2014 INTERNATIONAL MEETING
One Country, Two Systems: Legend or Reality?
It has often been said that if Hong Kong has a defining ideology, it is the rule of law. Under the concept of “One Country, Two Systems,” Hong Kong has retained its common law system, which was in effect before the transfer of sovereignty in 1997. Adherence to the common law, rules of equity, ordinances, subordinate legislation and customary law have all been maintained. Access to justice has also been improved, with the power of final adjudication vested in Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal, replacing the role of the Privy Council in London. This session will focus on the developments that have taken place in Hong Kong’s legal system since 1997, and the challenges that remain in securing Hong Kong’s place as a leading international commercial and financial center, providing a secure environment for individuals and organizations and a level playing field for business.
Speaker: Audrey Eu, Senior Counsel & Chairman, Hong Kong Civic Party
“One Country, Two Systems” Legend or Reality
Ongoing Judicial Reform & Significant Regulatory Developments in China
China’s efforts to thwart corruption and anticompetitive practices dominated headlines last year. Multinational companies and industrial giants were investigated or sanctioned for corporate misdeeds that had been growing increasingly commonplace. While law enforcement agencies are flexing their regulatory muscle to rein in the excesses of China’s rapidly developing economy, the country’s Supreme Court too is taking the initiative to make significant changes in the courtroom. This session will focus on recent changes in the way the judicial system is handling corruption and antitrust matters, highlight several notable examples of local reform programs, and describe the aggressive enforcement actions being undertaken by the government to signal its determination to establish a more ethical culture in China’s corporate community.
Speaker: Martin Hu, Partner, Martin Hu & Partners (Shanghai, China)
Evolving with China: An Introduction to Significant Developments in China’s Judiciary and Enforcement Actions
What In-house Counsel in Asia Pacific Companies Are Looking for in Outside Counsel
At companies based in China and Hong Kong, the role of in-house counsel is still a work in progress. Business cultures built around inside access or traditions of state control have meant that in-house lawyers have far less defined roles, are fewer in number, and are generally lower down the corporate hierarchy than they would be in the West. Regional in-house lawyers at multinationals often face similar hurdles and must also straddle the reality on the ground with the expectations and demands of management back home. This session will focus on how in-house counsel in Asia Pacific companies see their roles, what changes they have seen, and how they see the position continuing to evolve – from the point of view of someone who as an active member of the Hong Kong Corporate Counsel Association has gotten to know and understand the Hong Kong in-house bar very well.
Speaker: Christopher To, Executive Director, Hong Kong Construction Industry Council
Global Trends in the Legal Market & Asia’s Influence: Critical Factors for Success
China’s economy offers boundless potential. But restrictions on the work of foreign law firms are among many obstacles to sharing in its success. As Chinese businesses expand overseas, international law firms have been heading to the Land of the Dragon in ever greater numbers. An anti-corruption drive by authorities in the People’s Republic of China is creating new business opportunities for lawyers, foreign and local, too. But in this huge and still fast-growing economy, pressure on fees and bureaucracy make it a challenge to turn a profit. This session will focus on strategies Western lawyers and other businesses have used to succeed in the world’s second-largest economy, and the adjustments many of them have had to make to ensure their success.
Speaker: Alan Hodgart, Managing Director, Hodgart Associates
Global Trends in the Legal Market and Asia’s Influence: Critical Factors for Success
International Arbitration: Pitfalls & Possibilities
By providing a neutral forum and a means of enforcing any subsequent awards, international arbitration represents one of the best methods of resolving contract disputes with foreign parties. However, resolving international business disputes through arbitration raises issues that merit special consideration. Among the topics to be addressed in this presentation are: When should resort to arbitration be made? Which rules should govern the proceedings? How many arbitrators should be used? What type of background and experience should an arbitrator have? What steps can practitioners take to make certain the process runs smoothly?
Speaker: Teresa Cheng, GBS, SC, JP, Chairperson, Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre
International Arbitration: Pitfalls and Possibilities
Doing Business in Hong Kong: Gateway to Mainland China
Ranked the “World’s Freest Economy” for close to two decades, Hong Kong is a regional business hub in Asia. Its proximity to mainland China, its similarities in terms of culture, social customs and language, and its international business environment have made it an ideal base for foreign investors to enter the Chinese market. These characteristics also help mainland investors to invest in regional and global markets. Hong Kong continues to be Asia’s second largest and the world’s third largest foreign direct investment recipient. Based on the World Bank’s Doing Business survey, Hong Kong is ranked second in the world in terms of ease of doing business. This session will provide an overview of the business opportunities in Hong Kong, particularly when using the city as a gateway to and from mainland China.
Speaker: Simon Galpin, Director-General of Investment Promotion, Invest Hong Kong
Where Business Goes to Grow
Advancing Hong Kong’s Economic Interests Through Legal Cooperation with Mainland China
In March 2011, the 11th National People’s Congress passed the 12th Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development, according Hong Kong a formal role in the development of China. As a result, Hong Kong has become a conduit to funnel capital, high-caliber talent, and technology into China from all over the world, while also introducing China’s enterprises, products, and services to the global market. This session will focus on the part Hong Kong’s sophisticated legal expertise, internationally recognized regulatory standards, independent judiciary, and effective alternative dispute resolution system have played in facilitating foreign direct investment in China and provide a look at what lies ahead.
Speaker: Frank Poon, Hong Kong Solicitor General, Hong Kong, China
Leveraging on Hong Kong’s Cooperative Arrangements with Mainland China
What CIETAC Means to Our Clients
This session will feature a discussion on arbitration in mainland China and Hong Kong under the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC). Headquartered in Beijing, CIETAC has sub-commissions in Shenzhen, Shanghai, Tianjin and Chongqing, and resolves economic and trade disputes by means of arbitration. CIETAC and its sub-commissions constitute a single arbitration institution, using the same set of arbitration rules and the same panel of arbitrators. Its awards are recognized and enforced in more than 140 countries. The panel will highlight practical techniques for the timely and cost-effective handling of mainland and Hong Kong arbitral proceedings including issues of jurisdiction, choice of counsel and tribunal consolidation, oral hearing, evidence and experts, and costs, as well as judicial approaches to challenges to the validity of arbitral agreements, interim measures, and the setting aside and enforcement of awards.
Moderator: Gerald Sweeney, Partner, Barnes & Thornburg (Indiana)
Presenters: Kent Chong, Partner, Lily Fenn & Partners (Hong Kong, China)
Amy Liu, Legal Counsel, China Electronics Shenzhen Company
Shen Xiangman, Partner, Wang Jing & Co.
Wang Wenying, Secretary General, CIETAC Hong Kong Arbitration Center
What Does CIETAC Mean to Its Users?