Cross-border disputes have become more prevalent, fueled by rising cross-border economic and trade activities globally. Compared to traditional litigation processes, arbitration offers the advantages of speed and cost-effectiveness, making it one of the key methods for resolving international disputes. Despite Taiwan's efforts in promoting alternative dispute resolution in recent years, Taiwanese arbitral awards are yet to be fully recognized internationally as Taiwan is not a signatory to the New York Convention. This, combined with the limited opportunities for Taiwan lawyers and related professionals to participate in international arbitration cases, has hindered their grasp of arbitral proceedings in relation to international and foreign-related arbitration cases. 

To enhance the local legal community's understanding of international arbitral proceedings, Baker McKenzie's Taipei office was invited by the Chinese Arbitration Association (CAA) to hold a closed-door seminar for its privileged guests on 22 March. 

The seminar, spearheaded by Anna Hwang, executive partner and chair of the Dispute Resolution Team at Baker McKenzie Taipei, also featured presentations by Partners Sean Shih and Joanna Ouyang from the Taipei office, as well as senior dispute resolution practitioners from the Hong Kong, Singapore and London offices. Topics covered included: the "Main Institutions of International Arbitration" and the "Application of Artificial Intelligence in the Judicial System."

Seraphim Ma, managing partner of Baker McKenzie Taipei, commented, "Our Taipei Dispute Resolution team and our three overseas speakers — Gary Seib from Hong Kong, Celeste Ang from Singapore, and Steve Abraham from London — all have extensive arbitration experience. We are very pleased that they are able to participate virtually and join our local team in sharing their experience and insights in international arbitral proceedings with the participants."

The seminar kick-started with opening remarks from Anna Hwang, followed by a presentation from Sean Shih giving an overview of the world's major arbitration institutions, including the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC), the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC), the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), and the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC). The three overseas speakers then took a deep dive and discussed the arbitration procedures and variance in operational regulations among the different institutions, as well as considerations on how to select a suitable institution for international arbitration cases. 

Anna Hwang also acted as the moderator and joined the team in a panel discussion where our lawyers discussed a comprehensive suite of topics including: key concerns of contracting parties in Taiwan and Asia, key considerations when drafting arbitration agreements (including the use of appropriate arbitration clauses), emerging trends in international arbitration and how to avoid potential difficulties and challenges.

Separately, Joanna Ouyang presented on the topic "Application of Artificial Intelligence in the Judicial System" where she discussed the current application scenarios of AI in the judicial system, emphasizing the advantages of AI in improving judicial system efficiency. She also highlighted potential concerns and challenges associated with the use of AI, such as effectiveness, fairness (algorithmic bias), transparency and judicial independence. She emphasized that regardless of whether it is human intelligence or artificial intelligence, the ultimate goals of the judicial system are about upholding fairness, resolving disputes, ensuring transparency and building trust.

When it comes to the use of arbitration clauses in contracts, Anna Hwang said, "Dispute resolution clauses are often referred to as 'midnight clauses,' especially arbitration clauses. We hope to raise people's understanding of the essence of arbitration clauses before entering into contracts, rather than rushing at the last minute." 

Anna added, "Baker McKenzie Taipei has a close, long-term cooperative relationship with the CAA, Taipei, with which we have jointly participated in many high-profile infrastructure arbitration cases in Taiwan. We hope this seminar can help enhance the industry's understanding of the international arbitration system and encourage businesses in Taiwan to use arbitration in resolving cross-border disputes."

Tian-Rein Lee, secretary-general of the CAA, Taipei, commented, "Baker McKenzie Taipei is an important partner for our association, and we have received continuous support from their lawyers and clients. This event was made possible with strong support from Anna Hwang, Sean Shih, Joanna Ouyang, and the Baker McKenzie' cross-border Dispute Resolutions team, who have shared their international arbitration practice experiences with our participants." 

Mr. Lee continued, "Through this seminar, we hope to enhance the participants' knowledge of international arbitration and provide the latest information on international arbitration institutions to further advance the development of arbitration in Taiwan. At the same time, we hope to deepen our cooperation with Baker McKenzie and look forward to having more arbitrators and also members joining our association to add new dynamism to Taiwan's arbitration arena." 
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