On 28 December 2020, BAIAC held an online event to inaugurate the appointment of new arbitrators, committee members and MoU signing with Chiang Mai University, Faculty of Law.

Executive Director of BAIAC and Deputy Chairman of Beihai Arbitration Commission, Mr Zhu Jifan (in Beihai, Guangxi), welcome participants from the UK, France, Switzerland, Israel, Russia, India, Uzbekistan, China and Singapore. In his opening speech, Mr Zhu highlighted the progress of BAIAC and Beihai Arbitration Commission as well as looking forward to wider cooperation as well as participation in its work from the global arbitral community.

The highlight of the evening was the keynote speech by Justice Dr Fatsah Ouguergouz.

Justice Dr Fatsah Ouguergouz

In Justice Ouguergouz’s speech title “BAIAC as a valuable bridge between Asia and Africa and between Commercial and Investment Arbitration“, he commented that due BAIAC’s broad mandate and unique location, it can serve as a valuable bridge in a double dimension: geographical and material. He described how BAIAC can serve as a valuable bridge in the settlement of disputes between Asian and African parties, given how trade and investment flows between Singapore and Africa are bound to grow as a result of the promotional policies pursued by Enterprise Singapore aimed at fostering trade between Africa and Asia. Justice Ouguergouz was appointed by the PRC Supreme Court’s China International Commercial Court as an expert committee committee earlier in December, and also as BAIAC’s committe member for the term 2020-2023.

BAIAC also announced the newly empanelled arbitrators and committee members. Aiming at promoting diversity and inclusivity in the arbitral industry, BAIAC is cognizant of the need for equal opportunities in terms of gender and geographical representation of arbitrators and committee members, including recognising rising young talents already making their mark in the regional arbitration scene. Meanwhile, BAIAC continues to welcome broader participation from among its arbitrators and industry players to support its aims of regional development, thus welcome the following committee members appointed in 2020:

  1. Justice Dr Fatsah Ouguergouz : Justice Dr Ouguergouz was one of the first eleven judges of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights Prior, he was Secretary of the International Court of Justice and Legal Officer at the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs. Recently, he was appointed to the Supreme People’s Court of China, China International Commercial Court as an Expert of the International Commercial Expert Committee.
  2. Justice Dr Benjawan Tangsatapornpan: Dr Tangsatapornpan is the former Executive Director of Thai Arbitration Institute (TAI) and a judge of the Office of the President of Supreme Court.
  3. Padma Shri Dr T.K. Viswanathan: Dr Viswanathan is a legal luminary who has held various positions in the academia, Government of India and in Lok Sabha. During his four decades of his career he has served as a lawyer, as a Professor of Jurisprudence and as Secretary to Government of India in the Ministry of Law & Justice and as Secretary General of Lok Sabha.
  4. Professor Dr Phoebe Okowa: Dr Phoebe Okowa is Professor of Public International Law and Director of Graduate Studies at Queen Mary, University of London with interest in international arbitration. In 2017, she has been appointed by Kenya as a Member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, The Hague. She has appeared before the ICJ most recently in the case of Gambia v Myanmar
  5. Professor Dr Munin Pongsapan: Dr Pongsapan is the Dean of Thammasat University, Faculty of Law. He is currently also Chairman of the Council of Legal Education, an association of leading Thai law schools, and a member of Thailand’s regulatory impact assessment board.
  6. Mr Shaun Leong: Mr Leong is an international arbitration specialist. He served in a judicial capacity as a Magistrate and Assistant Registrar of the Singapore Supreme Court for five years, where he published several notable written judgments on international arbitration law. Mr Leong was the Head of the Court of Appeal Section of the Supreme Court Registry, and was involved in the establishment of the Singapore International Commercial Court (SICC) as Secretariat of the SICC committee.
  7. Mr Sameer Shah: Mr Shah Senior Partner of Trust Legal, Ahmedabad office and Founder of S.U. Shah & Associates, Advocates, Arbitrator and Legal Consultants. He is also a Director of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) India and possess many years of experience in international dispute resolution in South Asia.
  8. Mr Andreas Wehowsky: Mr Wehowsky is a Swiss lawyer with the leading Swiss law firm Schellenberg Wittmer, focussing on international arbitration and litigation. He has worked for the international arbitration and litigation teams of magic circle law firms in Switzerland and Singapore.

Mr Sameer Shah, who is also the newly appointed Representative for South Asia gave a short presentation on the plans and activities for 2021 which include seminars and courses.

BAIAC is also pleased to enter into a collaboration with Chiang Mai University, Faculty of Law. Present in the e-signing was Dean Prof. Dr. Pornchai Wisuttisak. Through this cooperation, BAIAC and Chiang Mai University, Faculty of Law aim to conduct trainings and seminars on international arbitration as well as developing a university based arbitration centre.

With the year coming to an end and good wishes abound for the new year, it is hoped that the well attended event augurs well for 2021 not only for  BAIAC but also the regional arbitration scene at large.

[Chinese version of the event published by Beihai Arbitration Commission can also be found at this link: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/oo-EsEgvtM16pntJsZOONw]