International Arbitration in Asia-Pacific: adapting to new normal and beyond

22 Sep - 24 Sep 2020 0900 - 1045 BST

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A 2-day virtual conference presented by the IBA Arbitration Committee and the IBA Asia Pacific Arbitration Group, supported by and the IBA Asia Pacific Regional Forum

The international arbitration market had to adapt and evolve rapidly to deal with the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic. Not only is technology increasingly being utilised to facilitate arbitration proceedings, remote and virtual hearings are becoming the “new normal”. One also see the emergence of new forms of commercial and investor-state disputes arising from the passing and implementation of governmental legislation and regulations and increasing invocation of material adverse effect/change clauses.

Asia Pacific has been at the forefront of innovation and developments in international arbitration, and will continue to do so. How will the practice of international arbitration in Asia Pacific adapt to the new era of social distancing ushered in by the Covid-19 pandemic, and develop best practices embracing the “new normal” with its diversity in culture, legal systems, languages and traditions? Such innovation and developments shall be discussed and presented in various aspects including:

  • What developments have been observed and made in international arbitrations with Asia Pacific elements in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic
  • Which of these developments can be expected to impact the practice of international arbitration globally?
  • In the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, what will dispute resolution mechanism look like?

Each session will be followed by a 30-minute networking session (1015-1045 BST) for attendees to join and chat with speakers and other participants.

Supported by

Day 1: Excusable or not? Consequences on contract performance in international arbitration
22 September 2020, 0900-1045 BST

  • How Covid-19 could affect contractual obligations
  • Recent developments on the invocation of concepts of force majeure, frustration and interpretation of particular clauses, including material adverse effect/change clauses
  • How the invocation and interpretation of general legal doctrines and jurisprudence have evolved in Asia Pacific due to Covid-19 pandemic
  • The best practices in putting particular clauses in your contracts in various industries in Asia Pacific
  • Procedural consequences - what developments have been observed in international arbitrations with Asia Pacific?
  • Where to from here - gazing into the crystal ball

Opening remarks:

  • Swee Yen Koh WongPartnership, Singapore; Vice Chair, IBA Arbitration

Keynote speaker:

  • Gaëtan Verhoosel Three Crowns, London; Co-Chair, IBA Arbitration Committee


  • Sapna Jhangiani QC Clyde & Co, Singapore


  • Matthew Gearing QC Allen & Overy, Hong Kong SAR
  • Darius Khambata SC One Essex Court, Mumbai
  • Kap-You (Kevin) Kim Peter & Kim, Seoul
  • Ariel Ye King & Wood Mallesons, Shenzhen; Chair, IBA One Belt One Road Subcommittee

Day 2: A pandemic arbitration wave? The rise of investor-state arbitrations in the aftermath of the pandemic
24 September 2020, 0900-1045 BST

  • Can investment agreements be a powerful tool to recover or prevent loss resulting from COVID-19 related government emergency measures?
  • Should the emergency measures be shielded from the investor-state arbitration?
  • What are the case scenarios/potential claims in the field of investor-state arbitrations? What are the possible state defences and arguments?
  • What are the perspectives of stakeholders in Asia Pacific?
  • More mediation within investor-state arbitrations in Asia Pacific?
  • Will investor state arbitration survive the Covid-19 crisis? Can investor-state arbitration remain as a preferred mechanism for resolving investment disputes? What will dispute resolution mechanism for investor-state disputes look like in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic?


  • Sarah Grimmer Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre, Hong Kong SAR


  • Professor Doug Jones AO Independent Arbitrator, Sydney, New South Wales
  • Toby Landau QC Essex Court Chambers, Singapore
  • Judith Levine Independent Arbitrator, Sydney, New South Wales
  • Alvin Yeo SC WongPartnership, Singapore

Closing remarks:

  • Chié Nakahara Nishimura & Asahi, Tokyo


  Prices in GBP + UK VAT @ 20%, where applicable:

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Certificate of Attendance

Certificates of attendance for each session will be provided, automatically, to all IBA members who have registered in advance and attended the live broadcast for a minimum of 30 minutes based on verified sign-in and sign-out times. Certificates can only be issued to the name provided at the time of registration. Currently only IBA members will be provided with a certificate free of charge. IBA members should use the email address you have on file with the IBA to register for this webinar if you require a certificate of attendance. Certificates for non-members are chargeable. If you have any queries relating to your Certificate of Attendance, please email

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