On 1 Feb 2024, Professor Wei Shen (KoGuan Distinguished Professor of Law, Shanghai Jiao Tong University Law School) discussed the trends in China's bilateral investment treaties and the some of the challenges faced, sparking a lively debate with both the in-person and online audience. The session was moderated by Professor Mark McLaughlin, Global Visiting Assistant Professor at the Singapore International Dispute Resolution Academy.
Chinese Bilateral Investment Treaties at the Juncture
Regional Arbitral Institutes Forum Conference 2023
At the recent Regional Arbitral Institutes Forum Conference 2023 in Bangkok, Thailand, Singapore International Dispute Resolution Academy (SIDRA) Research Associate Angela Abala moderated a panel on investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) and ISDS reform. Dr Colin Ong KC, Jesusito Morallos, Toby Shnookal and Shin-Ichiro Abe shared their insights on the topic from an Asia-Pacific perspective.
Thailand ADR Week 2023
On 8th November 2023, Darius Chan (Associate Professor of Law (Practice)) spoke at the Thailand ADR Week on the impact of artificial intelligence on ADR and dispute resolution. Together with him on the panel are Aneesha Bhunjun, Ji En Lee and Kritiyanee Buranatrevedhya.
Guest Lecture at Jiangxi Shangrao Normal University
As part of its launch of a base to nurture talent for international trade and services, Darius Chan (Associate Professor of Law (Practice)) visited and gave a guest lecture to teachers, students and businesses, at Jiangxi Shangrao Normal University on international dispute resolution. The questions posed, ranging from non-participating respondents to hybrid arbitrations, showcased a hunger that augurs well for the future.
Lecture at Shanghai University of Political Science and Law comparing UNCITRAL Model Law against Draft Revised PRC Arbitration Law (Visiting Professor)
With thanks to Adolf Peter, Darius Chan (Associate Professor of Law (Practice)) had the privilege of interacting with the inaugural class of LLM students specialising in arbitration at Shanghai University of Political Science and Law in Shanghai.
Discussion on Economic Law and Arbitration at Xiamen University School of Law
With thanks to Dr. AN Shouhzi and AnJie Broad Law Firm, Darius Chan (Associate Professor of Law (Practice)) had fruitful discussions with the Vice-Dean and faculty members teaching international economic law and arbitration at Xiamen University School of Law to discuss collaboration between legal practice and academia moving forward.
Georgian International Arbitration Centre (GIAC) Arbitration Days
Singapore International Dispute Resolution Academy (SIDRA) participated in the Georgian International Arbitration Centre (GIAC) Arbitration Days in Tbilisi last week. GIAC Arbitration Days marked its 10th anniversary of bringing together eminent speakers, legal practitioners and admirers of international arbitration.
This year was no different. SIDRA's principal research fellow Mariam (Maka) Gotsiridze shared panels with Helene Gogadze Simon Batifort Michele Potestà and Mary Paralika to discuss current developments in ISDS. Mariam discussed the idea of multilateral investment treaty in view of recent developments in international investment protection and dispute settlement, including the Belt and Road Initiative, ECT modernisation, ICSID Rule amendment etc.
23rd China International Fair for Investment and Trade
On 7 September 2023, with thanks to the International Commercial Dispute Prevention and Settlement Organisation, Darius Chan (Associate Professor of Law (Practice)) attended the Third Forum of the Maritime Silk Road Central Legal District, the launch of the Integrated Base for Maritime Silk Road Legal and Business Services, and the 10th China-Central Asia Forum, in Xiamen, China. These events were organised in tandem with the 23rd China International Fair for Investment and Trade, showcasing Fujian’s energy in promoting itself as a key hub along the Maritime Silk Road.
Journal of Private International Law Conference
On 4 August 2023, Darius Chan (Associate Professor of Law (Practice)) joined distinguished speakers in SMU Yong Pung How School of Law for the Journal of Private International Law Conference. He discussed the implications of Anupam Mittal v Westbridge Ventures II Investment Holdings  SGCA 1 on determining arbitrability of disputes at the pre-award stage – to which he had acted as the amicus curiae on this matter.
The 2nd International Maritime Economy and Maritime Services Forum
On 19 July 2023, Darius Chan (Associate Professor of Law (Practice)) joined distinguished speakers in Ningbo, China for the 2nd International Maritime Economy and Maritime Services Forum. He discussed the intersection of arbitration, litigation and mediation, focusing on the recent developments and complications in med-arb or arb-med-arb frameworks around the region.
