Harness our strengths in deal-making and dispute resolution under the latest Budget

The Financial Secretary just delivered the latest Budget on Wednesday. The Department of Justice would foster the policy initiatives relating to “Diversified Economy” and continue our on-going works. The Inclusive Dispute Avoidance and Resolution Office (IDAR Office, email: idar@doj.gov.hk), which was set up in January last year, is to better coordinate and implement initiatives in the areas of dispute avoidance and resolution, thereby further consolidating our position as an international legal and dispute resolution services centre in the Asia Pacific region.

The Department of Justice has always been actively striving for the presence of international dispute resolution bodies in Hong Kong in order to meet the upsurge in demand for legal and dispute resolution services arising from the Belt and Road Initiative and the Greater Bay Area Plan. Their presence in Hong Kong would also enhance our status as a leading centre for international legal and dispute resolution services. With the support of the Central People’s Government, we are now exploring the possibility for the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization (AALCO) to establish a regional centre for international commercial arbitration in Hong Kong.

Last year, the inter-sessional meetings of the Judgments Project of the Hague Conference on Private International Law were successfully concluded in Hong Kong. This invaluable experience has reinforced our determination in looking for decision-making meetings of international and intergovernmental organisations to be held in Hong Kong, including hosting the 59th Annual Session of AALCO and an intersessional meeting of UNCITRAL’s Working Group III this year. High ranking government officials and legal experts from member states would take part in these meetings to discuss matters such as maritime law and cyber space law.

In addition, we are committed to strengthening Hong Kong’s status as a regional capacity building centre which seeks to enhance legal infrastructure in the neighbouring regions and facilitate cross-border mobility and business activities. For instance, the Department of Justice organised the Investment Law and Investor-State Mediator Training Course for two consecutive years since 2018. World-renowned trainers were invited to share with the participants their experience in international investment law and investor-state mediation. We would be stepping up our efforts in organising capacity building courses in dispute resolution.

At the same time, the Department of Justice has reached an agreement with the Hague Academy of International Law, one of the world’s leading academic institutes on international law, to support them in organising law courses in Hong Kong regularly in collaboration with the Asian Academy of International Law from this year. We anticipate this cooperation would provide Hong Kong and the neighbouring regions with high quality training for legal professionals, which helps further raise our international profile.

Looking ahead, colleagues in the Department of Justice would keep pursuing cooperation or partnership agreements with other jurisdictions and international organisations and host important events in Hong Kong, with a view to raising the international profile of Hong Kong in deal-making and dispute resolution through overseas capacity building and promotional activities.

March 1, 2020