On the 28th May 2020 as part of the launch of the ULaw Hong Kong Alumni Network (ULaw HKAN) Mr. Dennis Cai, the Deputy Chief Operating Officer of eBRAM (Business related arbitration and mediation), International Online Dispute Resolution Centre, spoke to students and professionals on “How Covid-19 Changes the Landscape of Online Dispute Resolution”. This is part of a Speaker Series organised by ULaw HKAN. Registration was open to the public with an aim to share topical information with practitioners in Hong Kong.
The event was opened by Professor Peter Crisp, Pro Vice Chancellor External and the Founding Dean of Hong Kong Campus. Professor Crisp started by updating everyone on the measures The University of Law (ULaw) had put in place for dealing with Covid-19. He went onto say that the students in Hong Kong received their teaching online but were now returning back to the classroom. In England, ULaw hopes to reopen their campus’ in July 2020 for students who want physical access to our buildings. The Hong Kong campus was launched last year and Professor Crisp said it was ‘amazing to engage with alumni, and thrilled that ULaw HKAN has been set up so successfully.’
Jessie Leung, Chairperson of ULaw HKAN welcomed everyone to the event, she observed that Covid-19 had changed the landscape of legal practise, with courts closing and gaps in hearings and many adjournments. She noted it was also affecting procedural work for her clients.
Mr. Cai introduced the recent developments of Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) in Hong Kong, focusing on the concept of eBRAM and how eBRAM ‘s services facilitate access to justice and resolve Covid-19 related disputes efficiently and cost-effectively. He also spoke about the implications and opportunities for practicing arbitrators, mediators, and lawyers in the new landscape of ODR in Hong Kong.
In Hong Kong there has been an online presence of cases since 2002 in relation to domain name disputes. This includes electronic filing which is the fast track dispute resolution procedure which deals with issues without the need for in person hearings.
Mr. Cai shared some examples of domain names and the disputes that are dealt with under the process. He also mentioned three internet courts in Mainland China which have been in use since 2017. These all had 100% of their applications filed online.
Mr. Cai talked enthusiastically about eBRAM and how this will be launched shortly. Training will be provided and their aim is to make dispute resolution online easier and quicker.
Mr. Cai also talked about the concept of eBRAM and its online platform which aims to be to be rolled out at the end of June.
The objectives of the scheme, which is the first of its kind in the world, is to resolve disputes from or relating to Covid-19 in and out of Hong Kong. The claimed amount will be capped at HK$500,000. Either one or both of the parties must be a Hong Kong resident or a Hong Kong registered company. There is also a fast track procedure which can be resolved in anything between 3 days to a maximum of 2 months, this is naturally very cost effective as the registration fee is only HK$200.
His concluding remarks were that
- ODR is effective for resolving internet related disputes.
- The pandemic will cause a significant increase in disputes related to unfulfilled contractual obligations.
- Adoption of ODR schemes by internet platforms and MSMEs is a growing global trend and will become more popular around the world as it develops.
More speaker events will be scheduled in the future.
As part of the Speaker Series at The University of Law, our alumnus, Mr. Iu Ting Kwok (TK) was invited to talk on ‘Preparing to be a lawyer of the next generation’ on 4th May 2020.
TK started off by explaining his background and how he felt things had changed over the years. He started off by talking about his legal training with the College of Law (now The University of Law) and talked about the tutors, one of whom he is still in touch with and how this shaped his career. He found over the course of his studies that the law was fascinating to him and after his initial studies he moved to Singapore to train more and qualify as a lawyer.
He urged students to seek out an area of law which they enjoyed studying as this would ensure the most success. He went on to talk about how the law is always evolving, and how in Hong Kong especially, lawyers amongst other professions have seen many changes recently, especially in light of Covid-19. He observed that with the natural evolution of the profession under these extraordinary circumstances there are many advances and the evolution as such can highlight the beauty of the law.
TK told students that they should be flexible and agile when studying law, they should understand the changing nature of law. Many new areas of law are developing, such as Cyber law, competition law and mediation to name a few, many of these have come about naturally through the changing legal landscape.
TK’s talk was upbeat and very inspiring for the students. He set out some of his secrets to success and gave tips for preparing to enter the profession, such as;
- Ensure to develop an ongoing relationship with each person that you encounter
- Be ready to learn new things such as Webinar talks
- Always work for a higher goal
- Develop an interest in an area that you have passion for
The Speaker Series at The University of Law continues with the next speaker Eric Ng (The Managing Counsel of Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC)) in June 2020.