BAIAC inauguration of arbitrators, committee members and MoU signing with Chiang Mai University, Faculty of Law

December 29, 2020

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. 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: 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. 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. 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. 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 […]

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BAIAC at the 15th National Mineral Conference and 2020 China Mining Industry Chain Conference, 25 November 2020

November 26, 2020

On 25 November 2020, Mr Zhu Jifan, Vice Chairman of Beihai Arbitration Commision and Executive Director of BAIAC was invited to deliver a keynote speech at the 15th National Mineral Conference in Hangzhou. The conference is hosted by China Collaborative Innovation Platform for Mineral Resources and Materials Applications, co-organized by Institute of Minerals, Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, Chinas Geology Society, Beijing Endi Reserves Technology Development Co., Ltd. The theme of the conference is Close Integration of Production, Learning and Research, Scientific and Technological Innovation Leading the Way, Promoting Green Mining Development and Safeguarding Mineral Resources Security. As an integral part of the whole chain of the mining industry, arbitration plays a vital role in the development of mining industry and in going global. Mr Zhu Jifan in his keynote speech among others dealt with the advantages of arbitration in resolving mining disputes, Belt and Road Initiative and supporting Chinese enterprises going overseas. As mining subject matter is specialised, disputes arising from trading and investment in mineral resources are highly technical. The traditional means of judicial proceedings in the settlement of disputes arising in the process of trading and investing in mining resources through courts are limited by the jurisdiction of the region, lack of mining industry experts, long litigation cycle, high litigation costs and other issues. Thus, it is difficult to truly meet the inherent needs of the mining players in the dispute resolution of such disputes arising. Mr Zhu also commented that Beihai Arbitration Commission has established mediation – arbitration mechanism for mining dispute resolution, in realizing the seamless connection between mediation and arbitration in mining dispute settlement mechanism. In addition, Beihai Arbitration Commission has established a Mining Arbitration Professional Committee, and appointed Academicians Pei Rongfu and Chen Yuchuan as the lifetime advisors of the Expert Advisory Committee. And invited a group of mining industry experts and mining professional legal experts to form a mining arbitrator team, at the same time to set up a special mining arbitration mediation expert pool.  

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Appointment of new Committee Members

October 1, 2020

1 October 2020: Singapore BAIAC is pleased to announce the appointment of four new Committee Members for the term 2020-2023: 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. She teaches in various leading universities in Thailand. In her role with the government, Dr Tangsatapornpan participated in important legislative draftings, as the representative of the office of the judiciary in the consideration of the Council of State regarding to be the member of CISG Convention, drafting of the Contracts for the International Sale and Purchase of Goods Act, and as ad hoc committee member in the drafting of various regulations. 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. He has drafted many important landmark legislations over the past two decades and the Government has immensely benefitted from his expertise in legislative drafting and in parliamentary and constitutional matters. Dr Viswanathan was consultant to the former President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee and at present the Director in the Pranab Mukerjee Foundation. He was awarded Padma Shri in 2017 by the President of India. 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. He has taught, researched, and published extensively in the areas of private law, especially contract and obligations law, comparative law and Thai legal history. His expertise focuses on breach of contract and contract interpretation. He has edited some of Thailand’s most authoritative texts on contracts and obligations, including two gigantic volumes on juristic acts and obligations written by Professor Seni Pramoj. Between 2013 and 2019, he was the founding Director of the International LLB Programme in Business Law at Thammasat University, which is Thailand’s first and only undergraduate programme in law entirely taught in English. Mr Andreas Wehowsky – Mr Wehowsky is a Swiss lawyer with the leading Swiss law firm Schellenberg Wittmer, focussing on international arbitration and litigation. He is currently also finishing his PhD thesis on expedited and summary proceedings in international arbitration at the University of Zurich. He holds LL.M. degrees from the University of Hong Kong (with a focus on international arbitration) and the University of Zurich. He previously also gained experienced at HKIAC and regularly publishes in his areas of interest, with a focus on international arbitration in Southeast Asia. Prior to joining Schellenberg Wittmer, he has worked for the international arbitration and litigation teams of magic circle law firms in Switzerland and Singapore. In this capacity he has already been involved in a wide range of disputes such as construction, […]

