DSJ strengthens HK-UNCITRAL co-operation and promotes Hong Kong as talent hub in practice of international law in Vienna (with photos)
The Deputy Secretary for Justice, Mr Cheung Kwok-kwan, continued his visit to Europe. On March 7 (Vienna time), he arrived at Vienna, Austria, to strengthen co-operation with the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), in particular the promotion of online dispute resolution (ODR) under the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and the nurturing of Hong Kong’s talents in the practice of foreign-related legal affairs, with a view to contributing to the country’s relevant work and consolidating Hong Kong’s status as the centre for international legal and dispute resolution services in the Asia-Pacific region.
Mr Cheung met with the Secretary of the UNCITRAL, Ms Anna Joubin-Bret, to discuss further collaboration between the two sides. The meeting agreed to hold in Hong Kong the 5th Asia Pacific Judicial Summit on November 6 and 7 this year, enabling judges and legal practitioners of different regions to gather to exchange views on various topics, such as dispute resolution on investment. The event will also be one of the highlights of this year’s Hong Kong Legal Week, which will garner attention from the Asia-Pacific region’s judiciaries and legal communities.
The UNCITRAL, the core legal body of the United Nations system in the area of international trade law, has been working in commercial law reform worldwide for over 50 years with a view to harmonising and modernising various international commercial rules. It has been working closely with the Department of Justice (DoJ) in recent years, including the set up of the Inclusive Global Legal Innovation Platform on ODR (iGLIP on ODR) to facilitate studies on ODR-related issues.
Mr Cheung stressed that the DoJ attached the utmost importance to the co-operation with the three renowned international organisations on private international law, among which is the UNCITRAL. Hence, the DoJ decided to visit these organisations in its first overseas visit after Hong Kong has resumed normalcy, with a view to deepening mutual co-operation.
He expressed his gratitude to the UNCITRAL for its support in its secondment programme with the DoJ, which enables DoJ officers to take part in the UNCITRAL’s work and enhance their knowledge of international legal matters, strengthening Hong Kong’s capacity in foreign-related legal affairs.
He was also pleased to learn that the seconded DoJ officers with expertise in the common law have played a positive role in the work of the UNCITRAL, highlighting that this was a vivid example of Hong Kong’s unique strengths under “one country, two systems”.
Mr Cheung also called on the Permanent Representative and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China to the United Nations Office at Vienna and Other International Organizations in Vienna, Mr Li Song, and the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China to the Republic of Austria, Ms Qi Mei. He updated them of the latest legal developments in Hong Kong, and took the opportunity to learn about the recent situation in various aspects of the United Nations and Austria.
After a day’s stay in Vienna, Mr Cheung has departed for Geneva, Switzerland, today (March 8, Vienna time) to continue his visit.
Ends/Wednesday, March 8, 2023
Issued at HKT 19:55
The Hong Kong Department of Justice (DSJ) has announced further steps to strengthen the cooperation between Hong Kong and the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL). The announcement was made during a meeting in Geneva between DSJ Secretary for Justice Wong Yan Lung and Secretary General of UNCITRAL, Professor Dr. Hans Van Loon.
The move is part of the government of Hong Kong’s strategy to promote Hong Kong as a strong centre of legal expertise. Under the terms of the agreement, the DSJ will collaborate with UNCITRAL to offer training and capacity building opportunities for local practitioners in the field of international trade law. It will also provide pro bono advice to UNCITRAL and its members, to promote knowledge and understanding of UNCITRAL’s work.
The agreement further cements the bilateral relationship between Hong Kong and UNCITRAL, which began with an earlier Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2003. The new agreement reiterates the commitment of both parties to work together to promote the settlement of international trade disputes by way of alternative dispute resolution methods, including arbitration and mediation.
The move is an indication of the government’s commitment to ensuring that Hong Kong remains a leading international arbitration centre in the region. Hong Kong’s well-developed legal infrastructure, combined with its reputation for judicial independence, has made it a prime choice for multinational businesses seeking resolution of their dispute outside the confines of a court.
The move is also seen as a way of furthering the cause of human capital development in Hong Kong. By providing capacity building and advice to legal practitioners, the DSJ and UNCITRAL are looking to strengthen the talent pool of lawyers practising international trade law in Hong Kong, resulting in a wider range of services and better outcomes for businesses looking to resolve their disputes.
Overall, the new agreement between the DSJ and UNCITRAL is an example of the government’s commitment to establishing Hong Kong as a leading centre for legal services and expertise in the region. The measures taken by both parties to promote knowledge and understanding of UNCITRAL’s work, while strengthening the talent pool of lawyers practising in the field of international trade law, will be beneficial to business organisations looking to resolve their disputes in a peaceful and cost-effective manner.