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Taking Realtime Arbitrations in China

Taking Realtime Arbitrations in China

By Jade King

The Planet Depos local team set up for an English arbitration recently with nine realtime connections.

The Planet Depos local team set up for an English arbitration recently with nine realtime connections.

Though China does not permit the taking of depositions (and there are some great alternative locations in this previous blog), there are many arbitrations that take place. Mainland China is home to more than 1.3 billion people. And with a massive 160 cities having more than one million residents, it shouldn’t be surprising to learn there were well over 100,000 arbitrations conducted in China last year. Most of these, of course, were domestic and conducted in Chinese, but there is a growing demand for English international arbitration, particularly administered by the “big 4” arbitration institutions: CIETAC, SHIAC, SCIA and BIAC. These institutions have centres in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and Hong Kong.

Currently, including the big 4 institutions, unless the arbitral contract specifies English as the language, the arbitration will be conducted in Chinese. But as these and other institutions move to internationalise their arbitral rules, further growth in English reporting services is to be expected.

China FlowersMainland China provides a complex and challenging work environment, though not without its rewards! A visa is required for any non-Chinese national entering mainland China for any purpose. In most cities, visitors will struggle without the assistance of Putonghua-speaking colleagues. Customs and living standards are vastly different to the Western norm. On the other side of the ledger is the opportunity for life-changing experiences such as visiting the Great Wall, wandering through the European concessions, or eating a fresh jianbing for breakfast as you walk to your hearing.

The local PD reporters team is well versed in the arbitral rules of the above institutions, speaks Chinese, and possesses China visas or return-home cards.  Please contact asia@pd-reporting.com if you have an English arbitration coming up on the mainland, and we will be happy to provide our first-class realtime reporting service just as in any other country!

KCAB Celebrates Its Golden Jubilee with Expansion to Los Angeles

KCAB Celebrates Its Golden Jubilee with Expansion to Los Angeles

By Jade King

For court reporters, especially those working internationally, no two days are ever the same. We could be working on anything from an arbitration about plastic surgery, a court case about corruption, a deposition about chipset patents, or a corporate event launching a product. And occasionally, we may even be called upon to undertake a bit of acting. Planet Depos’ Seoul-based reporter, Lisa Feissner, RDR, CRR, CRI, CLR, was delighted to perform a cameo role in a recent video produced by the Korean Commercial Arbitration Board. This thorough and entertaining video provides an understanding of the Korean arbitral process from start to finish, and includes a mock arbitration. The video, with bilingual captions, can be viewed here.

Originally established in 1966 as the Korean Commercial Arbitration Centre, then expanded and renamed in 1980, the KCAB has a long and distinguished history in the ADR space. There are five key features which attract international parties to arbitrate at KCAB: impartiality; party autonomy; finality; efficiency; and privacy. With its main office in the Trade Tower in Gangnam, and a branch office in Busan, the sixth feature has to be convenience. In 2016, the KCAB also opened its first international branch office, in Los Angeles. As the US is Korea’s second-largest trading partner, this is a strategic expansion that will be of great benefit to US practitioners for resolving commercial disputes with Korean counterparts.

Apart from opening the LA branch office, the KCAB had an exciting year in 2016, summed up in their recent newsletter. They hosted a number of conferences and academic programs, as well as, of course, a gala celebration for their 50th anniversary.

Planet Depos has a long-standing relationship with users of KCAB and our Korea-based team has provided reporting services at numerous arbitrations there. We look forward to continuing this in 2017 and beyond, and would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the KCAB and its staff on the recent golden jubilee.

If you would like to schedule our arbitration reporting service in Korea, please be in touch with asia@planetdepos.com.

Hong Kong Arbitration Week Triumphs Despite Weather

By Jade King

Chai Wan during Typhoon Haima. Image by Kristy Chan.

Chai Wan during Typhoon Haima. Image by Kristy Chan.