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Signing of Cooperation MoU with the Israeli Institute of Commercial Arbitration

September 30, 2020

30 September 2020: Beihai, Tel Aviv and Singapore The e-signing of cooperation of Memorandum of Understanding between BAIAC and the Israeli Institute of Commercial Arbitration (IICA) took place today. IICA was founded by the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce. It is the first institution in Israel for arbitration and dispute resolution and has become the leading arbitration and dispute settlement Institution in Israel. The Arbitration Institute is the only public institution in Israel in the field of arbitration. Signing for IICA was President Adv. Menashe Cohen and witnessed by Chairman of IICA Adv. Uriel Lynn, who is also the President of the Federation of the Israeli Chambers of Commerce and the Tel Aviv and Central Israel Chamber of Commerce. President of BAIAC Prof Steve Ngo signed the MoU on behalf of BAIAC witnessed by committee members and guests present this evening. Through the cooperation, the parties would like to further develop international arbitral capabilities building upon the existing good trade ties between Singapore, Israel, ASEAN and China. The cooperation with also focus on disputes arising from intellectual property and technology sectors such as fintech, biotech and other related aspects. Joining from Beihai that evening was Mr Zhu Jifan, Executive Director of BAIAC and Vice-Chairman of Beihai Arbitration Commission. Good wishes and “Mazal Tov” to this cooperation.

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Signing of Cooperation MoU with Thai Arbitration Institute

September 1, 2020

1 September 2020 : Bangkok, Singapore and Beihai. The e-signing of cooperation Memorandum of Understanding between BAIAC and Thai Arbitration Institute (TAI) took place today on 1 September 2020. The TAI is an arbitral institution under the supervision of the Office of the Judiciary, Kingdom of Thailand. Signing for Thai Arbitration Institute was Justice Sarawut Benjakul, Secretary General of the Office of the Judiciary and witnessed by Justice Dr Supakit Yampracha, Vice Secretary General of the Office of the Judiciary; and Justice Dr. Benjawan Tangsatapornpan, Executive Director of the Thai Arbitration Institute.   The collaboration entails people-to-people exchange in terms of regional capacity development of arbitrators and arbitral experts, cross recommendation of arbitrators, training and seminars in relation to ASEAN-China and provision of case management support in Singapore, Bangkok and Guangxi. President of BAIAC Prof. Steve Ngo signed the MoU on behalf of BAIAC witnessed by committee members Mr Anthony Cheah Nicholls and Mr Aloysius Wee. Joining from Beihai are Mr Zhu Jifan, Executive Director of BAIAC and Vice-Chairman of Beihai Arbitration Commission; and Mr Mo Jianping, Secretary-General of Beihai Arbitration Commission.

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COVID-19 International Arbitration Protocol

