Professor (Way) Kuo, Professor Tang (Houzhi), Professor Wang (Guiguo), Dr (Rajesh) Sharma, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen:
First of all, thank you for inviting me to this Opening Ceremony. I am delighted and honoured to join you on this meaningful occasion of the 4th Annual International ADR Mooting Competition.
The importance and popularity of ADR, especially arbitration and mediation, are ever increasing within the international community and beyond. This "international" element is well reflected in this annual Competition. The Moot was initiated in 2010 by the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission ("CIETAC"), the Columbia Law School and the School of Law of the City University of Hong Kong. The combination of these 3 institutions is an interesting mix, as it comprises one institution from the East, one from the West, and one from Hong Kong which is an international city where East meets West.
This year, the "international" element of this Moot is further strengthened with its association with the UNCITRAL Regional Centre for Asia and the Pacific. The UNCITRAL is an important body within the United Nations system in the field of international trade law. The UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration is no stranger to the ADR community. In Hong Kong, our current Arbitration Ordinance, which came into effect in June 2011 with features incorporating the latest and best international practice, is based on the UNCITRAL Model Law. I am sure that the association with the UNCITRAL Regional Centre will further publicize this Mooting Competition more widely to the international community.
For years, Hong Kong has been a strong supporter of ADR. As reaffirmed in our latest Policy Address, the Hong Kong Government is firmly committed to reinforcing Hong Kong's status as a leading centre for legal and dispute resolution services in the Asia Pacific region. We provide an ADR-friendly environment, including top quality facilities (such as the hearing facilities in the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre), as well as a legal regime (such as the Arbitration Ordinance and the Mediation Ordinance) which facilitates the effective conduct of ADR whilst fully respecting party autonomy. In addition, we encourage internationally well-known ADR institutions, such as CIETAC and the International Court of Arbitration of the ICC, to set up centre or office in Hong Kong so as to foster a truly international ADR environment here. As the only common law jurisdiction in the Greater China region, coupled with our independent judiciary and our strong legal and ADR professions, Hong Kong is and will remain an attractive ADR venue in the Asia Pacific region.
To ensure that ADR will enjoy a sustainable development, the proper training of aspiring ADR practitioners is of crucial importance. This annual International ADR Mooting Competition provides a valuable platform for law students from different jurisdictions to enrich their experience and polish their skills in arbitral and mediation proceedings and, more importantly, to learn from each other through this interactive process. I have no doubt that this Mooting Competition deserves full support and recognition.
I am sure each of the participants has put in much effort to prepare for this Competition. Whilst the honour of winning the Moot cannot go to each and every participant, the experience obtained through the process is no less precious. Besides, let me encourage you to stay in touch with participants from other jurisdictions after completion of this Moot. Valuable friendship aside, an international network will be an effective way of staying in touch with the latest development in other jurisdictions. This will enable you to stay "international", which is of crucial importance in this globalized age.
By way of closing, may I wish the International ADR Mooting Competition another year of great success. May I also wish our overseas guests an enjoyable stay in Hong Kong.
Thank you very much.
Ends/Sunday, July 28, 2013