Deputy SJ visits The Hague courts

Deputy Secretary for Justice Cheung Kwok-kwan concluded his European visit with a tour of the United Nations International Court of Justice and the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, the Netherlands.   Yesterday morning, Mr Cheung called on the Ambassador Extraordinary & Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China to the Kingdom of the Netherlands Tan Jian.   They discussed Hong Kong’s latest legal developments and how the city can give full play to “going global and attracting foreign investment”.   This was followed by a visit to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the principal judicial organ of the United Nations responsible for resolving legal disputes between states in accordance with international law.   At a meeting with ICJ judges Xue Hanqin - the court’s first female Chinese judge - and Hilary Charlesworth, Mr Cheung gave an update of Hong Kong’s latest legal developments and the Department of Justice’s work.     The trio also exchanged views on the use of various dispute resolution mechanisms in handling international disputes.   Mr Cheung noted that Hong Kong, as the centre for international legal and dispute resolution services in the Asia-Pacific region, attaches great importance to nurturing legal talent, and will continue to organise a wide range of capacity building activities and academic conferences. He also hoped the ICJ judges could come to share their insights.   He then visited the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) to discuss with its Secretary-General Hab Marcin Czepelak the future development of resolving disputes by way of arbitration.   Established in 1899, the PCA is an intergovernmental organisation with over 120 contracting parties which aims to facilitate arbitration and other forms of dispute resolution between states.   The deputy justice chief highlighted that under “one country, two systems”, Hong Kong enjoys a unique advantage in having established a comprehensive framework for mutual legal assistance in civil and commercial matters with the Mainland.   On arbitration, the city has concluded three arrangements with the Mainland, which include those concerning mutual enforcement of arbitral awards as well as mutual assistance in court-ordered interim measures in aid of arbitral proceedings.   These arrangements will render arbitral proceedings seated in Hong Kong to have unique advantages, Mr Cheung added.   Given the limitless opportunities brought about to the international communities by the national strategies including the National 14th Five-Year Plan, the Greater Bay Area Outline Development Plan and the Belt & Road Initiative, Hong Kong, being the only common law jurisdiction in China, will continue to enhance the mutual legal assistance framework with the Mainland.   This would consolidate its status as the centre for international legal and dispute resolution services in the Asia-pacific region.   Mr Cheung also told the PCA that the International Council for Commercial Arbitration (ICCA) Congress is scheduled to be held in Hong Kong in May next year.   He pointed out that holding the largest regular international arbitration conference of its kind worldwide in the city is a vote of confidence in Hong Kong as the centre for international legal and dispute resolution services in the Asia-Pacific region, and he hoped to welcome PCA members to Hong Kong for the ICCA 2024.

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