Forum: Advances in Comparative and Transnational ADR – Research into Practice, 8 & 9 March, 2019

On 8 and 9 March 2019, the University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law will be hosting a forum on “Advances in Comparative and Transnational ADR – Research into Practice.”  Registration is free of charge and available here.


March 8th
8:40am Registration, 11th Floor Cheng Yu Tung Tower Faculty of Law; University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR
9:00 am Welcome: Dean Michael Hor, University of Hong Kong, Faculty of Law

Opening remarks: Shahla Ali, University of Hong Kong

9:15 am – 10:15 am Session 1 – Methodological Considerations in Comparative and Transnational ADR

Chair: Zhao Yun
Discussant: Lola Akin Ojelabi

·      Matthew Erie, “The Third Eye: The Problem of Method in the Study of Transnational Dispute Resolution”
·      Michael Palmer, “Modes of Dispute Response: Reconnecting the Range”
·      Shahla Ali, “Advancing Research and Practice in Dispute Resolution Institutions through Inclusive Devolved Reflection”

10:15 am – 10:35 am Morning Break
10:35am – 12:10 Session 2 – Comparative ADR Ethics, Standards and Jurisprudential Ideals

Chair: Keith Hawkins
Discussant: Kerstin Bree Carlson

·      Deborah Hensler, “Re-Inventing Arbitration: How Expanding the Scope of Arbitration is Re-Shaping its Form and Blurring the Line Between Private and Public Adjudication”
·      Michal Alberstein, “Between Summary Trials and ADR”
·      Lola Akin Ojelabi, “The Challenges of Developing Global Ethical Standards for ADR Practice”
·      Zachary R. Calo, “Legal Ethics and Transnational Dispute Resolution”
·      Dorcas Quek, “A New Chapter in the Cross-Border Enforcement of Mediated Settlement Agreements: The Elevated Role of Mediation Standards in Procedural and Substantive Justice”

12:10-1:20 Lunch for Speakers/Chairs 
1:20 pm – 2:20pm Session 3 – Comparative Approaches in Conciliation and Arbitration

Chair: Tania Sourdin
Discussant: Luigi Cominelli

·      Anselmo Reyes, “The Use of Conciliation and Litigation by the Hong Kong Equal Opportunities Commission”
·      Manuel Gomez, “Talk to Me: The Upsurge of International Arbitration-Related Conferences and their Impact on Academia, the Industry and the Legal Profession”
·      Gu Weixia, “Arbitration in Comparative Perspectives”

2:20 pm – 3:35 Session 4 – Comparative ADR in Peace building, Health Care and Disasters

Chair: Eric Feldman
Discussant: Matthew Erie

·      Kerstin Bree Carlson, “Peace Through Law: A Hybrid Tribunal for Divided South Sudan”
·      Eric Feldman, “Recent Developments in Victim Compensation for the Fukushima Disaster” [TBC]
·      Nadav Davidovitch, “Dealing with Conflicts in Health Care Systems: Form Clinical Medicine to Public Health Settings”
·      Martin Lau, “TBC: ADR in Pakistan”

3:35-4pm Break
4pm – 5:50pm Session 5 – ADR Developments and Reform in Mainland China

Chair: Michael Palmer
Discussant: Sida Liu

·      He Xin, “Flexibility and Authority: Resolving Labor Disputes in a County Government in Western China”
·      Kwai Ng, “Wearing Two Hats – Problems of Judicial Mediation as Seen from China”
·      Chao Xi, “Negotiations in the Shadow of Shareholder Activism”
·      Sida Liu, “The Spaces of Global China: Hong Kong as a Frontier for Chinese Law Firms”
·      Ling Zhou, “Forum Shopping in a World of Mixed Processes: China’s Professional Litigants”
·      Yang Lin, “New Developments in Online Dispute Resolution in China”

5:50 pm Closing remarks
6:30pm Dinner hosted by HKU (by invitation only)

Saturday March 9th

9:30am – 11:20 Session 6 – Mediation Developments in the Context of Civil Justice Reforms

