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Wednesday 27 February (1830 - 2030)

Asia Pacific Regional Forum (Lead)

Thursday 28 February (0915 - 0925)

Asia Pacific Regional Forum (Lead)

Thursday 28 February (0925 - 0950)

Asia Pacific Regional Forum (Lead)

Thursday 28 February (0950 - 1000)

Asia Pacific Regional Forum (Lead)

Programme details

Takashi Yamashita Minister of Justice, Ministry of Justice of Japan, Tokyo

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Thursday 28 February (1000 - 1130)

Asia Pacific Regional Forum (Lead)

Programme details

Arbitration and mediation have long been an important dispute resolution mechanism for a variety of international business disputes. A number of Asia-Pacific jurisdictions are very active in promoting international arbitration and mediation. Further, some jurisdictions also promote “international commercial court”. Although Japan has not traditionally been viewed as a significant proponent of international arbitration and mediation, this is quickly changing. In June 2017, the Japanese Government published its policy to develop a foundation to activate international arbitration. In February 2018, the Japan International Dispute Resolution Centre, or JIDRC, was incorporated, which began operating their state-of-the-art permanent arbitration facilities in Osaka in May 2018. The JIDRC plans to launch similar facilities in Tokyo by March 2020. Additionally, the Japan International Mediation Centre-Kyoto, or JIMC-Kyoto, became available to the global mediation community in September 2018.

In light of recent developments in various Asia-Pacific jurisdictions, the panel will discuss the strategic considerations to be paid in adjudicating international business disputes, including the right choice of seat and venue for litigation, arbitration and/or mediation. As arbitration and mediation is an increasingly preferred method of dispute resolution in regards to international commercial and financial matters, this plenary session is recommended to all of participants.

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Thursday 28 February (1130 - 1150)

Asia Pacific Regional Forum (Lead)

Thursday 28 February (1150 - 1320)

Asia Pacific Regional Forum (Lead)

Programme details

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is under way. The next 20 years will be a time of upheaval. Old patterns of human endeavour and commerce will vanish as new technologies and business models such as artificial intelligence, super-connectivity, Internet of Things, new energy, gig economy – take over. This session will focus on blockchain technology and cryptocurrency, potentially the gearbox for much of the “New Order”.

Will cryptocurrency turn out to be paradigm-shifting? Our panel will survey the regulatory and policy landscape for cryptocurrency and crypto trading around the region, with comparison to the United States and European Union. Among the patterns and trends to be covered, we will consider crypto transactional structuring in the context of general securities regulation, and look at the impact of Anti-Money Laundering rules and other banking constraints. Aspects will include cross-jurisdictional trading, tax issues, and controversies surrounding Initial Coin Offerings.

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Thursday 28 February (1150 - 1320)

Asia Pacific Regional Forum (Lead)

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As per market surveys, deal-making activity involving Asia Pacific grew significantly in 2018. China and India M&A demonstrated strong growth, including mega deals above US$ 1b in size. Outbound deals also showed good growth after a slow period in 2017. The year demonstrates a deal ticker that has been snaking upwards as Asia delivers on the unbelievable growth rates predicted. The strength of the strong M&A activity lies partially on the massive consumer base which has hitherto been untapped. The panel composed of lawyers from across Asia will discuss trends, issues and sentiments across geographies. The discussion will be driven and supported by a brief introduction and a few discussion themes:

  • What sectors/industries and type of transactions are you seeing increasing activity?
  • What legal issues, including regulatory and other governmental related issues, are impacting M&A in your jurisdictions?
  • What are the experiences for Asian investors acquiring assets/targets outside Asia?

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Thursday 28 February (1320 - 1440)

Asia Pacific Regional Forum (Lead)

Thursday 28 February (1440 - 1610)

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These days, companies are dealing with numerous investigations in antitrust matters and competing information requests in merger cases by multiple antitrust authorities in the region. The session focuses on new regimes and more established ones that have adopted competition law and examines the differences in practices and substantive law in these jurisdictions. For companies and practitioners alike, this raises the question of whether we are witnessing the birth of an ever expanding universe of individual antitrust environments or whether the forces of convergence will result in a common approach to antitrust enforcement. Should individuality or conformity prevail?

