Evidence has found that thinking creatively and resolving disputes is enhanced by environmental factors. This understanding is clearly reflected in the design of Conflict Change Consulting‘s new office in Hong Kong. Its founder Sala Sihombing put careful thought into the impact of “light, color and design on productivity.” This thinking has manifested itself in a beautiful open space that it at once calming and energizing, open and welcoming. Have a look at some of the office photos here.
Dr. Liu Xiaochun, the Secretary General of the South China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (SCIA) shared his observations on new mediation developments in China. He described 7 general mechanisms available to parties:
1. Arb-Med-Arb which allows for the use of mediation during the course of arbitration proceedings at the parties or tribunals initiative. This has been used to settle over 20% of SCIA cases from 1993-2007. In order to address the issue of compromised arbitrator neutrality in the event of a failed mediation, the 2012 SCIA rules allow parties to decide if the mediating arbitrator should resign from the panel. Also, all opinions expressed during the course of the mediation can not be invoked in the subsequent arbitration hearings. The SCIA arbitration panel is comprised of 232 arbitrators from 42 jurisdictions.
2. Mediation + Arbitration – via SCIA’s specialized mediation center followed by a separate arbitration process. At present, the mediation panel consists of 242 members.
3. Chamber of Commerce Mediation + SCIA Arbitration – this is mediation targeted primarily to foreign investor disputes.
4. Exhibition Mediation + SCIA Arbitration – this method is used to resolve IP disputes arising at the Canton Trade Fair. Since its inception, 622 disputes were resolved through this method between 2008-2013.
5. HK Mediation + Mainland Arbitration – is what the name implies – mediation in Hong Kong and Arbitration in China. This provides for cross border enforcement of awards.
6. 4 in 1 Model – Mediation, Arbitration, Industry Specific DR, Administrative Regulation – used primarily in disputes between securities dealers and clients.
7. Non-Tribunal Facilitated Mediation – consisting of an alliance between Guandong/HK mediation entities.
Dr. Xu noted that he sees independent mediation and independent arbitration services as the emerging trend for future dispute resolution in Mainland China.
For those interested in further honing your dispute resolution skills, the Università degli Studi di Milano (Italy) and Universidade Nova de Lisboa (Portugal) are jointly organizing the 2nd edition of the Summer School on Transnational Dispute Resolution.
The program will take place from 16 September 2014 in the beautiful settings of Palazzo Feltrinelli at Gargnano (Brescia), on the shores of Lake of Garda (Italy) and in the city of Lisbon. The Summer School is structured in three different modules on Mediation, International Commercial Arbitration and Transnational Litigation respectively. The first and the second modules will be held in Gargnano and the third one in Lisbon. More information on the program can be found here.
The course will combine theoretical lessons as well as practical and interactive sessions (seminars, workshops, simulations, mock trials), all held in English.
Prospective applicants should send in your application form along with your CV in English (max 2 pages) and an introduction letter to firstname.lastname@example.org on or before Friday, 30 May 2014.
A series of research papers examining developments in financial ADR have been recently published by Arbitration International, The Richmond Journal of Global Law and Business, The Journal of Dispute Resolution, The Pacific Rim Law and Policy Journal, The Australian Journal of Dispute Resolution, Beijing Arbitration Quarterly, the East Asian Law Review, Frontiers of Law in China and Cambridge University Press. These publications examine the relative use of arbitration or in-court litigation to resolve financial and securities claims in China, the design of Hong Kong’s Financial Dispute Resolution Center, the globalizing effects of financial dispute systems, lessons learned from a comparative examination of financial arbitration and ombuds services in the United States, Australia, the UK and Singapore, the resolution of financial disputes in the context of Australian and Canadian Civil Justice reforms, how a ‘learning orientation‘ might assist in the development of financial dispute systems, lessons from the financial crisis in China’s governance of financial disputes and suggested reforms to the US system of financial arbitration from overseas jurisdictions.
The book Consumer Financial Dispute Resolution in a Comparative Context published by Cambridge University Press, ties many of these findings together by examining how governments and self-regulatory organizations design and administer financial dispute resolution mechanisms in the context of increasingly turbulent financial markets. It presents comparative research about the development and design of these mechanisms in East Asia, North America and Europe. Using a comparative methodology and drawing on empirical findings from a multi-jurisdictional survey, the book examines the emergence of global principles that influence the design of financial dispute resolution models, considers the structural variations between the ombuds and arbitration systems and offers practical proposals for reform.
This series of research publications was funded by the Hong Kong Research Grants Council Public Policy Research Grant HKU7001-PPR-10 under the title: “Promoting Economic Integrity through Institutional Alternative Dispute Resolution: A Law and Policy Perspective.”