What’s New In International Commercial Mediation? Trends in International Commercial Mediation and Utilizing Mediation in Belt and Road Initiative Disputes
On 6 July 2023, SIDRA, the Indonesian Dispute Board (Dewan Sengketa Indonesia) and Universitas Al Azhar Indonesia held a seminar on trends in international commercial mediation, updates in mediation practice in Indonesia and utilizing mediation in Belt and Road Initiative disputes. Speakers include Angela Ray T. Abala (Research Associate, SIDRA), Sabela Gayo (President, Indonesia Dispute Board) and Nisa Istiani, S.H., MLI (Business Law Lecturer, Universitas Al Azhar Indonesia).
2023 CIBEL-SIDRA Joint Webinar: Dispute Resolution in the Belt Road Initiative – A New Model of Economic Governance?
On 31 May 2023, SIDRA jointly held a webinar with the UNSW China International Business and Economic Law (CIBEL) Centre. An in-depth discussion on China’s promotion of a new model of transnational economic governance through the Belt and Road Initiative was carried out. Speakers include Mark McLaughlin (Global Visiting Assistant Professor, SIDRA), Professor Mark Feldman (Peking University), Associate Professor Matthew Erie (University of Oxford), Professor Won Kidane (Seattle University), Professor Kun Fan (UNSW CIBEL Member Associate Professor).
The webinar saw a total of 191 registrations from around the world, with Australia holding the highest attendance, followed by China, Hong Kong and Singapore.
2023 Senior Symposium on Maritime Silk Road International Economic and Trade Arbitration
On 18 May 2023, Darius Chan (Associate Professor of Law (Practice)) joined distinguished speakers in discussing the new developments of the dispute resolution countries and regions along the Maritime Silk Road. He spoke on the recent changes in Singapore, including but not limited to the latest ratifications for the Singapore Convention, developments with the Singapore International Commercial Court and the upcoming revisions to the Singapore International Arbitration Centre Rules.
7th International Bar Association (IBA) Asia Pacific Conference
On 24 February 2023, Darius Chan (Associate Professor of Law (Practice)) discussed the issues arising from poorly drafted arbitration clauses and how the law in different jurisdictions has evolved to deal with them. Other panellists include Ila Kapoor, Amanda Lees and Harold Noh.
A Review of China’s Sustainable Development Goals through International Investment Agreements
On 11 January 2023, Professor Kun Fan (Associate Professor at UNSW Law and Justice, and Visiting Scholar at SIDRA) presented her research at the Yong Pung How School of Law in Singapore Management University. She spoke about the various provisions in different types of treaties when it comes to China’s sustainable development goals. Zhuo Jiaxiang (Director at Providence Law Asia LLC and co-head of the firm’s arbitration practice group) also helped to delve deeper into the topic alongside Professor Kun Fan, with Zhang Yuying (Research Associate at SIDRA) moderating the discussion.
ASIL Midyear Meeting
On November 10-12, 2022, Yueming YAN (Visiting Assistant Professor, SIDRA) presented her research at the American Society of International Law (ASIL) Midyear Meeting at the University of Miami, Florida, the United States. She spoke about dispute resolution mechanisms for sustainable development commitments in the existing trade and investment agreements. Other panelists include Rafael Porrata-Doria (Temple Law School), Wolfgang Alschner (University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law), Bing Cheng (University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law), and Kish Parella (Washington and Lee University School of Law).
Chinese Investment Disputes and Non-Adversarial Dispute Settlement, European China Law Studies Association Annual Conference, University of Copenhagen
On 21st September 2022, Mark McLaughlin (Global Visiting Assistant Professor, SIDRA), presented research on China’s new investment complaints handling system and the Chinese approach to investor-state mediation. The paper explores the role of non-adversarial dispute resolution mechanisms to resolve investment disputes in China and in Belt and Road countries. These more consensual processes may be more attuned to the comparatively loose institutional and norm structure of the Belt and Road Initiative.
ASIL IELIG Biennal Conference
On September 22-24, 2022, Yueming YAN (Visiting Assistant Professor, SIDRA) presented her research on labour, trade and Belt & Road Initiative at the American Society of International Law International Economic Law Interest Group Biennial Conference: Energy, Sustainability and The Future of International Economic Law. This event was co-organized by Texas A&M University School of Law.
Trade and Investment Integration: Shaping the Future of Asia Pacific, SMU-Asia Pacific Law Review Workshop
On October 25, 2022, Yueming YAN (Visiting Assistant Professor, SIDRA) presented her research on development of labour standards in Asia-Pacific free trade agreements at the SMU – Asia-Pacific Law Review Workshop (2022). Based on an empirical investigation, she presented that there is a clear trend of incorporating labour provisions in Asia-Pacific FTAs and the content of labour commitments has presented a great diversity.