Hong Kong woke up this morning to a battering from Typhoon Haima. With much of the global arbitration community currently in the city for the fifth annual Hong Kong Arbitration Week, this force majeure event was no doubt an inconvenience. At least coffee was still being served.

This picture of the so-called “Starbucks Uncle” riding out the storm perhaps reflects, in an unlikely way, why the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC) was recently voted the most improved arbitral institution, and is one of the most preferred in the world, along with London, Paris, Singapore and Geneva. Hong Kong, this most dynamic of cities, never stops. And neither does HKIAC, with a packed schedule of enlightening seminars and social events, the crown of which is Hong Kong Arbitration Week.

Planet Depos’ team of resident staff attended various events this week in the never-ending quest for the most up-to-date knowledge on arbitral practice and current issues facing our industry. Highlights included the Belt and Road Initiatives seminar hosted by the Beijing Arbitration Commission; the energy disputes discussion presented by the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce; and ICC’s insightful dialogue on Rising Asia.

The flagship event, ADR in Asia: Arbitration Challenged, was the climax of the week, with panels discussing everything from corruption to transparency, and an entertaining “get to know you” session with newly appointed HKIAC secretary-general Sarah Grimmer. We were pleased to have the opportunity to demonstrate our realtime services to attendees during breaks.

The PD Team

The PD Team

The appointment of Allen & Overy partner Matthew Gearing QC as the new chairperson of HKIAC was announced during the week.  In 2017 he will succeed Teresa Cheng SC, who has been chair for the past three years. Planet Depos congratulates Mr. Gearing on his appointment and thanks Ms Cheng for being such an inspiring, graceful leader.

After a lovely end to the week last night – the glamorous GAR Live dinner – we say thank you, HKIAC, for a brilliant week. If you missed us at ADR in Asia, please contact asia@planetdepos.com to organise an inhouse demonstration of our realtime court reporting services.

New Arbitrators, New Code of Ethics for the KCAB

By Suzanne Quinson

Just recently the Korean Commercial Arbitration Board (KCAB) announced both the appointment of new arbitrators and the adoption of a new Code of Ethics for Arbitrators in 2016. Both changes demonstrate the KCAB’s continued commitment to improving the arbitration system in Korea, something the KCAB has consistently demonstrated in recent years, most recently by amending its International Arbitration Rules. These latest changes will enhance the selection of arbitrator panels, as well as the independence, impartiality, and integrity of each individual arbitrator.

The KCAB currently lists nearly 1,100 arbitrators on the panel, comprised of experienced, respected arbitrators, speaking a dozen languages between them. This year alone, 98 arbitrators have been appointed, with the assistance of the KCAB’s Arbitrator Review Committee. This committee serves to review the selection, appointment, and dismissal of arbitrators at the KCAB, and is comprised of external members. These measures illustrate the KCAB’s dedication to providing the best arbitration service possible.

Planet Depos routinely covers arbitrations throughout Asia. With reporters and IT support staff living all over the region, their services are available at little to no travel costs. For information on scheduling stenography services for arbitration proceedings in Korea or elsewhere, contact the Planet Depos International Team at 888.433.3767 or international@planetdepos.com.

All-Star Lineup Takes the Field for Korean Sports Arbitration Conference

By Tom Feissner

A view of Seoul. Photo taken by Tom Feissner.

A view of Seoul. Photo taken by Tom Feissner.

The bases were loaded in Seoul this week as some of the heaviest hitters in sports arbitration law mixed it up in anticipation of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games. In his opening remarks, Conference Chair Eun Young Park of Kim & Chang ran the bases on the topics to be addressed. He then brought home his remarks by stating that in addition to being entertainment, the string of Olympiads taking place in Asia over the next six years are also major commercial endeavors. The success of these endeavors, he contends, depends on maintaining a fair playing field for everyone. The Court of Arbitration for Sport will play a vital role in that regard, he said.