Singapore’s law minister, K. Shanmugam recently announced the opening of the Singapore International Mediation Centre (SIMC) and the Singapore International Commercial Court (SICC). The aim of SICC is to cater to “more complex commercial litigation” cases and further enhance the range of dispute resolution options in Singapore. The SICC will be developed as a division of Singapore’s High Court. The Singapore International Mediation Centre will aim to serve the needs of commercial mediation in Singapore. More information can be found here.
Students interested in developing skills in the area of international business transactions and dispute resolution are invited to apply for an upcoming program to be offered by Hamline and Shue Yan Universities this June 2013. The program features: negotiation preparation, the ongoing management of a negotiation process, and the identification and achievement of optimal agreements. The program will examine the legal and ethical constraints of negotiation in a transnational context. Course content will be drawn from the fields of law, psychology, business, and communication. More information about this program can be found here.
Hart Publishing has recently released a new book by Kun Fan entitled, “Arbitration in China: A Legal and Cultural Analysis”. The book explains contemporary arbitration in China from an interdisciplinary perspective and with a comparative approach, setting Chinese arbitration in its wider social context to aid understanding of its history, contemporary practice, the legal obstacles to modern arbitration and possible future trends. More information can be found here. Congratulations Dr. Fan!
Findings from a recently completed research project funded under the Hong Kong Research Grants Council Public Policy Scheme (HKU7001-PPR-10) which involved a multi-jurisdictional empirical study about the development and design of these mechanisms in East Asia, North America and Europe have been concluded. Using a comparative methodology and drawing on empirical findings from a multi-jurisdictional survey, the research examines the emergence of global principles that influence the design of financial dispute resolution models, considers the structural variations between the ombuds and arbitration systems and offers practical proposals for reform.
Among the suggested recommendations include the following:
1. Evaluating the efficacy of systems of financial dispute resolution on the basis of principles of fairness, impartiality, transparency and consistency.
2. Further examining the beneficial checks and balances for consumers that are incorporated into the financial ombudsman model designed in the UK and Australia.
3. Improving accessibility of systems of financial adr via the expansion of eligible complainants beyond individuals and scaling the charges for different types of user;
4. Development of early stage dispute resolution aimed at narrowing down the factual disputes and issues between the parties in order to enhance the efficiency of later stages; and
5. Increasing the limit on awards as well as the claim amount to further enhance accessibility
Other ideas include improving efficiency through the possible adoption of a test case mechanism, frequent meetings of staff to share experiences and views on claims and claim-handling.
The need to bridge the knowledge gap for consumers again speaks to a principle of fairness by ensuring a level playing field in terms of information―particularly about the true value of claims, as the Minibonds crisis in Hong Kong served to demonstrate.
A new book to be published by Cambridge University Press, entitled “Consumer Financial Dispute Resolution in a Comparative Context,” will be released in May of 2013. The book, written by Shahla Ali of the University of Hong Kong, explores how systems of financial dispute resolution aim to assist parties to resolve a growing number of monetary disputes with financial institutions. The book presents comparative research about the development and design of these mechanisms in East Asia, North America and Europe. Using a comparative methodology and drawing on empirical findings from a multi-jurisdictional survey, Shahla Ali examines the emergence of global principles that influence the design of financial dispute resolution models, considers the structural variations between the ombuds and arbitration systems and offers practical proposals for reform.
Some early reviews of the book are included below:
‘This book provides a wide-ranging comparative assessment that will be of great value to anyone analyzing or designing dispute resolution systems for consumer disputes. The detailed descriptions of arbitration and ombudsman mechanisms in six countries, as well as Dr Ali’s recommendations, illuminate the continuing evolution of global norms for dispute resolution.’ Stephanie E. Smith, Lecturer, Stanford Law School
‘This is a valuable primer to the growing universe of consumer financial arbitration, particularly with its emphasis on countries in the Asia Pacific region.’ Michael Hwang, Michael Hwang Chambers, Singapore
‘This comprehensive volume breaks new ground in surveying and comparing multiple dispute resolution systems across world regions against a backdrop of carefully outlined principles including fairness, impartiality, transparency and consistency. Well-written, thoughtful and empirically supported, it is a ‘must-read’ for scholars, practitioners and end-users of commercial dispute resolution. It also productively outlines a way forward for practice in this area informed by best practices from a range of contexts.’ Michelle LeBaron, University of British Columbia
‘Anyone interested in the intersection of consumers, monetary disputes with financial institutions, and turbulent financial markets must read this book. It provides an articulate and thoughtful comparison of processes, from mediation and conciliation to ombudsmen, arbitration and litigation, taking us around the world to the UK, Australia, Japan, the US, China, Singapore and Hong Kong to look at differing systems of dispute resolution.’ Lela P. Love, Director, Kukin Program for Conflict Resolution and the Cardozo Mediation Clinic, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, New York
For those interested in learning more about a post with the newly opened Financial Dispute Resolution Centre in Hong Kong, please see the following announcement seeking applications for the post of mediation coordinator. All the best with your applications!