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CE: HK well-poised to become global arbitration hub

By Chen Shuman | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2021-11-30 10:48

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said on Monday that Hong Kong is well-poised to become an international center for legal services and dispute resolution in the Asia-Pacific region.

Lam made her remarks at the opening ceremony of the 59th annual session Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization, the group's first annual session to be held in the city. The event opened the same day that the AALCO regional arbitration center opened in Hong Kong.

Expressing her gratitude towards the support of the central government and the AALCO, Lam said that the successful holding of the three-day event is essential for that goal.

Noting that Hong Kong has long been the only common law jurisdiction in the nation, Lam said the city has a wealth of legal and dispute resolution professionals, as well as a mature and well-developed legal system and legal infrastructure.

She cited a survey of Queen Mary University of London that said Hong Kong was the third-most popular arbitration venue in the world this year, and among the top five in the world since 2015.

“We will make full use of our legal advantages and promote related services to the member states of the AALCO,” Lam said.

Representatives from over 40 major Asian and African countries attended the opening ceremony of the session.

Delivering a welcome remark, AALCO Secretary-General Kennedy Gastorn said that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the main purpose of the organization remains unchanged, which is to serve as an advisory body to its member states in the field of international law and as a forum for Asian-African co-operation in legal matters of common concern.

Premier Li Keqiang also attended and spoke at the opening ceremony online from Beijing.

Established in 1956 as the Asian Legal Consultative Committee, the AALCO is the only cooperation platform dedicated to international law spanning Asia and Africa. It has gained permanent-observer status at the United Nations and has had a permanent office at the UN headquarters since 1980.

Being one of AALCO’s major events, the annual session gathers delegates from member states and those attending as observers. The participants will deliberate and examine international law matters discussed by other international organizations such as the International Law Commission, as well as issues of international law that are of particular interest and relevance to AALCO member states.

In her blog on Saturday, Hong Kong Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah said the sixth Asian International Arbitration Centre will be established in Hong Kong this year with major support from the central government and AALCO.

The center will seek to integrate itself in the AALCO dispute settlement system and perform a variety of tasks, including online dispute resolution services, which will strengthen Hong Kong’s position as an international legal, deal-making and dispute resolution hub, said Cheng.

During the three-day meeting, a side event on online dispute resolution will be held on the second day of the annual session, with a number of legal experts and academics sharing their views.

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