Other speakers include Soo Yeon Kim (National University of Singapore), Deborah Elms (Asian Trade Center), Sherzod Shadikhodjaev (Korea Development Institute), Xueji Su (City University of Hong Kong), Prabhash Ranjan (OP Jindal Global University), Michelle Limenta (Universitas Pelita Harapan), Neha Mishra (Geneva Graduate Institute), Ana Maria Palacio Valencia (Parliament of Victoria), Thomas Streinz (New York University), and James Nedumpara (Indian Institute of Foreign Trade).
Opportunities and Growth Drivers in ASEAN’s Post-Pandemic Landscape amidst Geopolitical Uncertainties, RHT-CABA ASEAN Summit 2022
On 20 October 2022, Darius Chan (Associate Professor of Law (Practice)) discussed the updates and challenges in settling disputes across China and ASEAN. Together with other speakers like Professor Leslie Chew, SC (Senior Consultant, RHTLaw Asia) and Vivek Kathpali (Managing Director & CEO of Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas), he looked at the traditional and alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, including international commercial arbitration, recourse against arbitral awards and enforcement of foreign judgements.
EU-China Data Realms and the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment, Asian Society of International Law Conference – “Power and the Development of International Law”
On 31st July 2022, Mark McLaughlin (Global Visiting Assistant Professor, SIDRA), presented research on the protection and regulation of data within the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment. While early trade and investment agreements did not consider data relevant for the regulation of cross-border commerce, modern treaties are increasingly cognisant of rules for data protection. The presentation examines the link between data protection and investment flows and undertakes a comparative analysis of China’s Personal Information Protection Law and the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation. The data-related provisions of the CAI are placed in the context of other international investment treaties that seek to address the regulation of data flows.
Trade and Infrastructure, 29th ANZSIL Annual Conference – International Law and Global Inter-Connectedness
The COVID-19 crisis has caused a systematic disruption of labor resources and stagnant economy, which draws our attention to the trade-labor nexus. As an important aspect of human interconnectedness, trade-labor relations tie workers worldwide to the development of international economic order, exemplified by the rise of trade agreements with labor commitments. Despite the debate on the inclusion of labor standards in trade agreements to ensure workers’ fundamental rights, one can clearly observe that an increasing number of states are developing this practice in their recent free trade agreement (FTA)- making processes. While commentators have provided thorough studies of the typology and effectiveness of labor provisions developed by distinct states, there is still a lack of a consolidated assessment of the institutional frameworks for ensuring the compliance of these labor clauses. This paper attempts to provide such an assessment. First, it investigates whether there is a need to build a compliance mechanism within FTAs for provisions aiming at improving working conditions. It then illustrates the existing institutional options and exams their actual and potential effects. Finally, it makes suggestions on institutional design with a view to better implementing the labor commitments in FTAs. It argues that an effective oversight of enforcing labor principles demands an increased involvement of third parties (such as private entities) in the process and that a properly designed labor-compliance mechanism in FTAs complements those within the International Labor Organization context and bilateral labor cooperation agreements.
Other speakers present at the talk were Emma Palmer (Griffith Law School), Phillip McCalman (University of Melbourne), Laura Puzzello (Monash University), Tania Voon (Melbourne Law School), Andrew Walter (University Melbourne), Cristiano d’Orsi (University of Johanneburg), and Pallavi Kishore (Jindal Global Law School). The talk was moderated Esmé Shirlow (ANU College of Law).
Disputing Personal Data in the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment, Conference on EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment
On 11th July 2022, Mark McLaughlin (Global Visiting Assistant Professor, SIDRA), presented research on the respective data realms in China and the European Union, and how this is addressed by the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment. The paper explores the role of adversarial dispute resolution in moderating cross-border data transfers between China and the EU.
Is Data an Investment? Postgraduate and Early Professionals/Academics Network of the Society of International Economic Law (PEPA/SIEL)
On 9th June 2022, Mark McLaughlin (Global Visiting Assistant Professor, SIDRA), presented research examining whether data can be considered a protected investment, and therefore ‘arbitrated’, under investment treaties. This is part of a broader examination of the role of data protection and dispute resolution in the context of the Belt and Road. The theme of the panel was “International Economic Law and Digital Technologies”.
Advancing Predictability via a Judicialised Investment Court?, TNLF & SIDRA Junior Scholar Seminar Session 10.
On 25 May 2022, Yueming Yan (Visiting Assistant Professor at SIDRA) hosted a session on the reform of the Investor-State Dispute Settlement mechanism where Dr. Chen Yu (Postdoctoral Fellow at National University of Singapore) discussed her new paper published in the Journal of International Dispute Settlement. Through the lens of Constructivism, Dr. Yu argued that investment law lacks foundational shared understandings regarding its key legal obligations. As such, establishing a highly institutionalized dispute settlement mechanism may cause more legitimacy problems. She also compared the trade and investment law regimes to show the different contexts of them in terms of institutionalization. The talk was moderated by Xinhui Hong (PhD Candidate at the University of International Business and Economics, Faculty of Law).
