Archive for the ‘Asia’ Category

I’m pleased to announce this year’s Harry Elias-Singapore Mediation Centre-Singapore Management University annual lecture in mediation.

The speaker will be Dr. Hans Peter Frick; and his topic will be “Embracing a Mediation Culture: How your Company Benefits”.

Further information on the lecture and registration can be found here: http://law.smu.edu.sg/SML2015


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I’m pleased to let you know that the Annual Singapore Mediation lecture will be held on Friday 26th September, at Singapore Management University. The speaker this year is Mr Brackett Denniston III, Senior Vice President, Secretary and General Counsel for General Electric Company (GE). His theme will be: “The Mediation Imperative: Why Successful Companies Embrace Mediation.”

The Singapore Mediation Lecture is proudly brought to you by Harry Elias Partnership LLP and Singapore Mediation Centre, in collaboration with the Singapore Management University.

Admission to the lecture is free but your registration is required, through the website address below.

For information on the lecture, please visit: http://law.smu.edu.sg/SML2014


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This note is less about mediation in Asia, than about the potential Asian role in mediation beyond those geographical boundaries.

It is an article of faith, and a regularly repeated principle of regional – ASEAN and East Asian – politics, that neighbour states do not become involved in the domestic affairs of others. Without going into the reasons for or defences of this policy, it’s interesting to note a recent apparent shift, at least on the part of China. One of the issues that is a subject of comment – at least in Western media – is that the policy of non-intervention in self-serving in that it permits ongoing commercial engagement with nations that have dubious human rights records; and permits aid policies that – unlike many Western aid projects – are linked to the improvement of human rights conditions in recipient countries. The non-intervention policy becomes, in such circumstances, a no-comment policy: aid cannot be tied to domestic policies, on which the donor nation chooses not to comment or pass judgment.

However, recent news items show that China is willing to act as mediator in the ongoing conflict between Sudan and South Sudan: http://thediplomat.com/2014/06/in-south-sudan-conflict-china-tests-its-mediation-skills/

Cynically, the observation is made that this is less about diplomacy than about commercial interests and that the policy of non-intervention can be at least partially waived where (i) there are significant commercial interests of the prospective mediator nation; and/or (ii) that third party nation also has the necessary leverage with both parties to have some impact; and/or (iii) the mediating state has a strong “good neighbour” reputation.

Leave aside the scepticism about motives for a moment – what this does suggest is that we may see more of those ASEAN and Asian states, as regional and even as global mediators, where those states are seen as acceptable third parties; and they may well be acceptable precisely because they do not have the kind of history of political intervention that other “mediating” states have. Consider, as a parallel, the effectiveness of smaller states such as Norway in international politics.

In all cases, however, there will be reason to keep an eye on the reasons for this kind of ‘intervention’, not least as research on international mediation underscores the importance of the leverage of the mediator.

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From the Ministry of Law’s website: http://www.mlaw.gov.sg/news/press-releases/icmwg-recommendations.html –

1.            The Ministry of Law (MinLaw) welcomes recommendations made by the International Commercial Mediation Working Group (ICMWG) to develop Singapore into a centre for international commercial mediation.  This will add to Singapore’s vibrant dispute resolution sector that has been growing on the back of a significant rise in commercial transactions in Asia and the corresponding increase in the number and complexity of cross-border disputes.

Recommendations by the International Commercial Mediation Working Group

2.            The ICMWG submitted its recommendations on 29 November 2013.  The recommendations include:

a)    Quality Standards – Establish a professional body to set standards and provide accreditation for  mediators;

b)    International Mediation Services – Establish an international mediation service provider which will offer as part of its service offerings, a quality panel of international mediators and experts, as well as user-centric innovative products and services;

c)    Legislative Framework – Enact a Mediation Act to strengthen the framework for mediation in Singapore;

d)    Exemptions and Incentives – Extend existing tax exemptions and incentives applicable for arbitration, to mediation; and

e)    Judicial Support – Enhance rules and Court processes to encourage greater use of mediation.

3.            Co-Chair of the ICMWG, Mr Edwin Glasgow QC said, “With its excellent legal system, infrastructure, connectivity and geographical location, Singapore is ideally placed to be the centre of excellence for international commercial mediation.  The feedback we have already received from international players and corporate users has been extremely positive. I hope and believe that the Working Group’s recommendations will help Singapore to acquire in respect of international commercial mediation, the reputation which it already unquestionably enjoys in the equally important field of arbitration.”

4.            Co-Chair Mr George Lim SC said, “By building up Singapore’s mediation capabilities and expertise, particularly to deal with international commercial disputes, commercial users will be able to choose from a full spectrum of dispute resolution services, ranging from facilitative mediation to binding arbitration.  This will enable users to tap on the dispute resolution process that best addresses their specific needs.  I believe that mediation, where successful, can help commercial parties save considerable time, costs and achieve flexible, mutually acceptable solutions to otherwise seemingly intractable disputes.”

5.            The Chief Justice and Minister for Law have expressed their appreciation to the Working Group for the work and effort put into this review.  MinLaw will follow up with the relevant stakeholders to see how the various recommendations can be implemented.  A summary of the ICMWG’s recommendations is at Annex A.


