RAI “Interview the Institution” Series: Kabir Duggal in conversation with Joe Liu (HKIAC)

Published: 11/01/2021 10:20

by Gladwin Issac, Associate, S&R Associates, Mumbai, India

Kabir Duggal, Member of the Support Network of Rising Arbitrators Initiative’s (RAI) Executive Committee, and Senior International Arbitration Advisor at Arnold & Porter in New York meets Joe Liu, Deputy Secretary-General and Acting Secretary-General at the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC) in the third instalment of RAI’s “Interview the Institution” Series.

In this insightful conversation with Kabir, Joe offers a glimpse of HKIAC’s illustrious journey so far, as one of Asia’s foremost arbitral institutions, some “behind-the-scenes” information on the arbitrator appointment process at HKIAC as well as what he believes to be the missing link in the diversity debate in international arbitration. He highlights the Centre’s List of Arbitrators (for professionals who wish to develop an arbitrator career), Panel of Arbitrators (for professionals who already have significant experience as arbitrators), and several specialized Panels of Arbitrators (for intellectual property, financial services, and emergency arbitration). Joe also discusses the use of these panels to widen the pool of arbitrators for HKIAC cases. This is supported by the impressive diversity appointment statistics the Centre has achieved in 2019 – with 20% of the 122 appointments made by the Centre being female arbitrators and 40% of them being arbitrators who had not been appointed by HKIAC for the last three years, hailing from as many as 12 different jurisdictions. However, Joe is quick to point out that diversity initiatives should not start and end with arbitral institutions; more emphasis should be placed on parties and arbitrators to diversify their appointments and create a level-playing field for younger arbitrators. Joe also discusses the impact of the recent political developments on Hong Kong as a safe arbitral seat and reflects on the key trends that would shape the world of international arbitration as we know it today. In his advice to upcoming arbitrators, he recommends that young lawyers “express their readiness” and make good use of any opportunity to demonstrate their advocacy and arbitrator skills and notes the significance of tribunal secretary experience as a gateway to arbitrator roles.

Watch the full recording of the interview on the RAI website, available here.

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