May 1, 2020

Beihai Asia International Arbitration Centre in Singapore (BAIAC) and Eversheds Harry Elias respond to COVID-19 with International Arbitration Protocol Singapore, 1 May 2020 In response to the current COVID-19 global pandemic, the Beihai Asia International Arbitration Centre (BAIAC) and Eversheds Harry Elias today introduced the COVID-19 International Arbitration Protocol (“the Protocol”). The outbreak of COVID-19 has caused an unprecedented scale of global business interruptions and will likely to lead to commercial disputes for many individuals and businesses. Considering the varying circumstances of parties, the pressing resolution of their disputes may be essential. Believed to the first of its kind, the Protocol provides a viable option enabling parties to access private arbitration as a flexible and expedient alternative to court litigation, especially where access to the latter is not readily unavailable. In essence, the Protocol provides for submission to international arbitration under the Singapore International Arbitration Act (Cap. 143A) with BAIAC acting as appointer of arbitrator. The Protocol shall operate for six (6) months from 1 May 2020 to 31 October 2020 and may be extended. BAIAC’s President Professor Steve Ngo said “I reiterate the need to make arbitration, makes sense again. Following the unprecedented COVID-19 outbreak, we hear the views from those in the international business community as regards the deluge of disputes that may come. When approached by Mr Shaun Leong, Partner of Eversheds Harry Elias to collaborate in introducing the Protocol, I immediately appreciate the need to respond to this by doing our small part. In fact, the former United Kingdom’s Supreme Court president, Lord Neuberger recently also warned about potential overwhelming number of commercial cases due to the pandemic.[i]” He further added that “I particularly appreciate Mr Leong’s foresight, who has had an exemplary record in the judiciary including his involvement in the formation of the Singapore International Commercial Court prior to private practice, where today he is widely recognised as a leading dispute resolution practitioner.” Mr Shaun Leong, Partner at Eversheds Harry Elias said: “With a poor global economic outlook caused by the pandemic, it is inevitable that the incidence of international commercial disputes would increase. At the same time, national courts all over the world have shut down temporarily or significantly reduced their operations, in a bid to control the outbreak. Some countries have imposed moratorium against commencing court actions in a bid to help businesses tide over these challenging times (which make perfect sense for many businesses). Moving forward, it is evident that national courts in different parts of the world would be re-opening gradually, only to face a significant logjam of cases accumulated months prior. For many businesses, not being able to resolve their disputes expediently is actually detrimental to their businesses, and impedes their ability to pull through this economic crisis. When faced with a dispute, businesses invariably are predominantly concerned with the worst (or best) outcomes. Where there is a dispute, there are businesses that would rather deal with it now, than to have to wait for a prolonged period of time. Likewise, if there is a loss that the business is going to suffer, many businesses would rather know it […]

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BAIAC Year end cocktail

December 3, 2019

On 2 December 2019, BAIAC held its year end evening cocktail which was well attended by distinguished guests locally and regionally, amidst heavy downpour. Conducted in a private bar in the Victoria Concert Hall, retired Malaysian Court of Appeal Judge now in private practice, Dato’ Varghese Abraham gave a most enlightening evening talk on his experience dealing with arbitration from the bench to the bar. During the cocktail, BAIAC’s President Prof. Steve Ngo also announced the Rules of Arbitration after extended consultation with various stakeholders and potential users. It also unveiled its inaugural panel of arbitrators and mediators. The Arbitration Rules of BAIAC adopts the UNCITRAL (United Nations Commission on International Trade Law) Rules of Arbitration with modifications to include a provision for “Small Claims Procedure” for disputes not exceeding S$100,000. Such procedure provides for abbreviated proceedings. Among others for such proceedings, the arbitral tribunal will be expected to conduct the arbitration for the parties and to provide a draft arbitration award within 60 days from end of hearing. BAIAC will provide a cost efficient fee structure for such proceedings. This is very much in line with BAIAC’s aim of providing alternative arbitration services to small and medium enterprises and also in response to the industry’s common grievance about high cost in arbitration. BAIAC also unveiled its inaugural panel of arbitrators and mediators. With gender and generational diversities in mind, the panel also comprised of senior regional practitioners who are committed to guiding the younger generation of practitioners which includes arbitration luminaries such as Mr Francis Xavier, Senior Counsel, Regional Head (Dispute Resolution Group) of Rajah & Tann, and CIArb’s Global President for 2020; Dato’ Jude Benny, well-known shipping arbitrator and lawyer; Dato’ Varghese Abraham, retired Malaysian Court of Appeal Judge; Ms Chia Yong Yong, Singaporean lawyer, disability advocate and former Nominated Member of Parliament; Mr Rengarajoo Balasamy, veteran mediator and arbitrator; and young arbitration stars such as Mr Shaun Leong, Partner for International Arbitration at Eversheds Harry Elias LLP who previously served in a judicial capacity with the Singapore High Court and Ms Yvette Anthony, Partner, Braddell Brothers LLP. BAIAC looks forward to further engagement with local and regional arbitration practitioners as well as developing the “Resolve in Singapore” proposition through collaborations in the region with other arbitral institutions as well as the public and private sectors.

