From 4 February to 8 February 2019, the 69th Session of the Second Working Group of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (Dispute Resolution) (hereinafter referred to as “UNCITRAL”) was held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, USA. Representatives of over 40 UNCITRAL member States, 16 observer organizations, 2 governmental organizations and 29 non-governmental organizations participated in the session. The Hong Kong Mediation Centre (“HKMC”) was invited as an observer consecutively for the 7th time. Dr. Law Wai Hung, Francis, President of HKMC; Mr. Kwan Wai King, Frankie, Vice President HKMC; and Dr. Shahla Ali, Panel Member of HKMC attended the meeting.
This Session is the first meeting around the Expedited Arbitration. According to the usual practice, Ms. Anna Joubin-Bret, Secretary-General of the UNCITRAL, organizes the election of officers. Mr. Andrés Jana from Chile was elected the Chairman of the current session of the Working Group II and Mr. Takashi Takashima from Japan was elected the Rapporteur.
Based on the UNCITRAL Working Paper A/CN.9/WG.II/WP.207, the Chairman Mr. Jana organized a discussion among the delegation members to define the scope of work of the Working Group, including:
i) To discuss the development of an international framework for expedited arbitration;
ii) To give due consideration to the impact of emergency arbitrators, adjudication and opt-out systems on expedited arbitration;
iii) To limit the discussion to the scope of commercial arbitration, but it does not rule out the impact of the system at the end of the work on other types of arbitration (investor inter-state arbitration);
iv) To discuss the relevant factors of expedited arbitration, including due process and impartiality, enforceability of decisions made through expedited arbitration procedures, and applicable standards for expedited arbitration;
v) The presentation of the outcome of the Working Group’s work may include the development of an independent set of rules, the revision of existing UNCITRAL arbitration rules, the development of guidelines for parties and arbitral tribunals, the development of model clauses that can be included in contracts or the formulation of a set of rules and guidelines for arbitration institutions.
During the five-day consecutive meetings, representatives from China and Hong Kong SAR enthusiastically expressed their opinions and contributed their experiences in expedited arbitration and promoted interactive discussions between representatives of various countries and institutions. Participants were inspired and surprised by the works and development of Arbitration in China.
On 6 February, the UNCITRAL held a seminar on the Convention on the Enforcement of International Mediated Settlement Agreements together with the New York International Arbitration Centre during the session. The Chairman of the Working Group II, the Secretary-General, the Assistant Director of the Minister of Law of Singapore and experts from various countries gathered to discuss the priorities, direction and opportunities of the Convention.
The United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation (“Mediation Convention”) was adopted at the 51st Session of the United Nations Commission on Trade Law on 27 June 2018. On 20 December 2018, the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Mediation Convention. The signing ceremony of the Convention will be held in Singapore on 7 August 2019.
All participants highly appreciated the well-prepared and excellent works of the Secretariat. The draft report on the work of the session was reviewed and revised on the last day on 8 February 2019. The next session will be held in Vienna this September to continue improving the proposal.