Arbitration, Trade & Financial Risks: Conciliation and Adaptation, Graduate Law Conference – (Legal) Adaptation
In this presentation, Yueming Yan (Visiting Assistant Professor at SIDRA) talked about the intersection between labor and trade. More importantly, she presented the underexamined dispute resolution mechanisms for labor provisions currently included in free trade agreements. She focused on the approaches developed by China, ASEAN member states, the EU member states, and investigated the status of labor protection standards, along with the available dispute resolution mechanisms, in the BRI context. Other speakers present at the talk were Sophie Eastwood (Georgetown University Law Centre), Lucas Clover Alcolea (Cornell University), Guillaume Francois Larouche (University of Ottawa) and Frantisek Liptak (Independent Researcher). The talk was moderated by Professor Fabien Gelina (McGill University).
Rethinking International Investment Law’s Responses to Corruption: An Examination from the Global Governance Theory, Symposium on Supranational Responses to Corruption.
International investment law is facing significant challenges in combatting corruption in investment activities. This is a topical issue given the rise of mega projects, for instance, under the Belt and Road Initiative. Yueming Yan (Visiting Assistant Professor at SIDRA) talked about the current anti-corruption movement in international investment law by taking the perspective of global governance. Given the potential significant impacts of the BRI in advancing global governance, she addressed the roles of China and the BRI in the corruption prevention. Other speakers present at the talk were Rachel Brewster (Professor at Duke University, School of Law), Yarik Kryvoi (British Institute of International and Comparative Law), Vladimir Kozin (UNODC), Andres Sellitto Ferrari (University of Pittsburgh). The talk was moderated by Arbitrator Nikolaus Pitkowitz (partner at Pitkowitz & Partners).
Is China International Commercial Court International? An Empirical and Comparative Investigation, Fudan University Transnational Corporation Legal Forum, Transnational Corporation and International Commercial Dispute Resolution Series.
In this talk, Yueming Yan (Visiting Assistant Professor at SIDRA) discussed an important ‘hardware’ in settling disputes that may arise from the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) or from projects in the countries that participate in the BRI. In particular, she addressed the challenges of the China International Commercial Court (CICC) and examined its level of internationalization. Commentators present at the talk were Professor Wenliang Zhang (Associate Professor at Renmin University (China), Professor Lu Bu (Associate Professor at Soochow University (China)) and Dr. Zhenqiu Qian (Postdoctoral Fellow at Shanghai Jiao Tong University).
International Arbitration in Practice and Academia, TNLF (Transnational Law Frontiers) + SIDRA (Singapore International Dispute Resolution Academy Junior Scholar Seminar Session 8.
In this webinar, Dr. Anran Zhang (Deputy Director, ICC Arbitration & ADR for North Asia) talked about the state of art of international arbitration in practice and academia. He was presenting from the Asian perspectives and addressing China’s involvement. Yueming Yan (Visiting Assistant Professor at SIDRA) was moderating this session.
Challenges and Opportunities in International Dispute Settlement Mechanism, CIBEL Young Scholar Forum Webinar 3
On August 6, Yueming Yan (Global PhD Fellow at SIDRA) spoke at the CIBEL Young Scholar Forum Webinar 3 discussing challenges and opportunities in international dispute settlement mechanism, chaired by Professor Kun Fan (UNSW Herbert Smith Freehills CIBEL Centre). Yueming’s presentation focuses on the intersections between anti-corruption law and international investment arbitration, in particular under the global governance context. Other panellists include Chen Yu (National University of Singapore), Raymond Gao (Australia National University), Locas Clover Alcolea (Cornell University), and Yue Zhao (University of Geneva).
2021 International Law Association-American Society of International Law Asia-Pacific Research Forum
On 5 and 6 August 2021, SIDRA’s Yueming Yan and Mark McLaughlin presented their respective papers on Reimagining Investment-Plus Compliance: China’s Labour Story and The Digital Silk Road and Data Sovereignty: What Role for International Investment Law and Arbitration? at the 2021 International Law Association-American Society of International Law Asia-Pacific Research Forum. The theme of the Research Forum was “International Law and Post-Pandemic Asia: New Economic Challenges and Opportunities". Yueming Yan presented her paper under Panel 1: Asia’s New Legal Order: Roles of China and the United States. Mark presented his paper under Panel 4: Investment Agreements and Investor-State Disputes.
