CEO update | December 2018
During the last week of November and the first week of December, it seemed like I spent most of my time in and out of planes, airports and hotel rooms – all for good purpose. First to Jakarta, then onto Perth, Hobart, Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney.
Those of you who have visited Jakarta know that in its centre it is a bustling metropolis, with a few wide tree-lined boulevards, lots of busy roads and a range of shiny mega-shopping malls butting up against a labyrinth of narrow, winding lanes and street-food vendors. You might have learnt your own trick for getting from one side of a busy road to another. On a particularly busy stretch of road, I did a deal with a group of women university students who asked me to do a survey focussed on being a tourist: I will do the survey if you will get me to the other side of the street. I became part of their huddle and boldly stepped into the traffic trusting that the oncoming cars would heed the hands of the huddle held up in a “stop” gesture. My trust paid off and I enjoyed answering the survey questions.
I was in Jakarta for the Regional Arbitral Institute Forum (RAIF). RAIF is an ASEAN focussed organisation, that from time to time invites new members. RAIF includes only one member from a country. Resolution Institute, for many years, has been the member from Australia and from New Zealand, both of which are considered to be important ASEAN partners. Other members are from Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei and the Philippines.
RAIF focusses on two primary areas: sharing of information about arbitration within each of these countries and cooperation to grow arbitration in the region, including expanding the opportunities for arbitrators from each institute. This latter purpose is particularly important for Resolution Institute arbitrators as SE Asia is growing rapidly with large investment in infrastructure. It is likely that there will be increasing occasions when independent arbitrators will be needed for disputes between ASEAN nations and also between ASEAN nations and private or public investors.
Reports from each of the RAIF members suggests steady growth and increasing judicial support for arbitration. Some Institutes report recent revisions to their Rules and most continue to grapple with growing the experience and developing the expertise of the next generation of arbitrators.
Accompanying the annual RAIF meeting there is a conference, this year titled Enhancing Regional Arbitration Cooperation: Emerging and Current Issues. Papers covering liability issues in commercial maritime disputes, code of ethics and conflict of interests and setting aside and refusal of enforcement of foreign awards are available on the BANI Arbitration website here >>
From Jakarta, I flew to Perth to meet the incoming Resolution Institute Ambassador, former Chief Justice the Honourable Wayne Martin AC QC to discuss his role during 2019, to have discussions with the Perth Chapter Committee and to attend the end of year Chapter event, kindly hosted by Jackson MacDonald. Over the following three days I joined the Tasmanian Chapter, the Victorian Chapter and the ACT Chapter for their end of year events. (I had already attended the SA Chapter event a couple of weeks earlier.) At each of these events I was pleased to thank the Chapter Committees for their tremendous efforts and commitment to the professional learning of Resolution Institute members. I shared my perspective that the face-to-face events offer an essential networking opportunity for building the dispute resolution community and for providing a professional “home” for dispute resolvers. As well, I reflected on Resolution Institute achievements of 2018 and shared the initiatives planned for 2019, all of which you can read about in the 2018 Annual Report >>.
In this whirlwind tour, I was pleased to meet with the Chair of the Mediator Standards Board to explore issues relating to the national register and also with officers from the Commonwealth Attorney General’s Department to discuss developments in online dispute resolution (ODR) and the current Family Law Review. Finally, I enjoyed taking a breather over lunch with retiring Ambassador Ian Govey AM to thank him for his insightful contribution over the past 18 months.
So, that’s a wrap for 2018. I hope you have a very jolly and rejuvenating festive season. I look forward to connecting with you in 2019.
20 December 2018