Chair: Mark Feldman
Discussant: Mark Feldman

·      Tania Sourdin, “When is the Best time to Mediate? Considering Early Mediation”
·      Luigi Cominelli, “Mediation Models and the Impact of the 52/2008 Directive on Civil and Commercial Mediation in Europe”
·      Pablo Cortes, “Imbedding Mediation in the Civil Justice System”
·      Nadja Alexander, “International Comparison of Regulatory Systems for Mediation”
·      Francis Law, “TBC”

11:20-11:50 Break
11:50 am – 12 Closing remarks and next steps
12 noon Lunch hosted by HKU (by invitation only)

Conference Theme:

The focus of the forum is on exploring the challenges and opportunities in understanding and assessing developments in systems of dispute resolution in diverse social and political contexts through comparative research. Papers will cover topics such as practical considerations in conducting comparative work in the field of transnational and comparative dispute resolution, insights from recent studies, and consideration of how research may inform policy reform in ADR institutions regionally and transnationally. The aim of the forum is to facilitate research collaboration that will also translate into positive policy applications and directions for future study.

Speaker and Chair Bio’s:

May be found here.

Media sponsor: TDM

** Transnational Dispute Management (TDM, ISSN 1875-4120) is a comprehensive and innovative information service on the management of
international disputes, with a focus on the rapidly evolving area of investment arbitration, but also in other significant areas of international investment (such as oil, gas, energy, infrastructure, mining, utilities etc). It deals both with formal adjudicatory procedures (mainly investment and commercial arbitration), but also mediation/ADR methods, negotiation and
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Call for Papers: Advances in Comparative & Transnational ADR: Research into Practice

The Law Faculty at the University of Hong Kong will be hosting a research forum March 8-9, 2019 on Advances in Comparative & Transnational ADR: Research into Practice to which we  warmly invite submissions for consideration.


  • The focus of the forum is on exploring the challenges and opportunities of understanding and assessing developments in systems of dispute resolution in diverse social and political contexts through comparative research.  Papers may cover topics such as practical considerations in conducting comparative work in the field of transnational and cross-border dispute resolution, insights from recent multi-country studies, and consideration as to how research may inform policy reform in ADR institutions regionally and transnationally. We hope the forum will facilitate research collaboration that will also translate into positive policy applications and directions for future study.
  • For those wishing to submit a paper for consideration:
a) By 10 December 2018, please e-mail us:
(i) an abstract of your paper (up to 200 words);
(i) your biography (100 words);
(iii) indicate whether you intend to submit your paper for the conference publication; and
(iv) indicate whether you have any objections to being a discussant at the forum.
Submissions may be sent to:

International Dispute Resolution Team Established by China’s Supreme Court

With the aim of providing a mechanism for the promotion of international commercial dispute resolution in the context of cross-border trade and development, in August of 2018, China’s Supreme People’s Court established its first International Commercial Expert Committee to provide advisory opinions and assist in the mediation of disputes.  The Committee consists of 32 Chinese and foreign experts. A recent report noted that ‘the International Commercial Expert Committee is designed to ensure operation and promote adjudication of the International Commercial Court, and support to resolve international commercial disputes through arbitration, mediation, litigation and other diversified commercial dispute settlement methods.” According to Susan Finder, this Committee appears to be the “first of its nature within the Chinese justice system.”  

United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation to be Signed in August 2019

After three years of active negotiation, UNCITRAL working group members successfully reached agreement on the formation of the United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation.  The treaty will be signed in Singapore in August 2019 and named the Singapore Convention on Mediation.

At present, when parties seek to enforce the outcomes of cross-border disputes, they have two existing means of recourse through the NY Convention (for international arbitration) and the Hague Convention (for cross-border litigation).  However, until now, parties to cross-border mediation had limited if any means of enforcing cross-border settlements.  With the Singapore Convention, mediation is now a viable option for parties seeking to resolve cross-border disputes.

