IPBA Mid-Year Council Meeting and Regional Conference in Dubai
Authored by: Richard Briggs
In 2013 I was delighted to be asked by Lalit Bhasin, the past President of the Inter Pacific Bar Associate (IPBA), to assume the role of Regional Coordinator for the IPBA in the Middle East. Just two years later, with the support of many lawyers in the region, we recently held the inaugural event in the Middle East for the IPBA; the mid-year council meeting and regional conference.
At first glance, the Middle East may seem an unlikely place to hold an event of the Inter-Pacific Bar Association (although the Inter Pacific Bar Association is a fully international organisation and not restricted to members from the inter-pacific region). The geographical distance between the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific Region is great; however the two have been closely linked for centuries by trade over both land and maritime routes, by old and new silk roads, and they are only likely to become closer.
The weekend saw a number of council and committee meetings, together with some excellent networking events with members and delegates descending on Dubai from far and wide. The last event in the 4-day calendar was a regional conference entitled: “Arbitration at the Crossroads: Middle East, Asia, and Africa”.
Close to 100 delegates attended the conference, held at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel. Following the captivating keynote speech by Mr. Talmiz Ahmed, author and former Indian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Oman, there were four panels with speakers and moderators from around the world, including Dubai, Paris, Singapore, Hong Kong, London, New Delhi and Seoul. The panels discussed various aspects of arbitration, including choosing the seat of arbitration, regionalisation and culture, managing complex and multi-party arbitration, and whether arbitrators should or should not also be counsel. The purpose of the event was to look at arbitration from a different perspective, and to try to approach it in a way which was different to other conferences. To this end, we hope we succeeded in creating a worthwhile event.
In my role as the IPBA Regional Coordinator for the Middle East I would like to thank the leaders and members of the IPBA Dispute Resolution & Arbitration Committee, including Chiann Bao, Benjamin Hughes and Juliet Blanch, who were key in delivering this well received conference.
The weekend helped to promote the IPBA but also Dubai, the UAE and beyond, and we hope to follow the success of this inaugural IPBA event in the Middle East with more events in the near future.
Very many thanks also to my co-chairs of the Dubai event hosting committee, Alec Emmerson of Clyde & Co., Ali Al Hashimi of Global Advocates, and Mohammad Al Suwaidi of Al Suwaidi & Co.
This article, including any advice, commentary or recommendation herein, is provided on a complimentary basis without consideration of any specific objectives, circumstances or facts. It reflects the views of the writer which may, in some cases, differ from those of the firm, especially in the developing jurisdiction of the UAE.