Dr. Park then invited The Honorable Changjae Lee, Vice Minister of the Korean Ministry of Justice, to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. In his remarks, Vice Minister Lee emphasized that because sports are a part of our daily lives, we must have a system to resolve sports-related disputes in order to ensure fairness. He touted the new Seoul International Dispute Resolution Center as the ideal forum for arbitrating such cases.

Michael B. Lenard then took the mound in his capacity as Vice President of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). According to Mr. Lenard, the CAS was established in response to one of the biggest challenges in sports today: how to resolve the “inevitable” disputes that arise in today’s era of “lightning-fast” media coverage.

“Let the games begin!” Dr. Park then exclaimed as the players took the field. The first inning was all about international sports law and sports arbitration. At the top of the lineup was CAS Deputy Secretary General William Sternheimer, who led the audience on a barnstorming tour of CAS procedure and practice. Panelists Mark Mangan of Dechert and Sean (Sung-Woo) Lim of Lee & Ko thereafter peppered the Deputy Secretary General with questions concerning the advantages of using CAS for resolving sports-related disputes.

Mr. Lenard then stepped up to the plate again to give an in-depth presentation concerning how CAS arbitrates controversies that occur during the Olympic Games. He explained that because time is of the essence during the Olympics, formal adjudicatory procedures are impractical. As an alternative, he said, CAS has established a number of ad hoc divisions specifically designed to effectively resolve disputes on site. Fielding the play for this discussion were Jinwon Park of O’Melveny & Myers and Harald Sippel of Yulchon.  Mr. Sippel was called in as a pinch hitter for Lee & Ko’s Young Sook Lee, who was on the disabled list.

The panel mid-discussion. Photo taken by Tom Feissner.

The panel mid-discussion. Photo taken by Tom Feissner.

The third inning began with a review of sports arbitration and the rule of law. The moderator for this portion of the event was Kevin (Kap-You) Kim of Bae, Kim & Lee. Speaking on the topic of sports disputes and human rights was Peter Leaver, QC of One Essex Court. Mr. Leaver began with the premise that “by entering the competition, athletes enter into a contract to play by the rules” and that any behavior inconsistent therewith constitutes a breach of that contract. Because a breach gives rise to sanctions, he reasons, athletes are therefore entitled to due process of law. Mr. Leaver then concluded by stating that while the vast majority of athletes are clean and play fairly, there will always be those who cheat, and thus the need to safeguard the rights of all athletes will continue. In addition to Kevin Kim, the panel for Mr. Leaver’s presentation was comprised of Seoul IRDC Secretary General Byung Chol Yoon of Kim & Chang and Professor Benjamin Hughes of Seoul National University.

Utility player Michael Beloff, QC of Blackstone Chambers was then recalled from the dugout to discuss sports and corruption. The draw of all sports, he said, is that their outcome is unpredictable, as opposed to a theatrical performance, the outcome of which never varies. Though the manipulation of sporting events is widely recognized as unacceptable, Mr. Beloff pointed out that corruption in sports is nothing new, citing examples of wrestling match fixing in ancient Egypt and chariot race fraud by the Roman Emperor Nero. He also cited more recent examples such as the 1919 White Sox baseball scandal. The common thread in all these instances is, of course, money, Beloff maintains. Aggravating matters is the fact that athletic associations lack the investigative powers of governments and have no power to arrest, he said.

In the bottom of the fourth, panel members Jin Ho Kim of UNCITRAL Asia, moderator Kevin Kim, and Andrew White of Yulchon then quizzed Beloff on what can be done to combat corruption in sport. He replied that prevention through education is the best method, but clear and specific rules that “can’t be challenged by clever lawyers” and more effective deterrent sanctions are two ways that have also proven effective. The encouragement of whistleblowing through reduced penalties and allowing anonymous testimony was also mentioned.