6.            In April 2013, Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon and the Ministry of Law appointed Mr Edwin Glasgow CBE QC and Mr George Lim SC to co-chair a nine-member working group to propose plans to develop the international commercial mediation space in Singapore.  The group comprised international and local members to provide a wide range of expertise and views.

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International Arbitration : Private Parties and Public International Law

click here

Dear Friends and Colleagues,


It is with great pleasure that we invite you to the annual Herbert Smith Freehills – SMU Asian Arbitration Lecture.

Our distinguished speaker, The Rt Hon. the Lord Collins of Mapesbury, will be speaking on “International Arbitration : Private Parties and Public International Law”.


About the Speaker 

Lord Collins of Mapesbury (Lawrence Collins) was until 2011 a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. Before that he was a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary (2009), a member of the Court of Appeal (2007-2009) and a judge of the Chancery Division (2000-2007) and of the Commercial Court (2006-2007). He now practises as an international arbitrator at Essex Court Chambers, London, and sits as a non-permanent member of the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal.

He qualified as a solicitor and was a partner in Herbert Smith & Co (later Herbert Smith, and now Herbert Smith Freehills) from 1971 to 2000. He was appointed a deputy High Court judge and a Queen’s Counsel (one of the first two solicitors to be so appointed) in 1997.

Lord Collins is the author of books and articles on private and public international law, and he has been since 1987 the general editor of Dicey and Morris (now Dicey, Morris & Collins) on the Conflict of Laws, currently in its 15th edition, 2012. He is also a Professor at University College London; emeritus and honorary Fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge; and has recently been a visiting professor at New York University Law School and Columbia Law School.

He is a Fellow of the British Academy and a member of the Institut de Droit International.


Synopsis of Lecture

The lecture will deal with the increasing importance of public international law in disputes involving private parties. This is not a new phenomenon, and the lecture will trace the history of the impact of state immunity in international commercial arbitration and the choice of public international law in choice of law and in arbitration agreements. Today there is controversy over the role of principles of diplomatic protection and state responsibility in arbitrations involving private parties and states, including the scope of fair and equitable treatment, expropriation; and there are unresolved questions on the relationship between international arbitration and foreign relations law. This lecture will endeavour to highlight the problems and suggest some solutions.



Admission is free.  Please click here to register by 12 September 2013.  Attendance is by registration only.

Further details can be found at the Herbert Smith Freehills – SMU Asian Arbitration Lecture website.


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6th Asia Pacific Mediation Forum SummitMediation in a Globalising World: Challenges to Multiculturalism, Peacebuilding and Religious Tolerance, De La Salle University, Taft Manila, Philippines, 9–11 December 2013. For the Call for papers and registration see the new APMF website: http://www.asiapacificmediationforum.org


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Survey on the Use of Mediation in the Asia Pacific Region

The International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution (CPR) is a U.S.-based nonprofit think tank. The organization was founded more than 30 years ago by multinational corporations to examine ways to avoid time consuming and expensive litigation. Since that time, CPR has worked in conjunction with our law firm and corporate members to develop techniques to assist businesses in resolving their disputes by more expeditious and cost effective processes.

CPR members are increasingly doing business in the Asia Pacific region and have asked that we conduct a survey of businesses and law firms in the region to gather information about the use of mediation to resolve business disputes, to identify barriers to the use of mediation, and to, ultimately, make recommendations as to how to overcome these barriers. Working in conjunction with our Asia Pacific Advisory Council, CPR has created the attached survey, which will enable us to collect data and to quantify the results with a view to identifying those countries which might benefit from seminars or training on mediation.

We would greatly appreciate your assistance in completing the survey.  Please use the link below.  All information gathered will be kept strictly confidential, and your company name will not be identified. If you have any questions, please contact us. In addition, if you know of any corporations or law firms that should be included in this survey, please feel free to forward this email or the following link to them:

Thank you in advance for taking the time to assist CPR in this important endeavor.  


Thank you in advance for taking the time to assist CPR in this important endeavour.  

With kind regards,

Beth Trent
Senior Vice President and Director of Programs
International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Dispute Resolution

CPR’s Asia Pacific Advisory Council:

Prof. David L. Sandborg
Law Office of David Sandborg

Cecil Abraham
Zul Rafique & Partners

Professor Lawrence Boo
Arbitration Chambers

Professor Seung Wha Chang
Seoul National University -School ofLaw

Teresa Cheng
Des Voeux Chambers

Justice Florentino Feliciano
SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan

Yukukazu Hanamizu
Yuasa and Hara

Michael Hwang
Michael Hwang SC


Yu Jianlong
China Intl Economic & Trade Arbitration Commission

Sumeet Kachwaha
Kachwaha & Partners

Dr. Hyun Kim
Sechang & Co

David L. Kreider
Vodafone New Zealand Limited

Nigel Li
Li and Lee

Fali Nariman
Bar Association of India

David Newton
Accord Group


Perry L. Pe
Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura

Vinayek Pradhan
Skrine Malaysia

Pallavi Shroff
Amarchand & Mangaldas & Suresh A Shroff & Co.

Gary Soo
Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre

Sir Laurence Street

Jingzhou Tao
Jones Day

Hiroyuki Tezuka
Nishimura & Partners



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