SIDRA BRI-TNLF Webinar on Investment Treaty Arbitrations involving Chinese Parties
On 8 August 2021, SIDRA and TNLF (Transnational Law Frontiers) jointly presented a webinar introducing investment treaty arbitrations involving Chinese parties. Zongyao Li (Associate, Shearman & Sterling) introduced four generations of Chinese investment treaties and their respective features. Zongyao also presented five investment cases where China is the respondent, and seven investment arbitration cases initiated by Chinese investors. Additionally, Zongyao provided deep analysis of Beijing Urban Construction Group v. Yemen by examining the four jurisdiction objections raised by Yemen and the tribunal’s reasoning. Yueming Yan (Global PhD Fellow, SIDRA) moderated this webinar. The panellist and attendees engaged in a lively discussion on many interesting topics, such as the role of the China International Commercial Court, dispute settlement mechanisms in the BRI context, and China’s contribution and attitude towards ISDS reform.
SIDRA BRI-TNLF Webinar on the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment
On 30 July 2021, SIDRA and TNLF (Transnational Law Frontiers) jointly presented a webinar introducing the dispute settlement mechanisms in the China-EU Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI). Chunlei Zhao (Postdoctoral Fellow, Institute for International Dispute Settlement, Tsinghua University) introduced the state-state dispute settlement in the existing CAI, the mechanism to address differences on matters covered under the sustainable development section, and ways of settling investor-state disputes that might be agreed upon by China and the EU. Yueming Yan (Global PhD Fellow at SIDRA) acted as a moderator. The panellist and attendees engaged in a lively discussion on multilateral investment court, confidentiality, alternative dispute resolution as well as China’s attitudes towards international dispute resolution and its practices along the implementation of the Belt & Road Initiative.
The 7th Biennial Global Conference of the Society of International Economic Law
The 7th SIEL Conference on Rethinking Global Economic Governance was held virtually from 7 – 9 July 2021. The event saw opening remarks from Peter Van den Bossche and Andrea Sironi. The opening keynote event saw Giorgio Sacerdoti interviewing Mario Monti, President of Bocconi University. The conference included several roundtables on international economic governance, including inter alia on the future of international investment regulation, the global minimum tax initiative, trade policy etc. Closing remarks for the conference were delivered by Isabelle Van Damme and Markus Wagner, SIEL Executive Vice Presidents.
Mark McLaughlin (Global Visiting Assistant Professor, Singapore Management University and SIDRA) spoke on Panel VIII: The Challenges of Regulating the Behaviour of State-Owned Enterprises, moderated by Suresh Nanwani (Professor, Durham University). Mark presented on ‘Regulating State-owned Enterprises in Chinese Investment Treaties’. Other distinguished panellists include Freya Baetens (Professor of Public International Law, Oslo/Leiden University), Wei Yin (Associate Professor, Southwest University of Political Science and Law) and Lu Wang (Lecturer, University of New South Wales).
ICC Annual Arbitration & ADR Conference: Connecting the World of International Arbitration & ADR
The ICC Annual Arbitration & ADR Conference: Connecting the World of International Arbitration & ADR took place on 23rd – 25th June 2021. One of the key findings of the 2021 White & Case and Queen Mary University International Arbitration Survey is that Singapore has become the joint top-preferred seat in the world for international arbitrations, alongside London. Webinar 6 of the Conference discusses Singapore as the preferred seat: A blip or an unstoppable force, and how should young arbitration practitioners view the trend?
Moderated by Guy Pendell, speakers Philippa Charles, Abraham Vergis SC, Darius Chan, Jelita Pandjaitan and Koh Swee Yen shared their views at this session. The distinguished speakers spoke about the rise of Singapore as a preferred seat and the reasons and factors for its success. They also discussed whether Singapore has what it takes to maintain its ranking and the implications of Singapore and Hong Kong (which also gained popularity compared to its 2018 ranking) as preferred seats for businesses, law firms and lawyers. Finally, having regard to where arbitrations are being seated, the session also touched on what young arbitration practitioners should take into consideration as they develop their practice.
SIDRA Webinar: China’s Investment Treaty Policy and Practice: Arbitration Clauses limited to Compensation due to Expropriation
On 3 June 2021, SIDRA hosted a webinar on China’s Investment Treaty Policy and Practice: Arbitration Clauses limited to Compensation due to Expropriation. Allison Goh (Research Associate, SIDRA) acted as moderator. Dr. Matteo Vaccaro-Incisa (Head, International Law & Arbitration, Carnelutti Law Firm) provided an in-depth examination of arbitration clauses limited to compensation due to expropriation in China’s investment treaties, and explored the limitations of such clauses. In doing so, Dr. Matteo compared and evaluated the relevant case law, including court decisions from Singapore, Stockholm, and London. Jonathan Lim (Counsel, WilmerHale) provided commentary from a practitioner perspective. As experienced counsel in both commercial and investment arbitrations across common law and civil law jurisdictions, Jonathan raised thought-provoking issues and the webinar concluded with insightful comments from both speakers.
