Published: 21:15, May 24, 2024 | Updated: 21:43, May 24, 2024
Legal sector leaders say their ME visit paves way for cooperation
By Stephy Zhang in Hong Kong
Hong Kong Secretary for Justice Paul Lam (left) presents a souvenir to Vice-Minister of Justice of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Najem bin Abdullah al-Zaid when they met in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, on May 20, 2024. (PHOTO / HKSAR GOVT)

Hong Kong legal heavyweights who returned from a five-day visit to the Middle East said on Friday that the journey highlighted the two regions’ collaborative potential in law and arbitration.

Upon their arrival at Hong Kong International Airport at noon on Friday, Secretary for Justice Paul Lam Ting-kwok told reporters that he is confident about the potential for cooperation between Hong Kong and economies in the Middle East.

Chan Chak-ming, president of the Law Society of Hong Kong and another member of the delegation, said his organization has signed a memorandum of cooperation in Dubai to enhance collaboration with local courts

He said the delegation, which comprised about 30 members of the city’s legal and business sectors, introduced to their hosts Hong Kong’s common law system, its business environment, and the city’s role as a superconnector between the Chinese mainland and overseas, through over 20 activities held in four cities in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

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Lam said one of the delegation’s stops — Dubai, the most populous city in the UAE — serves as a regional financial, trade and legal-service hub, similar to Hong Kong’s role. As a result, he said, legal institutions in both cities can complement each other and generate synergies.

He said he was impressed by the perseverance of the legal sector in Middle East to improve its services, saying it reminds Hong Kong legal professionals to remain competitive at all times.

Among the delegates was Hong Kong Bar Association Chairman Victor Dawes, who said that many Middle East countries conduct arbitration under common law, and there are already Hong Kong barristers participating in local arbitration. He added that the Bar Association will seize the opportunity to expand its business into the Middle East.

Chan Chak-ming, president of the Law Society of Hong Kong and another member of the delegation, said his organization has signed a memorandum of cooperation in Dubai to enhance collaboration with local courts.

The delegation — comprising representatives from the Law Society of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Bar Association, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd, Invest Hong Kong and related sectors — kicked off the visit on Sunday.

On Thursday, the delegation visited the Dubai International Financial Centre Court and Dubai International Arbitration Centre before wrapping up their trip

Their first stop was Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, where the delegation met with members of the local legal and business communities.

On Monday, delegation members met with Najem bin Abdullah al-Zaid, Saudi Arabia’s vice-minister of justice, and visited the Saudi Center for Commercial Arbitration.

READ MORE: Great promise seen in HK-Middle East partnership

The delegation proceeded to the UAE capital of Abu Dhabi on the third day of the visit. Its members toured the first universal museum in the Arab world — the Louvre Abu Dhabi — and held meetings with representatives from the Abu Dhabi Global Market and the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

They continued their visit in Dubai on Wednesday, the fourth day of the visit. They attended a forum for promoting Hong Kong’s legal and dispute resolution services, followed by Lam’s meeting with UAE Justice Minister Abdullah bin Sultan bin Awad Al Nuaimi.

On Thursday, the delegation visited the Dubai International Financial Centre Court and Dubai International Arbitration Centre before wrapping up their trip.

 

Contact the writer at stephyzhang@chinadailyhk.com