Ms Sharon Ong, part of the Singapore delegation to UNCITRAL noted that at the final stages of negotiation, when a 2017 blizzard shut down the United Nations Headquarters where delegates had been meeting and squeezed into a nearby law firm’s conference room, “we resolved a lot of the issues that had been sticking points for many years. We all just came with a spirit of co-operation, so it was very collaborative and people were very open about things.” Mrs Morris-Sharma, chair of the UNCITRAL Working Group noted that “In any process that involves reaching a common understanding of how processes should be approached, delegations had to consider how this new system would fit in with their domestic processes… Thankfully I think we managed to strike a balance between the divergent views through the Singapore Convention.”

When ratified, the Convention will encourage commercial entities to resolve their disputes on the basis of party autonomy and agreement which mediation affords.

China International Arbitration Court Established in Hainan

A China international arbitration court was recently established in Haikou, Hainan Island in July of 2018. The Court of International Arbitration in Hainan is the second to be established after the Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration was opened in January of this year.  Hainan has recently been designated as a free trade zone. Shi Wen, head of the Hainan Arbitration Commission, noted that the new Court’s council members will be comprised of both Chinese and overseas arbitrators. The Court in Hainan has two centres, one focusing on maritime arbitration and the other on financial arbitration.


International Conference on Consumer Redress

On 9-10 April 2018 the Faculty of Law, Stellenbosch University (dr. Theo Broodryk) and KU Leuven (prof. dr. Stefaan Voet) jointly organized the inagural International Conference on Consumer Redress. The purpose of the conference was to “discuss various local and international consumer redress mechanisms, including alternative dispute resolution methods and class actions, as a means to resolving consumer disputes.” The conference was attended by scholars from South-Africa, Europe, the US and Asia. 

New Book on Comparative Court Mediation Reform

The findings of an empirical study on court mediation reform by Shahla Ali of the University of Hong Kong has recently been published by Edward Elgar.  The book, Court Mediation Reform: Efficiency, Confidence and Perceptions of Justice, has been described as follows:

As judiciaries advance, exploring how court mediation programs can provide opportunities for party-directed reconciliation whilst ensuring access to formal legal channels requires careful investigation. Court Mediation Reform explores comparative empirical findings in order to examine the association between court mediation structure and perceptions of justice, efficiency and confidence in courts.

This unique study draws on an eighty-three person survey as well as case studies from ten global mediation jurisdictions including Australia, France, Hong Kong, India, and the United States. Given the highly contextual nature of court mediation programs, the book highlights the achievements, challenges and lessons learned in the implementation of mediation programs for general civil claims. In so doing, the study identifies that positive achievements are largely dependent on multiple factors including the functioning of the civil litigation system, the capacities of the mediators, safeguards against bias, participant education, and cultural and institutional support.

This book will be of interest to both scholars and practitioners of law, civil justice, mediation, comparative law and dispute resolution. It will also be of use to judiciaries and policy makers looking to advance court mediation programs.

Reviewers have noted the following about the study:

‘Shahla Ali’s work is an innovative meta-analysis of the trends in the institutionalization of mediation at the macro level. It has an ambitious approach that had not been attempted yet, and paves the way for other future research, as well as providing guidance to policy makers and professionals.’
– Luigi Cominelli, The University of Milan, Italy

‘Professor Shahla Ali has performed a valuable service for conflict resolution policy makers around the world. Providing diverse and mixed data reports of the uptake and resistance to court (and some private) mediation programs in ten different legal systems, she artfully surveys important legal, social and cultural differences in the uses and effectiveness of voluntary and mandatory mediation programmes. While some seek efficiency, others seek efficacy, through party-tailored solutions or regional integration dispute resolution schemes. Different programme motivations (and the varied role of lawyers) provide variation, not uniformity, in the use of mediation to resolve civil, family, labour and commercial disputes. A must-read for any dispute system designer, or court administrator or mediator.’
– Carrie Menkel-Meadow, University of California, Irvine and Georgetown University Law Center, US

‘Professor Ali’s book offers the most comprehensive, qualitative study and insights on Global Court Mediation I have encountered. It should be in the hands of every court in the world.’
– Judge Dorothy Nelson, United States Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit