27 September 2019
SIAC-SHIAC Conference 2019
By Vicky Zhao, Partner, AnJie Law Firm

The SIAC-SHIAC Conference was held on 17 September 2019 in Shanghai with the theme “Effective Dispute Resolution for BRI Investments”, and attracted arbitrators, representatives of arbitration institutions, attorneys, and in-house counsel from both China and Singapore.

Mr Li Zhigang (Vice Chairman, Council for the Promotion of International Trade Shanghai; Vice Chairman, SHIAC) opened the session, reporting on the establishment of the Singapore-Shanghai Comprehensive Cooperation Council. He mentioned that this conference was held in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding signed by SHIAC and SIAC. Mr Chan Leng Sun, SC (Deputy Chairman, SIAC Board of Directors; Senior Counsel and Arbitrator, Essex Court Chambers Duxton) followed with the opening address. He introduced SIAC’s recent developments and practice. He held that the cooperation between SHIAC and SIAC would foster closer ties between arbitration professionals from Shanghai and Singapore.

Ms Chen Jingying (Vice President, East China University of Political Science and Law (ECUPL)) gave a special address. She said that the cooperation between arbitration institutions and universities would promote the development of commercial arbitration by nurturing legal talent and outstanding arbitration practitioners. SIAC signed the Memorandum of Understanding with ECUPL during the conference.

During the keynote speeches, Mr Yu Weifeng (Chairman, Shanghai Arbitration Association; Partner, Llinks Law Offices Shanghai Office/Hong Kong Office) introduced the establishment of Shanghai Arbitration Association, and Mr Hee Theng Fong (JP, Consultant, Eversheds Harry Elias LLP) compared different practices between common law and civil law jurisdictions on presenting and examining evidence.

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Members of the audience
Members of the audience

Panel Session I: Effective Dispute Resolution for BRI Investments

The first panel discussed effective dispute resolution for BRI investments. Mr Huang Ningning (Managing Partner, Grandall Law Firm) moderated a panel comprising Mr Guan Feng (Partner,King & Wood Mallesons Shanghai Office), Mr Hu Ke (Partner, Jingtian & Gongcheng), Mr John Liu (Senior Partner, AllBright Law Offices), Mr Prakash Pillai, (Partner, Clyde & Co Clasis Singapore), Mr Wang Zhao (Partner, JunHe Law Firm Shanghai Office) and Mr Wang Lingqi (Partner, Fangda Partners).

The panelists covered topics ranging from the benefits of arbitration for BRI disputes, considerations when selecting the arbitral seat and the venue, potential uses and enforceability of interim measures and emergency arbitrator decisions, considerations when appointing arbitrators, effective witnesses and the role of experts, to the role of mediation and Arb-Med-Arb for BRI disputes.

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Left to right: Zhiqiang Zou and Vicky Zhao
Left to Right: Wang Weijun, Guan Feng, Yu Weifeng, Chan Leng Sun, SC, Li Zhigang, Chen Jingying, Hee Theng Fong, JP, Jessica Fei and John Liu

Panel Session II: Comparative Perspectives on Arbitration in China and Singapore

The second panel, which was moderated by Mr Chan Leng Sun, SC, focused on comparative perspectives on arbitration in China and Singapore. The panelists, comprising Mr Chua Kee Loon (Partner, Allen & Gledhill LLP), Mr Hee Theng Fong, Mr Lei Shi (Partner, Clifford Chance), Ms Vicky Zhao (Member, YSIAC Committee; Partner, AnJie Law Firm) and Mr Zhiqiang Zou (Senior Partner, Dentons Law Offices (Shanghai), shared their views and perspectives. The discussion encompassed different approaches to cross-examination, document production and witness conferencing as well as cultural considerations on crossexamination of witnesses and experts, the differences between setting-aside and resisting enforcement of awards and the scrutiny process of draft awards.

Ms Jessica Fei (Member, SIAC Court of Arbitration; Partner, King & Wood Mallesons) and Ms Wang Weijun (Deputy Secretary-General, SHIAC) concluded the event with closing remarks.

The interactive and informative sessions gave arbitration practitioners from China and Singapore an interesting insight into the trend of harmonization of different practices in the field of international commercial arbitration.
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