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Participation at the annual CCPIT International Commercial & Legal Cooperation Forum, Changsha

November 30, 2019

BAIAC was invited to participate in the 2019 CCPIT International Commercial & Legal Cooperation Forum in Changsha, Hunan. A major CCPIT event hosted by Changsha city annually, this year it was held from 26 – 30 November 2019. The forum was also attended by representatives from various countries. Representing Singapore at the event was Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Law, Mr Edwin Tong. During the visit, BAIAC held various discussions with key stakeholders, including China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) and Hunan Lawyers’ Association leadership on deepening Singapore-ASEAN-China regional arbitration initiatives.

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International Commercial Arbitration Summit, 31 August 2019

August 31, 2019

SHANGHAI, 31 August 2019 – Beihai Arbitration Commission organised an international commercial arbitration summit in Shanghai attended by Chairman of Beihai Arbitration Commission Mr Zhong Hong, Vice-Chairman of Beihai Arbitration Commission, Prof Ma Zhangjun, Vice-Chairman of Beihai Arbitration Commission, Mr Zhu Jifan and President of BAIAC Prof Steve Ngo. The panel of speakers comprised of Prof Louise Otis and Prof Fabien Gelinas from McGill University, Canada and other distinguished speakers from Beijing and Shanghai. In his presentation, Prof Ngo emphasised on the need for institutions to better understand the needs of arbitration users, for essentially they are the parties who are beset with disputes. The increasingly high cost of arbitration and its complexity are some of the issues that need to be addressed in order to make arbitration, making sense again. During the summit, various issues were discussed including current trend in China and overseas, attracting many good questions as well as responses from the audience. The summit was also broadcasted online and watched by many audience in China and abroad.

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Launch of BAIAC on 8 August 2019

August 8, 2019

SINGAPORE – Beihai Asia International Arbitration Centre (BAIAC) was inaugurated on 8 August 2019 witnessed by guests from Singapore and overseas which included China, Malaysia, Brunei, Thailand and Indonesia. In attendence were His Excellency Joseph Del Mar Yap, Ambassador of the Republic of Philippines to Singapore, Mr Duan Chongbo, Secretary (Economic and Commercial), Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Singapore, Dr Aria Wibisono, Counsellor for Economic Trade, Embassy of Indonesia in Singapore, His Honour Justice Dato Dr Hamid Sultan, Court of Appeal, Federal Court of Malaysia and Ms Chua Xin Juan, Director of the Professional Services Programme Office, Ministry of Law, Singapore. In the inauguration speech, founding President of BAIAC, Professor Steve Ngo remarked that Beihai is not unfamiliar to Singapore whereby the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew visited the city 26 years ago in 1993 and was reported by the Straits Times commenting that he was impressed with Beihai’s potential for tourism and trade development, including the harbour. BAIAC is the first international arbitration centre established in Singapore by a Chinese arbitration commission, tapping into China-ASEAN-Singapore connections, which is very much in line with the aspiration of regional people-to-people exchanges for the futherance of arbitration and dispute resolution initiatives. The impetus for the establishment of BAIAC can be attributed to two core factors; costs and enhanced regional dispute resolution efforts. Mr Zhong Hong, Chairman of Beihai Arbitration Commission in his speech mentioned that in 2018 Beihai Arbitration Commission recorded 58,869 cases with a cumulative value of RMB 10 billion. For the first-half of 2019, over 47,000 cases in China have been recorded. He expressed his optimism for the establishment of Beihai’s international centre in Singapore as the city state is already a renown international arbitration venue. During the inauguration, the founding Committee members of BAIAC were announced, comprising of leading arbitration practitioners from China, South East Asia, East Asia and South Asia. Specifically, BAIAC would like to promote generational, gender and geographical diversity through its Committee members and arbitrators.

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