Global Pound Conference, Hong Kong

Legal News & Analysis - Asia Pacific - Hong Kong - Dispute Resolution

11 January, 2017


Global Pound Conference, Hong Kong


The Global Pound Conference (GPC) series is a unique global dispute resolution initiative involving 40 conferences in 31 countries worldwide. It is inspired by the Pound Conference in the USA that transformed dispute resolution in the 1970s by championing alternative dispute resolution (ADR).


Launched by the International Mediation Institute (IMI) and with the backing of major international institutions, governments and corporates, GPC is testing the ef cacy of current dispute resolution processes. Research in the UK indicates a signi cant gap between what those with commercial disputes expect and need from the system and the systems and services currently provided by lawyers, judges, arbitrators, mediators, institutions and policymakers.


Through canvassing the views of thousands of stakeholders, GPC is analysing the scale of that gap and proposing practical ways to bridge it. All dispute resolution processes are in scope: litigation, arbitration, as well as the range of ADR processes, including mediation.


Adopting a unique interactive format, conference delegates from key stakeholder groups (users/parties, advisers, providers and in uencers) vote anonymously on standardised questions using a voting app. The results are debated in real time by world class moderators and panellists. The data outputs will be distilled into a global report and white paper. The overall goal is to help improve processes to meet stakeholder needs.


GPC was launched in Singapore in March 2016 and there have since been events in Lagos, Mexico City, New

York City, Geneva, Toronto and Madrid. In reviewing the information collected at very different locations, many similarities in viewpoint have been revealed. There will be 35 GPC events in 2017, including in Amsterdam, Auckland, Bangkok, Barcelona, Berlin, Chennai, Dubai, Los Angeles, Miami, New Delhi, Paris, Phnom Penh, San Francisco, Sao Paulo, Sydney, Texas, and Washington DC. The series will conclude in London in July 2017.1 


Singapore conference


Over 400 people from 25 countries participated in the inaugural conference held at the Supreme Court of Singapore in March 2016. Several themes evolved.


(1) The courts and arbitral institutions continue to play a vital role in the development of dispute management and resolution. End users want them to promote ef cient case management and, wherever possible, ADR. Parties had a preference for hybrid dispute resolution processes (mediation combined with arbitration or litigation), something that is evolving but which remains relatively 'green'.


(2) Technology was judged to be another important part of the jigsaw, particularly in the delivery of dispute management processes. Online dispute resolution is popular, being deployed in increasingly complex, multi-party disputes, and the speed and simplicity of resolution it allows is a draw card.


(3) Lawyers (both external and in-house) play a critical role in educating their clients (and themselves) about how best to deploy less frequently used processes, such as mediation. Whilst in-house counsel feel that ADR should be a strategic imperative, this is sometimes at odds with the approach of external lawyers.


Hong Kong conference


The one-day conference at the Convention and Exhibition Centre on 23 February 20172 has the backing of major corporates, institutions such as the HKIAC, and the Department of Justice. The event is being led by Herbert Smith Freehills, the global founding sponsor of the GPC series.


The conference will bring together leading names in litigation, arbitration and mediation, as well as senior corporate executives and general counsel from a range of sectors. Hong Kong's Secretary for Justice will deliver the Keynote Address and the Chief Justice the Closing Remarks. Hong Kong's Solicitor General, Mr Wesley Wong, will also share his views as a panellist.


With court and arbitral claims in Hong Kong reaching record highs and disputes becoming increasingly complex, costly and time consuming, GPC Hong Kong is a timely opportunity for all stakeholders (those engaged in disputes, lawyers, advisors, experts, judges, arbitrators, mediators, academics, government bodies and dispute institutions) to reflect on what is working and what needs to change. With third party funding and the promotion of mediation high on the legislature's agenda, the time is ripe for a conversation that covers all dispute resolution processes and provides a clear framework for quantitative and qualitative outputs. All those involved in contentious work in Hong Kong are encouraged to attend.


1  Details of scheduled events are available at

2  the full programme is available at

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