Aimed at general practitioners just as much as those who specialise in the field, panellists in this session will discuss the current state of antitrust play in various Asian jurisdictions to see where we stand but also to discuss where the state of antitrust regulation is headed in these jurisdictions. The aim of the session is to create awareness, exchange experiences and foster the ability of participants to advocate for sound antitrust rules and procedures in Asia.

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Thursday 28 February (1440 - 1610)

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Based on the recent developments in Japan this session will analyse practical experiences, clients’ needs and best practice for law firms in Asia to expand internationally. The panellists will discuss the different forms of international expansion, which is opening foreign offices, joining a regional or international network or seek a merger with a foreign firm. With the panel composed of private practitioners from Australia, China, England, Germany, India and Japan and with the participation of the general manager of the legal department of a large business enterprise based in Japan the attendants will have a solid basis for developing the strategy for their own firms regarding the internationalisation of their practices.

The panellists will also address the impact of the internationalisation of Asian firms in the host countries both from the perspective of the expanding firm and from the point of view of the local legal community. Should the foreign offices practice local law or should they rather be organised as representative offices? In this context financial planning and expectations of the partners of the expanding firm regarding the results of such projects will also be discussed.

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Thursday 28 February (1610 - 1630)

Asia Pacific Regional Forum (Lead)

Thursday 28 February (1630 - 1800)

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Since the adoption of the United Nation Guiding Principle on Business and Human Rights in 2011, the legal practice of business and human rights has developed dramatically. Global businesses expect their external legal counsel not only to be aware of emerging laws and guidelines but also how to implement international best practice. As law and practice develops, legal counsel must also be able to guide businesses through an emerging legal, financial and reputation risk landscape, for example, related to litigation, shareholders, investor relations, contracting partners and transnational civil society advocacy. Increasingly, Business and Human Rights is no longer a nice-to-have but a key component of effective legal risk management. In developing a National Action Plan Japan initiated a national baseline assessment in March 2018. The Japanese government is trying to involve multiple stakeholders in the process, including the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, and is facing various challenges and opportunities. In a climate of increasing awareness of business’s accountability to the community and stakeholders, Australia is also actively moving towards implementing modern slavery laws, embracing a reporting model similar to the UK and following trends in other Asia Pacific jurisdictions like Hong Kong.

The panellists will discuss developments in this field in various jurisdictions, current trends, and how legal practice will further evolve in response to client’s needs and a fast-changing global landscape.

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Thursday 28 February (1630 - 1800)

Asia Pacific Regional Forum (Lead)

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With the rate of economic globalisation, we now face more and more large cross-border insolvency cases. In an insolvency situation that involves creditors from several jurisdictions, it is important for a country to have clear rules for handling the assets and liabilities of debtors and settling rights and obligations between creditors and debtors, as well as systems to allow speedy recovery and restructuring, which would strengthen the credibility and, ultimately, economic competitiveness of a country. Recently, countries in the Asia Pacific area have developed and amended their insolvency legal systems by adjusting the balance between the protection of creditors and that of debtors, and/or attempting to improve the speed and flexibility of restructuring.

In this session, each panellist will report on and discuss the update of recent legal reforms and practices in each jurisdiction, analysing from the view point of, among others: (1) protection and involvement of trade creditors and financial creditors; (2) the player who leads the proceedings and its power and role thereunder (ie, creditors leading the proceedings versus court/debtor leading the proceedings); and (3) how much/often such proceedings have been used. Further, each panellist is to provide an update on the latest major insolvency cases in each jurisdiction.

