Transparent legal will set you free


As the Asian region continues to rise in significance on the world stage due to economic advancement, savvy entrepreneurship and the sound development of legal mainframes to support business development, there have remained four fledglings in particular that have stayed behind while other birds have flown.

Leader-ABLJ-21902-216x300The CMLV bloc of Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam have suffered from slow or stagnant growth due arguably to political dogmas and authoritarianism that have fed into corruption, nepotism and a lack of transparency – factors that stand like a neon warning sign for businesses keen to move in and boost trade and development.

Be it stale communist doctrine, the rule of the junta, or the strongarm tactics favoured by dictators towards any form of opposition, the economic fledglings in this nest have failed to grow the feathers needed to progress further and achieve the flying capabilities of its more flexible regional neighbours.

The bloc is learning, though, that developing sound business law can entice the investment they need to fly high. Learning to fly examines the four nations and their struggle to improve and develop the regulatory environment that is necessary for business, foreign and domestic, to prosper.

In Tipping point, we showcase the arguments of Lord Peter Goldsmith, former attorney-general of Britain and globally respected figure in the field of arbitration, as he rounds on changes planned under India’s 2018 Arbitration Bill. Lord Goldsmith recently gave an address to the 11th Annual International Arbitration Conclave in New Delhi, where he put a spirited case against changes to the law proposed in the bill.

“If these proposals are left to proceed without further discussion or compromise, they could deal a significant blow to India’s prospects as a home to arbitration,” he warns. This article is a must read for all those practising in the ADR sector.

In China’s Year of the Pig, Chinese companies are bound to face more regulatory pressure from both inside and outside the nation’s borders. Legal experts foresee the “era of compliance”. According to the findings of China Compliance Blueprint for 2017-2018, some 54% of state-owned enterprises and 35% of privately-owned companies have general compliance policies in place. However, no more than 20% are equipped with both tailor-made third-party compliance management and compliance due diligence policies.

2019 begins China’s era of compliance also explores some sobering lessons to be learned for counsel from some high-profiles cases.

Be sure to check out our A-List this issue for Malaysia’s Top 100 lawyers. Comments submitted to Asia Business Law Journal by the clients of these lawyers suggest that they are seeking lawyers not only with an extensive knowledge of the law, but also those who are client-orientated, have a great understanding of business needs and are culturally sensitive, sincere and highly trustworthy. In addition, most international clients seek out Malaysian lawyers who are commercially savvy, practical when giving advice, and who demonstrate passion for the profession.

Our successful Legal Frontiers series of articles continues, and in this issue legal experts are exploring the British Virgin Islands, one of the great success stories among the collection of offshore investment destinations. This series explores evolutions in cryptocurrencies and the digitalization of anti-money laundering laws in this jurisdiction.

Our Expert briefings are also well worth a look. We offer a very interesting briefing from Alan Taylor, CEO of the Cook Islands Financial Authority. Taylor explores an eventful evolution for this jurisdiction, from offshore outcast haven to the global leader in offshore investment that it is today. And our Taiwan briefing explores the Constitutional Court’s Interpretation No. 770 and the protection for minority shareholders.

Best wishes,

John Church
Editor, Asia Business Law Journal
Editor-in-chief, Vantage Asia