Themed “One World: Law and the Environment Beyond Covid”, the 31st Inter-Pacific Bar Association (“IPBA”) Annual Meeting and Conference was held from 7 to 10 March 2023 in Dubai, UAE. The Law Society’s delegation consisted of President C. M. Chan, Vice-President and Chairman of Standing Committee on External Affairs Roden Tong, Past President and Chairman of Arbitration Committee Huen Wong, Chairman of Committee on Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement Fred Kan, young lawyer Beryl Wu and a number of legal professionals.  

At the invitation of IPBA, President C. M. Chan joined the Plenary Session titled “Law and the Judiciary post Covid… a time for new ideas” on 8 March 2023 and shared with the international audience the uniqueness of Hong Kong’s bilingual common law system under “One Country, Two Systems”, the system of overseas non-permanent judges in the Court of Final Appeal, and how the Law Society rode the tide of challenges brought about by the pandemic. 

Building on the success of the recent duty visit of the Chief Executive to the Middle East, the Law Society also made use of this golden opportunity to co-organise a networking reception with the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Dubai (“Dubai ETO”) on 9 March 2023 to promote Hong Kong’s legal capabilities and business environment to the legal professionals, businessmen, entrepreneurs and government officials in Dubai. 

On the occasion, the Law Society’s delegation met with Ms Amna Al Owais, Chief Registrar of Dubai International Finance Centre (“DIFC”) Courts and had a fruitful exchange on the recognition of DIFC court judgments by other jurisdictions. The delegation also met with the IPBA President and his team to exchange views on how to capitalise on the opportunities arising from the Greater Bay Area development, the Qianhai development plans, and the Belt and Road Initiative. In addition, a meeting with the Dubai ETO and Hong Kong Trade Development Council was also arranged to discuss the huge potential of the matching of the capital markets in the two places, the inclusion of contractual clauses in business deals stipulating Hong Kong law as the governing law, Hong Kong as an arbitration seat in the event of contractual disputes, as well as the importance of the Middle East to the Belt and Road Initiative.    

On the last day of their duty visit to Dubai, the Law Society’s delegation also paid a courtesy call to the Consulate-General of the People’s Republic of China in Dubai to discuss issues of mutual interest, including the business opportunities along the Belt and Road, upholding the rule of law and sustainable development of the legal profession.

(from left to right) Chairman of Committee on Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement Fred Kan; President C. M. Chan; Vice-President and Chairman of Standing Committee on External Affairs Roden Tong; and young lawyer Beryl Wu attended the 31st IPBA Annual Meeting and Conference on behalf of the Law Society.

A networking reception co-organised by the Law Society and Dubai ETO was successfully held in Dubai, which was attended by around 50 legal practitioners from the two places, as well as businessmen, entrepreneurs and government officials from Dubai and the Middle East. 

The Law Society’s delegation had thorough and productive exchanges with the international counterparts on a number of topical issues.