The Singapore Academy of Law is organizing an international conference on January 21 and 22, 2016 in Singapore with a focus on the increasing homogenization of cross-border trade practices and regulatory mechanisms amid rising economic integration in Asia.

As the event website outlines: “Among the business community, it has led to a desire for increased convergence of cross-border business laws, improved legal infrastructure and harmonisation of regulatory standards across Asia.”

In anticipation of the conference, Asia Law Portal posed the following questions to Prakash Pillai, a member of the Legal Convergence Asia Conference Steering Committee and a Singapore-based Partner with Clyde & Co, where he specializes in dispute resolution and international commercial arbitration:

What is the Legal Convergence Asia Conference about?

The Conference has been organised as a forum to promote the concept of convergence of Asian business laws.  The concept of convergence of business laws has arisen against the backdrop of a trend of rising economic integration amongst Asian countries and an increased desire among members of the Asian business community to harmonise cross border trade practices and regulatory mechanisms across Asia.

Who should attend the conference and why?

The conference should be attended by legal practitioners, general counsel, business leaders, members of the judiciary, policy makers and regulators, and academics alike.

The conference should be attended for a number of reasons. The conference will provide valuable insights into the question of how convergence, by transcending regulatory and legal obstacles, would promote economic growth within Asia.  It will also provide guidance on how legal convergence would impact the manner and effectiveness of doing business in Asia.  Finally, attendees at the conference will witness the launch of the Asian Business Law Institute, an organization set up in Singapore to promote the convergence of Asian business laws.

What legal challenges does the Asia-Pacific region face in this century?

The existence of disparate levels of development within Asia coupled with the lack of harmonization of regulatory and legal regimes complicates the process of doing business within Asia.  The main legal challenge faced by Asia is to create a more uniform regime with greater standardization of legal norms, greater mutual recognition of judicial pronouncements and effective cross border enforcement processes throughout Asia.

How can law help facilitate more efficient flow of Asia-Pacific trade?

The law can be utilized as an enabling mechanism to promote the efficient flow of Asian trade.  This could occur if the law and regulations are standardized and consistently applied throughout the Asian economy. This would give rise to greater certainty, fewer regulatory hurdles and effective enforcement processes, all of which would promote the efficient flow of trade.

What goals do you hope to see advanced as a result of Legal Convergence Asia?

The main objectives of the Conference is to advance the dialogue on convergence of business laws within Asia, generate actual efforts by Asian countries to harmonise their business laws and active participation by the Asian business and legal community in the work of the Asian Business Law Institute.

To register for the conference, please visit the conference registration website.  CPD points are available to practitioners.  The event website is located at: legalconvergenceasia.com.  The conference will take place at Raffles City Convention Centre, Singapore.

Posted by John Grimley

John Grimley edits and publishes Asia Law Portal and is the author of A Comprehensive Guide to the Asia-Pacific Legal Markets. He specializes in providing writing, editing, research and strategy services to the corporate and professional services sectors. Between 2002 and 2008, he established and directed the European representative business development office of US AmLaw 100 law and public policy firm Patton Boggs LLP. At the inception of his career, he served as a writer to the President of the United States in the White House. A licensed American lawyer, he holds a Juris Doctor from the University of San Diego School of Law.

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