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Thursday 28 February (1920 - 2120)

Asia Pacific Regional Forum (Lead)

Friday 1 March (0930 - 1100)

Asia Pacific Regional Forum (Lead)

Programme details

Since the Trump administration took power in January 2017, the world has witnessed the most tumultuous period in international trade in decades. Settled expectations have been upended, and countries around the world are now being forced to reconsider their overall trade policies. The region most affected by these developments is Asia. The United States’ decision to withdraw from the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), followed by the demand for renegotiation of The United States–Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) to accommodate US concerns about automotive trade, culminating with the imposition of tariffs on billion in imports from China all demonstrate a clear intention by the Trump administration to reduce liberalisation of US-Asia trade. Asia has responded to these attacks by advancing its own trade agreements, in particular the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership – in essence, the TPP minus the US – as well as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. Asian countries have also responded with vigorous challenges before the World Trade Organisation to some of the measures. But even though Asian countries and companies have been diversifying and exploring other alternatives, including stronger relationships with Western economies other than the US, the fact remains that these recent developments have fundamentally ended ‘business as usual’ around the world. Our panel with be addressing these issues, and will also discuss the following questions: • What do these changes mean for businesses dependent on trade in goods both outside of Asia, and also within the Asia region? • How can companies protect their supply chains from further disruptions? • What legal mechanisms are available to counsel to help protect their clients’ interests, and what strategies are likely to be most effective in helping them achieve these ends? • How do these changes affect companies’ compliance activities, and do they raise new risks?

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Friday 1 March (1100 - 1130)

Asia Pacific Regional Forum (Lead)

Friday 1 March (1130 - 1300)

Asia Pacific Regional Forum (Lead)

Programme details

Steeped in tradition, lawyers have long been stereotyped as resistant to technology adoption, but this is no longer holding true. Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) are challenging lawyers to re-examine not only how the law should address ethical and legal questions posed by AI adoption, but also the practice of law.

Litigation can be a long and expensive legal process for businesses, investors and law firms. Some litigators feel an investment in AI will allow lawyers to focus on complex, higher-value work. Others question the value of the benefits and returns offered by nascent AI technologies. This panel will discuss the different ways in which AI is currently applied in litigation and how technology can streamline litigation processes. At a more philosophical level, the panel will discuss significant legal questions relating to ‘decisions’ made by AI-powered software, including those of tort liability and of criminal guilt. For example, if AI is controlling a driverless car and someone is killed in an accident, who will be legally liable? Some of the key issues the panel will discuss include:

  • Are AI and other technologies making their presence felt in the courtroom? How far can the adoption of AI and technology in the courtroom conceivably extend?
  • Are there steps parties may take at the outset of a dispute – or even before one surfaces – to incorporate technology into their preparations? How can a powerful AI tool share / provide relevant information relating to the litigation more quickly and in a cost efficient manner to the other side and court?
  • What are the pros and cons of introducing a greater degree of automation into litigation proceedings?
  • How can technology assist with the collection of evidence, coping with large volumes of data from multiple sources, and controlling related costs? Can AI improve the efficiency of the discovery process in litigation? Conversely, what are the risks of adopting AI in discovery?
  • Will AI be a differentiator for litigation practitioners / law firms? Or will AI replace lawyers? How real is the possibility of AI ‘judges’? Will greater use of AI and technology shape the future of litigation? Are they set to alter the litigation process in any fundamental ways?

The panel will conclude its deliberations with some thoughts on AI’s promise and limitations across the legal industry.

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Friday 1 March (1130 - 1300)

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Business lawyers and law firms often do not have intimate relationships with bar associations because their business law do not require assistance from them. On the other hand, they are obligated to comply with rules of the bar that, in their view, sometimes constitute obstacles to their business law practice. However, independence of lawyers and lawyers’ rights are protected by efforts of the bars and the bars also have worked to enhance their members’ international activities such as foreign lawyers activities in different jurisdictions. Such collaboration between lawyers/law firms and the bar associations would be necessary for both enhancement of rule of law and business activities. This session will discuss which activities both parties can collaborate.

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Session/Workshop Chair(s)

Friday 1 March (1300 - 1420)

Asia Pacific Regional Forum (Lead)