Kevin Kim then called a time-out for coffee and a seventh-inning stretch, after which the game resumed. The first topic up was anti-doping and fairness. Yun-Jae Baek of Hanol Law Offices, who was called in to relieve Mr. Kim as moderator, then introduced Canadian Richard Pound, QC, former chairman of WADA, to opine on the anti-doping system and disputes. As one of the founding members of the World Anti-Doping Association, Mr. Pound played a large part in promulgating many of WADA’s rules and regulations. He went on to explain his role in the NHL, Lance Armstrong and Sochi Olympics anti-doping controversies. Panelists for his discussion included Sam Kim of Yoon & Yang and John P. Bang of Bae, Kim & Lee.

The bottom of the ninth found Joel E. Richardson of Kim & Chang rounding the bases with a case study in Korean sports. His comments centered on the 2014 case of Yong Dae Lee vs. WBF, in which the World Badminton Federation (WBF) severely sanctioned two Korean athletes for violation of its anti-doping regulations related to “Whereabouts Failures.” Complicating matters was the fact that the Badminton Korea Association (BKA) stood between the athletes and the WBF, often taking action on behalf of the athletes without notice. The case is considered a prime example of the effectiveness of the CAS, which was able to resolve the dispute to the satisfaction of all concerned. Panelists Peter Leaver, QC and Robert W. Wachter of Lee & Ko rounded out the discussion.

As part of the closing commentary, Professor Hi-Taek Shin of Seoul National University and Chairman of the Seoul IDRC expressed his great pleasure at being able to be among such distinguished sports arbitration practitioners, thanked the speakers and panelists for their participation in the conference, and reminded everyone that the Seoul IDRC stands ready to provide the finest in arbitration services and facilities should they ever require a forum in which to resolve a sports-related dispute in Korea.

For more information on how Planet Depos can provide you with a comprehensive suite of court reporting, video, and electronic document management services for your next international commercial or sports-related arbitration, please contact us at (+82) 70.7686.0095, or send us an email at asia@planetdepos.com.

New Panel of Arbitrators for Intellectual Property Disputes at HKIAC

By Suzanne Quinson

The Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC) recently announced the launch of their new Panel of Arbitrators for Intellectual Property Disputes.  The new panel includes 30 members, with a total of 7 languages and 12 practice jurisdictions among them.  Combined, the members have close to a millennium of IP matters experience, which includes copyright infringements, FRAND disputes, and the registration of patents, trademarks and designs.  This panel will be HKIAC’s main source for appointment of arbitrators in IP cases and is separate from their regular panel of arbitrators.

Fortuitously, as HKIAC’s launch of the new Panel has taken place, Hong Kong’s government has published proposed amendments to the Hong Kong Arbitration Ordinance.  The purpose of the suggested amendments is to clarify that disputes over the subsistence, scope, validity, ownership, or any other aspect of an IP right can be submitted to arbitration in Hong Kong.  A further goal of the amendments is to highlight the fact that Hong Kong’s public policy is not an impediment to the enforcement of an award in an IP right issue.  Should the amendments move forward, they will go a long way in illustrating Hong Kong’s commitment to continued development into a global center for resolving IP disputes.

With the introduction of this new Panel, HKIAC is well positioned to further increase the number of domain name cases being referred to the Centre each year.  2015 saw a 13% increase from the number of such cases handled in 2014, with a total of 227 domain name cases submitted to HKIAC arbitration.   Further, the Panel will increase HKIAC’s expertise in IP matters, as well as the range of IP matters HKIAC is capable of handling.

HKIAC was not only the winner of the GAR Innovation Award in 2015, but also ranked as the most improved arbitration institution in Queen Mary University of London’s 6th annual arbitration study in 2015.  The Panel of Arbitrators for Intellectual Property Disputes will no doubt further enhance HKIAC’s reputation as a center of international arbitration.

With highly experienced realtime stenographers and technicians living in Hong Kong and throughout Asia, Planet Depos is uniquely positioned for seamless coverage of your arbitrations in Hong Kong or anywhere on the planet.  To schedule, contact Planet Depos International Scheduling at 888.433.3767 or international@planetdepos.com.

Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre – Ranked as Most Improved Institution

By Suzanne Quinson

 

Queen Mary University of London 2015 International Arbitration Survey

Queen Mary University of London 2015 International Arbitration Survey

Queen Mary University of London has recently released the findings of its sixth annual international arbitration study.  Among those findings is the HKIAC’s ranking as the most improved arbitration institution.  The top reasons given for this impressive ranking include: reputation and recognition, greater efficiency, higher level of administration (staff quality, responsiveness), and introduction of innovative new features in arbitral rules.  As a seat of international arbitration, Hong Kong also ranked as one of the most improved seats (second only to Singapore).  The study also revealed that arbitration is still the preferred dispute resolution mechanism, with enforceability of awards listed as its most valuable characteristic, and cost as the biggest detractor.

 

Participants indicated that the factors weighing most heavily when choosing an arbitration institution include a high level of administration at the institution (specifically, the quality of the staff, and the institution’s proactivity and responsiveness in general).  Additional factors are the neutrality/internationalism of the institution, as well as the ability to administrate arbitrations worldwide.  As mentioned above, the 4th listed improvement was introduction of innovative new features in arbitral rules.  The HKIAC won the GAR Innovation Award earlier in 2015, in recognition of its innovative achievements in including a choice of law provision in its model clauses, as well as introducing a tribunal secretary service.

Determining factors when choosing a seat include neutrality and impartiality of the local legal system, national arbitration law, a proven track record for enforcing agreements to arbitrate and arbitral awards, and availability of quality arbitrators familiar with the seat.  Hong Kong was most improved as a seat, in part due to better hearing facilities, availability of quality arbitrators familiar with the seat, better local arbitral institutions (HKIAC), and improvements to national arbitration law.   The findings indicate that once a certain threshold is reached as pertains to the seat’s legal infrastructure, convenience factors weigh heavily and can increase that seat’s appeal.

Arbitration attorneys traveling to Hong Kong (or elsewhere in Asia) for a hearing will need support such as realtime transcription, interpretation, and administrative services such as printing and shredding.  A firm which has reporters living in Hong Kong can provide these services and more, including hotel recommendations and insider tips on navigating this unique city.

Planet Depos has been covering arbitrations and depositions in Hong Kong and throughout the broader Asia region for over a decade.  With reporters, videographers, and interpreters living in several countries throughout the Asia-Pacific area, we can cover your proceeding and provide superior administrative support, thanks to longstanding relationships with local vendors.  Contact Planet Depos International Scheduling for more information: 888-433-3767 or international@planetdepos.com.

International Arbitration in Asia

By Suzanne Quinson

As a result of the globalization of cross-border business, more commercial relationships than ever before exist between businesses and states.  When a dispute arises, it is becoming more and more common for international arbitration to be the method chosen to resolve such disputes due to its cost-effectiveness and speed as compared to court litigation.  Perhaps more than any other factor, however, it is the greater enforceability of arbitral awards as opposed to court judgments which tips the scales in favor of arbitration.

Singapore is a major international arbitration hub, currently rated at No. 5 in the world for neutrality in the Corruption Perceptions Index.  Singapore is a party to the 1958 New York Convention.  The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) and Maxwell Chambers reside in Singapore, and there are no visa requirements for non-residents to carry out arbitration services in Singapore.  Considering these factors and zero restrictions on foreign law firms engaging in arbitration in Singapore, its clout as an international arbitration venue will likely only continue to grow.

Hong Kong is likewise a party to the 1958 New York Convention, and with the establishment of the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC) in 1985, Hong Kong distinguished itself as the leader in international arbitration in the Asia region.   Hong Kong’s status as home to huge numbers of world-class legal professionals, experienced foreign attorneys and arbitrators ensure that it will long be a leading center in international arbitration.

Scheduling coverage for your arbitration in Asia should be as seamless as the process of arbitration itself was designed to be.  A court reporting company experienced in international arbitration and intimately familiar with Asia is pivotal to ensuring a smooth course, able to advise regarding visa and passport requirements, provide airport and hotel recommendations and, of course, restaurant recommendations.

