“Cut the living child in two and give half to one and half to the other” (New King James Version, The Bible). These may just be the first decision if not the first recorded words of an arbitrator. Arbitration has existed for thousands of years. Long before formal courts were established and judges formulated principles of law, people have resorted to arbitration as a dispute-resolution tool, even if they were not aware of the formal legal term. Some legal historians have traced arbitration’s beginnings all the way back to King Solomon. It was a peculiar case (the facts of which I will allow you to read up on your own) and why the two women involved in the case chose to appear before King Solomon and not a judge, is unclear. However, what matters is that they appeared before a judge of their choice, which made it an arbitration. They needed an independent, trusted, and wise third party to resolve their dispute. So why not a king?
Today, arbitration is one of the most lucrative areas of law with an intricate and sophisticated set of laws governing the practice. While parties no longer rely on wise kings to arbitrate, the need for an independent, trusted, and wise third party is just as relevant. Moreover, certain jurisdictions have emerged as hubs where the quality of arbitration is known to be especially effective. Hong Kong, for reasons you will read about in this issue, is one such place, and this month, we focus our Cover Story and all three features on arbitration in Hong Kong. While our Cover Story gathers thoughts from the leaders of five renowned arbitration organisations on Hong Kong’s status as an arbitration hub, our feature stories, penned by some of the best arbitrators in the city, provide valuable insight and updates on the topic. Our Practice Skills piece also follows the theme and delves into how commercial arbitrators can solve disputes more effectively.
To end the issue on a more graceful note, literally, our Lawyers at Leisure piece focuses on a lawyer by day and ballerina by night, who shares her experience with ballet and its benefits.