The second annual Hong Kong Arbitration Week in late October rang off as a great success for Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC) and all groups involved.
Attendance was up on last year at the various events dedicated to highlighting the practice of international arbitration in Asia. Members of the global dispute resolution community descended on Hong Kong for the week’s activities, which included: a seminar with the Permanent Court of Arbitration; a keynote speech at an ICC event from Hong Kong’s Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen; an afternoon seminar titled Arbitration in Mainland China: Law and Practice, organised by CIETAC; the HKIAC’s flagship event, the ADR in Asia conference; and the Third Annual GAR Live, Asia conference.
“Some have said that Hong Kong Arbitration Week has become a ‘must attend’ event on the arbitration calendar,” Chiann Bao, secretary general of the HKIAC, told China Business Law Journal. “To be able to achieve this in just two years of operation is an excellent sign of its success.
“The ADR in Asia event is a longstanding arbitration event in the region and its popularity has been instrumental in attracting guests to Hong Kong Arbitration Week. This year’s event attracted a broader range of practitioners from overseas and many more first-timers than previous years. Given the success of this event, we are already starting to make plans for next year’s ADR in Asia event and Hong Kong Arbitration Week.”
Bao said highlights of the conference included a keynote speech from Hong Kong’s Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma. Also attending from the the HKIAC executive was the incoming and newly elected chairperson of the HKIAC, Teresa Cheng, who participated in the opening session of the event. Another highlight of the week, the Hong Kong Arbitration Charity Ball, attracted 370 guests and raised around HK$900,000 (US$116,000), up from HK$750,000 the previous year.
The chairman of the Charity Ball, Arbitration Chambers Hong Kong’s Gavin Denton, told China Business Law Journal most of the proceeds will go to the Society for Community Organisation and its programmes targeting so-called cage people, who live in desperately poor conditions amid the wealth of Hong Kong. The remainder of the money will support a new Vis (East) Moot programme that aims to run courses on international arbitration and trade law in developing countries.
“The purpose of the ball is for the legal community, and in particular the arbitration community, to give something back to Hong Kong. While the aim is obviously to raise money for people in our community who desperately need a helping hand, it also aims to raise awareness of the enormous inequities that exist in our society,” Denton said.
“We all have busy lives and we’re often travelling, so it can be difficult to find the time to do something positive for our community, so the ball gives us an opportunity once a year to contribute to the community we live in.”
Denton, also a member of China Business Law Journal’s editorial board, said a highlight of the evening was a speech from the guest of honour, Hong Kong’s chief secretary for administration and also chairwoman for the Commission on Poverty, Carrie Lam.