"One Belt, One Road" and Hong Kong’s Legal Services

1. Following the Chief Executive’s repeated motion of the development of “One Belt, One Road”, the related topics have been the subject of considerable public discussion. The new policy bears endless opportunities for all, and Hong Kong’s legal profession is, of course, no exception.

2. Moreover, the concept bears a win-win approach without any threshold. It is open, inclusive, mutually beneficial and non-exclusive.

3. Elsie Leung, Deputy Director of the HKSAR Basic Law Committee, believes that as a world power, China should pay close attention to its cultural standing, political and legal systems, and the quality of its people. The “One Belt, One Road” national policy promotes the democratic rule of law, deepens the cultural system reform and improves people’s livelihood, which is fully in line with the rise of a world power.

4. Thus, the areas of cooperation between China and other countries along the “One Belt, One Road” are very diversified. The Silk Road Fund, AIIB, TPP, international financial institutions and development-oriented financial funds can provide the capital and skills for these countries as required.

5. Under the principle of “One Country, Two Systems”, Hong Kong is part of China while having a different system. It has also become an international financial centre as well as a bridge between Chinese and Western culture. On this basis, Leung is convinced that China’s “One Belt, One Road” development initiative and “going global” strategy present major opportunities for Hong Kong’s legal profession.

6. The country’s development will inevitably involve a large number of contracts. Leung believes that by relying on its existing legal status, Hong Kong can strive to make its laws applicable for the contracts, as well as leading its courts and other institutions to become the place for contract dispute resolution, thereby contributing the wisdom and efforts of its lawyers.

7. She added that Hong Kong’s lawyers are not only adept with the details of both Chinese and Western laws, but are also gaining deeper understanding of the legal systems and financing methods of Islamic countries. Furthermore, as Hong Kong’s lawyers are bilingual, they are able to accurately analyze the different requirements of the contracting parties, and share their analysis with Chinese customers to help them form accurate judgments.

8. Leung also pointed out that because Hong Kong’s lawyers are in constant contact with a large number of business people from around the world and understand their needs, they are high-quality intermediaries who can help their clients prevent misunderstandings and effectively contribute to the negotiations between the contracting parties by participating in negotiations.

9. She also commended Hong Kong’s sound and fair international legal dispute resolution mechanism, complete procedural rules, and stringent by-the-book disposal of cases, which are fully in line with international practices. Therefore, Hong Kong is well-positioned to build a legal dispute resolution centre that will be accepted by the majority of international community. She suggested that Hong Kong should establish a legal dispute resolution centre specialised in serving the “One Belt, One Road” initiative.

This article was firstly published in the magazine CGCC Vision 2016 July issue. Please click to read full report.

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