18 December 2019

CEO update | December 2019 | Building up a picture

Dear Members,

The last few weeks for me have been a bustle of activity with a focus on meeting people, both staff and members of Resolution Institute, to help me better understand our current landscape and to build up a picture of where my focus will be in both the short term and long term.

Earlier this month Board member Toby Shnookal QC and I attended the annual RAIF conference and General Meeting which took place in Brunei. RAIF is the Regional Arbitral Institutes Forum, which facilitates co-operation amongst arbitral institutes and arbitration practitioners in the South East Asian Region. Resolution Institute is a founding member of RAIF and over the years has developed excellent relationships with the other country members. It was a fantastic opportunity for me to attend this conference so early on in my time here at Resolution Institute as I was able to learn more about important matters in arbitration and mediation around the South East Asian region as well as meet my fellow country representatives.

The keynote speech by Justice Anselmo Reyes of Hong Kong highlighted the need to insist on the highest standards by member institutions in both arbitration and mediation to stem what might be growing dissatisfaction with processes run by persons without qualification that may threaten the progression to a stable international legal order these systems of justice can provide. Linked to this were the highly engaging discussions about the merits of signing the Singapore Convention on Mediation, the role of ADR in resolving disputes arising out of China’s Belt and Road initiative and new trends in challenging the jurisdiction of arbitrators.

It was a whirlwind of a trip and we were able to fit in a quick taxi tour of Brunei before heading back to the airport. We unexpectedly ended up on a hike through the Brunei rainforest, off the beaten track when we found a bridge that had been washed away on the main path, so I trusted Toby to find us a new way………. We eventually found ourselves back at the road after walking up and down steep cliffs (holding on to a rope to keep ourselves steady), finding numerous dead ends (yet more paths washed away) and a picturesque waterfall. Toby aptly labelled this part of the trip as ‘teambuilding’!

My other focus for December has been getting to know staff and members and I have embarked on a ‘listening tour’ of the Resolution Institute membership. I have found the feedback I have received so far has been interesting and insightful, and at times, controversial. Some of it has been positive and other feedback has questioned why we have done things a certain way and what we will look like in the future. Whilst I can’t answer all these questions now, I have been recording all feedback, questions and comments to help me for when I start formulating the future strategic direction of Resolution Institute.  I will be speaking with more members in the new year and if you have any feedback or comments for me, please don’t hesitate to send them to me via as I welcome your views.

As we wind down for the break, I hope you all take some time to rejuvenate and enjoy the festive season. I will be spending the break with my family and using the time to get ready for a huge 2020! I wish you and your families a wonderful break and a joyful holiday season.

Best wishes,