For the second year CIArb has collaborated with the Beijing International Arbitration Commission (BIAC) to promote arbitration in Australia and the Asia Pacific region and the ICCA Congress to be held in Sydney in April 2018. The President of the Australian branch, Caroline Kenny QC, led an Australian delegation to Beijing last year and gave a presentation at the BIAC on the enforcement of international arbitration awards in Australia, with particular emphasis on enforcement of awards involving Chinese nationals. Following the success of the 2016 roadshow, Ms Kenny was asked to participate in the Hong Kong Summit on Commercial Dispute Resolution in China held on the eve of the 6th Hong Kong Arbitration Week. Addressing trends and issues regarding dispute resolution in China and the region, over 100 speakers and delegates, including senior practitioners from major law firms, in house counsel, government representatives and heads of regional institutions attended the Summit. BIAC Deputy Secretary-General, Dr Fuyong Chen delivered the keynote address: Belt and Road Initiative – What it Means for Dispute Resolution.
In Session One: Evolution and Adaption – The Future of International Arbitration, Ms Kenny addressed the very topical issue of third party funding of arbitration. The issue is ripe for discussion as this year both Hong Kong and Singapore introduced legislation to legitimise third party funding for international commercial arbitrations and, in a first for the Asia Pacific region, included a regime to regulate the third party funding industry. The legislation in the two popular and growing arbitration hubs comes more than 10 years after third party funding was recognised by the High Court of Australia and by superior courts in England as legitimate on the basis that it promotes access to justice. However, in both England and Australia the industry is largely unregulated. Ms Kenny pointed out in her presentation that the UK adopts a ‘soft touch’ approach to regulation of the industry by permitting self regulation whereas the need for regulation is currently under review by the Law Review Commission in the Australian state of Victoria. The jurisdictions which allow third party funding will watch with interest Hong Kong and Singapore’s experiment in regulating the industry. Click here to read Ms Kenny’s speech.