Asian Society of International Law 8th Biennial Conference: What place for international law in the Asian future?
The Asian Society of International Law 8th Biennial Conference was held from 24 – 28 May 2021, consisting of a diverse mix of presentation panels and in-depth speaker sessions. The conference explored the role of international law in managing the challenges faced by post-pandemic Asia and sought to identify and address key legal issues relating to the place of international law in the future of Asia.
Mark McLaughlin (Global Visiting Assistant Professor at SMU) spoke on Day 1 of the conference on a panel discussing international economic law, chaired by Imogen Saunders (The Australian National University). Mark’s presentation was titled ‘Is Covid-19 a catalyst for investor-state mediation? The case of belt and road disputes’. Other distinguished speakers included Salamah Ansari (Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode) and Jagna Mucha (University of Warsaw).
Allison Goh (Research Associate, SIDRA) spoke on Day 2 of the conference, on a panel on Investment Law chaired by Vivienne Bath (Centre for Asian and Pacific Law, Sydney Law School). Allison spoke about green financing disputes under the Belt and Road Initiative.Other distinguished speakers included Jose-Miguel Bello y Villarino (Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Spain)/ University of Sydney), Juan Du (Xi’an Jiaotong University) and Munkhselenge Purevdorj (National University of Mongolia).
YSIAC-CIArb YMG Webinar: Popular or Polar Opposites? Perceptions about Arbitration Practice from the US and Singapore
Darius Chan (Associate Professor of Law, SMU Yong Pung How School of Law, Deputy Director of SIDRA) spoke at the YSIAC-CIArb YMG Webinar on 7 May 2021. The webinar titled ‘Popular or Polar Opposites? Perceptions about Arbitration Practice from the US and Singapore’ allowed panellists, Darius Chan, Justin R. Rassi (Associate, Debevoise & Plimpton), Samantha Tan (Senior Associate, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer) and Kirsten Teo (Senior Legal Consultant, De Almeida Pereira DC) to exchange perspectives about the practice of arbitration from various parts of the globe, focusing on how clients and lawyers in the US and in Singapore perceive arbitration. The discussion touched on the effectiveness of arbitration as a mechanism for dispute resolution, the enforceability of arbitral awards, and Singapore common law versus US common law practice in various areas of arbitration. The panellists also discussed their experiences in practice and networking. The diverse audience consisted of arbitrators, in-house counsel, legal practitioners, and students. The engaging discussion was moderated by Adriana Uson (Head (Americas), Singapore International Arbitration Centre).
SIDRA Webinar: Practical Tips for Younger Practitioners on China-Related Disputes
On 30 March 2021, SIDRA presented a webinar on practical tips for younger practitioners on China-related disputes. The webinar focused on a practitioner perspective with regards to China-related disputes. The distinguished speakers included Crystal Wong (Partner, Lee Hishammuddin Allen & Gledhill), Nelson Goh (Senior Associate, Debevoise & Plimpton) and Sophia Feng (International Counsel, Allen & Gledhill). The speakers shared their practical experiences and anecdotes, having represented Chinese clients in various jurisdictions, including the United Kingdom, Malaysia, China, and Singapore. The discussion touched on the entire life cycle of a dispute, from pitching clients, the pre-trial process, the proceedings and finally, the enforcement process. The lively and interactive session was moderated by Rachel Tan (Research & Development Operations Lead, SIDRA).
SIDRA Webinar on the China International Commercial Court
The China International Commercial Court (CICC) Is an integral part of the BRI dispute settlement discourse. On 9 March 2021, SIDRA presented a webinar on the China International Commercial Court (CICC). In 2018, China launched the CICC, a one-stop dispute-resolution platform that integrates litigation, mediation, and arbitration. Dr Jiang Huiqin (Associate Professor, Zhejiang Sci-Tech University, Visiting Faculty, SMU School of Law) gave insight into the workings of the CICC by analysing its legal design, latest developments, and practical operations. Dinesh Dhillon (Co-Head, Allen & Gledhill’s International Arbitration Practice) provided a comparative angle to the discussion by sharing his recent experience as counsel in Kiri Industries Ltd v Senda International Capital Limited and another  SGHC(I) 27 before the Singapore International Commercial Court (SICC). Ryce Lee (Research Associate, SIDRA) acted as moderator for the informative discussion, as Dr Jiang and Dinesh shared their perspectives on the role of international commercial courts in the BRI dispute resolution landscape.