With over a decade of experience covering depositions and arbitrations throughout Asia, and U.S.-trained reporters and videographers living on the ground throughout the region, Planet Depos has the knowledge to expertly cover your proceedings in Asia.  The Planet Depos team will consider every detail to ensure the whole experience is as easy as scheduling back home.  For information on depositions or arbitration in Asia or anywhere abroad, contact International Scheduling at 888.433.3767 or via email at international@planetdepos.com.

Global Arbitration Review: Live in Singapore!

By Tom Feissner

Global Arbitration Review is anything but your typical stodgy legal journal.  Launched in 2006, it has evolved from simply reporting international arbitration news to making it as well.  Today, GAR not only provides its readers with daily arbitration news updates, but conducts surveys and does research on issues that have a direct bearing on the course of international arbitration policy and conduct.

Because networking with one’s peers and keeping abreast of the latest developments in alternative dispute resolution are of great importance to international arbitration practitioners, Global Arbitration Review has come up with an exciting, innovative way to both inform and entertain:  GAR Live!  This lively, interactive format takes the form of a traveling roadshow where delegates are encouraged to participate in the discussions along with the panelists.  This concept has proven so successful that GAR now hosts events regularly in major arbitration centers around the world, including New York, London, Paris, Hong Kong, Dubai, Istanbul, and Singapore.

It has been four years since GAR Live last visited Singapore, and moderators Alvin Yeo, SC of WongPartnership, LLP and Lucy Reed of Freshfields, Bruckhaus, Deringer did an outstanding job of leading panel discussions on a number of topics of special interest to international arbitration practitioners in Singapore.  The panels themselves likewise consisted of some of the most distinguished arbitration attorneys in Singapore and the Asia-Pacific region.  The conference was held at the Maxwell Chambers alternative dispute resolution center in Singapore’s Central District.

The first session started off with key developments in Singapore arbitration law moderated by Alvin Yeo, which included such topics as third-party funding of arbitration, gas price disputes, financial arbitrations, and treaty-based arbitration in the region.  Mr. Yeo then went on to host a discussion concerning a series of cases having to do with whether the Singapore courts are exercising judicial restraint when it comes to enforcement of arbitration awards, or whether they are taking an interventionist approach by applying a de novo standard of review.  The general consensus seemed to be that a balanced approach on behalf of the Singapore judiciary would best maintain Singapore’s reputation as a safe seat for conducting arbitrations.

Lucy Reed then moderated a panel discussion concerning the state of arbitration and alternative dispute resolution in India entitled: “India – How Far Has It Come?”  While the panelists agreed that there has been a great deal of improvement in the Indian ADR regime, they also were of one mind that a shift in attitude concerning the utility of arbitration as a means of settling disputes needs to occur if India intends to establish itself as a global arbitration hub.

GAR Live Panel - Image by Tom Feissner

GAR Live Panel – Image by Tom Feissner

The highlight of the day was an Oxford-Union style debate on whether the newly-established Singapore International Commercial Court poses a threat to the continued success of the Singapore International Arbitration Center.  A lively exchange then ensued, moderated by Ms. Reed.  Professor Michael Pryles and Rashda Rana of 39 Essex Chambers acting as judges of the debate, diplomatically concluded that the SICC poses no threat to the continued success of the SIAC, as they were each created to serve separate and distinct purposes.  After closing remarks by Mr. Yeo and Ms. Reed, the delegates adjourned to a reception at Singapore’s China Club, hosted by Clyde & Company.

For more information about GAR, please visit their website at http://www.globalarbitrationreview.com.  To schedule a court reporter for an arbitration in Singapore, please call us toll free at (888) 433-3767 or contact us via email at international@planetdepos.com.

