This consensus provoked more than one member of the audience to voice their disagreement.

Next on the agenda was discussion about the arbitration agreement, drafting advice and whether there is freedom of contract in Asia. The discussion was moderated by Paul Mitchard QC of Skadden, Arps, Meagher & Flom with panelists Craig Celniker of Morrison & Foerster, Shreyas Jayasimha of AZB & Partners, James Kwan of Baker & McKenzie and Lucy Reed of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

Panellists gave advice to the audience on how to effectively draft arbitration clauses to ensure enforceability. A warning was issued by Celniker about drafting arbitration clauses: “If you make your clauses too complicated you can create problems rather than resolve them.”

The next discussion was on who should have control of appointing the arbitrator. Here, the panel consisted of Peter Chow of Squire Sanders, Benjamin Miao of Fangda Partners, John Rhie of Kim & Chang, Kathryn Sanger of Clifford Chance, Sebastian Seelmann-Eggebert of Latham & Watkins, moderated by Paula Hodges of Herbert Smith Freehills.

Heated debate ensued, with some panel members favouring parties having the power to appoint arbitrators with other panel members favouring institutionalised appointment of arbitrators.

After lunch, in-house counsel were asked for their perspective on case proceedings. The discussion was moderated by Lord Peter Goldsmith QC of Debevoise & Plimpton with panelists Andrew Chung of Goldman Sachs, Jim Jamison of Deloitte China, Jun Hee Kim of Hyundai Heavy Industries, Gangliang Qiao of Siemens and Andy Soh of General Electric.

‘New players, new process?’ followed in-house counsel’s perspective on arbitration proceedings, with David Buxbaum of Anderson & Anderson, Robert Pé of Orrick, Mark Yamont of Pinsent Masons, Elisabeth Tout of SNR Denton with Jakob Ragnwaldh of Mannheimer Swartling as moderator. The panellists gave a forecast of the future of arbitration in Mongolia, China, Africa and the Middle East, the so-called new frontiers for arbitration.

The final seminar of the day was a brief overview by Dr Michael Moser, honorary chair of the HKIAC and Justin D’Agostino, council member of the HKIAC, of the revised HKIAC Administered Arbitration Rules, available at the link below.


The conference delegates then migrated to the new premises of HKIAC at Two Exchange Square, for the launch party.

Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung arrived at the new centre early in the evening to officially open the new Centre. In his speech, Leung said he was no stranger to the HKIAC and that he was recently promoting the centre’s services to a Japanese delegation who thought the services on offer were too good to be true.
Central government has indicated its support for the HKIAC in recent months by encouraging businesses in Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou province to use the centre for arbitration proceedings. 

“I will vigorously support the policy of developing Hong Kong as a leading centre of professional services in the Asia Pacific region, dispute resolution included,” Leung said, before officially declaring the centre open for business.

Session Recaps:

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