SIDRA-CIBEL Webinar on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership
The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is the world’s largest Free Trade Agreement. Members include the 10 ASEAN nations, Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea. Together, the RCEP members comprise nearly 30% of the global population and global GDP. The RCEP is relevant to BRI dispute resolution because of China’s involvement. The RCEP is an instrument that both outbound and inbound investors along the BRI can tap on, and the RCEP has its own set of dispute settlement mechanisms.
On 4 February 2021, SIDRA and UNSW Law & Justice’s Herbert Smith Freehills China International Business and Economic Law (CIBEL) Centre jointly presented a webinar introducing the RCEP. The webinar provided participants with an overview on the RCEP’s trade implications, with a specific focus on its impact on international dispute settlement in the region. Heng Wang (Professor at UNSW Law & Justice, Co-Director of HSF CIBEL Centre) introduced participants to the RCEP and its trade implications. Mark McLaughlin (Global Visiting Assistant Professor at SMU) discussed investment protections under the RCEP. Kun Fan (Associate Professor at UNSW Law & Justice) delved into the RCEP's implications on international dispute settlement. Guillermo García-Perrote (Senior Associate at Herbert Smith Freehills) provided commentary from a practitioner perspective, as an international arbitration lawyer specialising in infrastructure and energy disputes. Allison Goh (Research Associate, SIDRA) acted as moderator. The webinar concluded with questions from webinar attendees and a lively discussion among the panellists, touching on topics such as investor-state dispute settlement mechanisms, the function of parallel multilateral treaties in the region, the role of the Singapore Convention in expediting the use of mediation and further discussion on the trade implications of the RCEP. The webinar was well-received by participants hailing from 21 countries and territories around the world.
SIDRA-SMULA Webinar: Not Your Average Covid-19 Webinar
On 29 January 2021, SIDRA co-organised a webinar, moderated by Kevin Tan (Partner, Rajah and Tann Singapore LLP), welcoming distinguished panellists Ng Jern-Fei QC (Queens’ Counsel, Essex Court Chambers) and Chen Xiaoshan (Partner, DLA Piper Shanghai) and Chan Wei Jian (Barrister, Essex Court Chambers). This webinar featured BRI dispute resolution and explored the substantive similarities and differences between how Chinese law and the common law (eg, English, Hong Kong and Singapore law) would handle different issues relating to both liability and quantum that would arise in disputes, especially against the context of the current Covid-19 pandemic. Practical suggestions for dispute prevention were discussed, such as the use of certifying documents, including the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) force majeure certificates as proof of the facts related to force majeure in disputes governed by PRC law, and how indeterminacy arising because of COVID-19 could potentially be managed as a matter of procedure.
SIDRA-BIICL Webinar: Implications of China’s Doctrine of Strict State Immunity on Belt & Road Disputes
On 5 November 2020, SIDRA and the British Institute of International and Comparative Law (BIICL) jointly presented a webinar on the Implications of China’s Doctrine of Strict State Immunity on Belt & Road Disputes. Charles Tay (Singaporean-qualified lawyer, Zhong Lun Law Firm) provided participants with an overview of the concept of strict state immunity and potential applications in relation to disputes under the Belt and Road. Chiann Bao (Independent Arbitrator and Honorary Senior Fellow of BIICL), provided commentary from her perspective as a seasoned arbitrator currently based in Hong Kong. Duncan Speller (Partner, Litigation/Controversy Department, WilmerHale), provided his perspective as counsel who has been involved in some of the leading cases on state immunity issues, in multiple jurisdictions including England and the DIFC. The webinar also dealt with effects of crown immunity in Hong Kong, immunity disputes that may arise in the BRI context in relation to state-owned-enterprises and issues of waiver and other possible mechanisms for dealing with immunity. The thought-provoking webinar was moderated by Allison Goh (Research Associate, SIDRA). The webinar was attended by dispute resolution practitioners, in-house counsel, academics, and students from 22 countries and territories around the world.
SMU-Fudan University Webinar Series: New Developments in Advanced Legal Education
This webinar jointly organised by SMU and Fudan focused on Dispute Resolution, and in particular, dealt with comparative analysis between Chinese law and common law. Specifically, Darius Chan (SMU) spoke on issues concerning the governing law of the arbitration agreement, using a case study involving parties arbitrating a dispute in Shanghai, and showcasing how that case had spawned decisions in both the Singapore and Chinese Courts. Dr. Xiong Hao (Associate Professor, Fudan Law School) in turn spoke about developments on the use of mediation in China, and his thoughts on whether the Singapore Convention could take off. Dr. Cai Congyan (Professor, Fudan Law School) spoke about the judicial training and upskilling of judges in China to handle international disputes.