YSIAC Inaugural Conference Held in Singapore

Planet Depos on Hand as Event Sponsor and Realtime Provider

By Tom Feissner

Lisa V. Feissner, RDR, CRR, CRI - Image by Tom and Lisa Feissner

Lisa V. Feissner, RDR, CRR, CRI – Image by Tom and Lisa Feissner

On June 4, 2015, over 200 young attorneys from 17 jurisdictions around the globe converged upon the Maxwell Chambers Alternative Dispute Resolution Center in Singapore to participate in the re-launching of the young lawyers division of the Singapore International Arbitration Center (YSIAC).  In his welcoming address, SIAC Chairman Lucien Wong stated that the purpose of YSIAC is twofold:  First, to promote the use of arbitration as a means of resolving regional and international disputes, and second, to provide a cross-cultural platform for young professionals to network.  Mr. Wong went on to say that in order to further these twin purposes, YSIAC has created a mentoring program as a way of building relationships between young attorneys and established practitioners.  He also explained that this “hands-on” approach to arbitration is intended as a way for aspiring arbitrators to familiarize themselves with SIAC arbitration rules and procedures.

In order to familiarize the attendees with the more practical aspects of conducting an arbitration, Planet Depos sent International Court Reporter Lisa V. Feissner, RDR, CRR, CRI to the conference to demonstrate the power of realtime court reporting when applied to international arbitrations.  As part of the demonstration, Mrs. Feissner provided realtime transcription of the remarks of the event’s guest of honor, Singapore’s Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Law and Ministry of Education, Ms. Indranee Rajah, and the Q&A session that followed her remarks.

YSIAC Q&A (left to right) Goyal, Born, Rajah, and Yen - Image by Tom and Lisa Feissner

YSIAC Q&A (left to right) Goyal, Born, Rajah, and Yen – Image by Tom and Lisa Feissner

Minister Rajah began her address by describing how the legal landscape in Singapore has evolved since she was admitted to the bar.  As an example, she cited how arbitration, once considered a threat to the authority of the Singaporean judiciary, has now “taken off in a big way.”  Minister Rajah attributed this change to Asia’s tremendous economic growth and the need to resolve the commercial disputes that arise as a result.  She also attributed the expansion of Singapore’s legal services sector to legislative changes made in response to Ministry initiatives, such as allowing foreign lawyers to practice within the jurisdiction.  Minister Rajah credited these changes in attitude and practice as the reason why Singapore has risen to prominence as a hub of international arbitration.

Minister Rajah then called on the members of the audience to “capitalize” on this trend by building on the Ministry’s accomplishments.  She urged young attorneys to expand the scope of Singapore as an international dispute resolution center by utilizing not only the courts and the SIAC to their fullest advantage, but all of the resources that Singapore provides and intends to provide, such as the newly-created Singapore International Commercial Court (SICC) and the soon-to-be-established Singapore International Mediation Center (SIMC).

YSIAC Networking Session - Image by Tom and Lisa Feissner

YSIAC Networking Session – Image by Tom and Lisa Feissner

In conclusion, Minister Rajah reiterated her belief that “Asia is where the growth is,” and reaffirmed the Ministry of Law’s commitment to providing a comprehensive “suite of commercial dispute resolution options in Singapore” in order that the nation’s young lawyers be afforded every opportunity to “grow and develop as young arbitration practitioners.”

Afterward, Gary Born, President of the SIAC Court of Arbitration, joined Minister Rajah on stage for a question-and-answer session about the future of alternative dispute resolution in Singapore.  Joining them in the discussion were YSIAC Committee Co-Chairs Ankit Goyal of Allen & Gledhill and Koh Swee Yen of WongPartnership, LLP.  The remainder of the conference was then set aside for breakout discussions and networking groups among the participants, as well as panel discussions on such topics as advocacy techniques for arbitration and pointers and pitfalls for younger arbitration practitioners.

For more information about SIAC, please visit their website at http://www.siac.org.sg.  To schedule a court reporter for an arbitration in Singapore, please call us toll free at (888) 433-3767 or contact us via email at international@planetdepos.com.

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