SIDRA Webinar: China and International Adjudication – China’s Approach in its Investor-State and Inter-State Disputes
On 9 October 2020, SIDRA hosted a webinar on China and International Adjudication, focusing on China's approach in its investor-state and inter-state disputes. Professor Chester Brown (Professor of International Law and International Arbitration, University of Sydney Law School, Barrister at 7 Wentworth Selborne Chambers and Essex Court Chambers) spoke on litigation and arbitration and Dr. Mark McLaughlin (Global Visiting Assistant Professor, SMU School of Law) discussed mediation and dispute resolution mechanisms under the Belt and Road Initiative. The panellists also provided their perspectives on key investor-state cases to which China has been a party. Moderated by Rachel Tan (Research & Development Operations Lead, SIDRA), the panellists and participants engaged in a lively discussion on conciliation and mediation as well as China's approach to investor-state dispute settlement, before the webinar came to a close.
SIDRA-ITI Webinar: The Belt and Road Initiative: Maritime Silk Road
On 17 September 2020, SIDRA and International Trading Institute (ITI) jointly presented a webinar on the Belt and Road Initiative: Maritime Silk Road. Dr. Mark McLaughlin (Global Visiting Assistant Professor, SMU School of Law), kickstarted the discussion with an introduction to the Maritime Silk Road. Punit Oza (Registrar of Singapore Chamber of Maritime Arbitration, Board member of Klaveness Asia Pte Ltd) and Louisa Follis (Senior Analyst, Clarksons Platou), provided their perspectives as seasoned shipping and maritime experts, on the commercial impact of the Maritime Silk Road on shipping routes and trade. The webinar was moderated by Baldev Bhinder (Managing Director, Blackstone & Gold), a legal expert in the commodities sector. The webinar concluded with a lively Q&A with webinar participants, as the panellists shared their concluding thoughts on the Maritime Silk Road and its foreseeable impact on trade, business and dispute resolution in the region.
SMU Conference on Global Public-Private Law Approaches to the Covid-19 Pandemic
On 10 September 2020, Allison Goh (Research Associate, SIDRA) and Shouyu Chong (Research Fellow, SIDRA) were selected to speak at the Conference on Public-Private Law Approaches to the COVID-19 Pandemic, hosted by SMU School of Law. Under Session 5 dealing with “Commercial Law and Litigation in Extraordinary Times” chaired by Dr Ardavan Arzandeh of the University of Bristol, Allison Goh presented a paper with the theme “Technology as the New Normal: Challenges and Implications for Dispute Resolution under the Belt and Road Initiative”, where she surveyed the increasing role technology was playing in BRI dispute resolution, and in particular, among Chinese arbitral institutions. Shouyu, on the other hand, presented on “International Commercial Litigation of Contractual Disputes Precipitated by the Covid-19 Economic Crisis”.
SIDRA Webinar: Conflict of Laws in BRI Disputes: A Comparative Approach
On 14 July 2020, SIDRA held a webinar on Conflict of Laws in BRI Disputes: A Comparative Approach. Panellists Professor Darius Chan (Deputy Director of SIDRA, Director of SMULA), Dr. Christopher Boog (Vice Chair of International Arbitration Practice Group, Schellenberg Wittmer), and Patrick Zheng (Head of Dispute Resolution Practice, LLinks Law Offices) discussed conflict of laws issues in the BRI context. The event was moderated by Allison Goh (Research Associate, SIDRA), and saw participants tuning in from 27 countries and territories around the world. The panellists discussed conflict of laws issues relating to determination of the law of the governing contract, the law of the arbitration agreement, and the competing choices of law in interim measures. The webinar provided a substantive, yet practice-oriented review of the approach taken in relation to resolving conflict of law issues from the common law, Chinese, Swiss, and German law perspectives.
SIDRA Event: Commercial Mediation in China
On 14 February 2020, SIDRA held a talk headlined by Heng Wang (Professor at UNSW Law & Justice) on the topic of commercial mediation in China. Professor Wang gave an insightful presentation, introducing participants to cross-border commercial mediation in China. Professor Wang provided an overview of key commercial mediation institutions in China, their functions, and interactions with the courts. Professor Wang also spoke on the role of commercial mediation in the Belt & Road Initiative, and the foreseeable impact of the Singapore Convention of Mediation. Professor Wang concluded his talk with the challenges faced by the expansion of commercial mediation in China, as well as his thoughts on the future of commercial mediation in China and its impact on the Belt & Road Initiative.