Welcome to ‘At home, around the World’. In a series of short episodes, members of 39 Essex Chambers are filmed in conversation with friends and colleagues from different parts of the world.
In a relaxed and informal environment, these jurists, practitioners & commentators discuss a wide range of topics including the impact of recent events on their professional and personal lives, how they have adapted to COVID-19, the measures taken by their respective jurisdictions and what the future may hold for the international legal community.
These videos are posted on YouTube and can be seen with the links below. We will be posting videos periodically across the coming weeks so watch this space. We hope you enjoy the discussions!
What can the law do about the pandemic’s impact on those entitled to its protection? In this first episode, Edwin Glasgow QC and the Hon Mr Justice Edwin Cameron reflect on how the present pandemic might impact access to justice in the UK, South Africa and around the world. They consider the legal system’s ability to deal with the backlog of existing disputes and the large influx of new disputes which will arise as a result of interruptions to commercial obligations. Might there be alternatives to the traditional adversarial approach so well-entrenched in our legal systems?
Peter Rees QC catches up with Philip Rodney, former Chairman of Burness Paull and noted Times columnist. In a wide-ranging conversation, they discuss the Scottish experience of the lockdown, the pros and cons of videoconferencing, how the current measures might fuel creativity and inventiveness in lawyers and how the coronavirus crisis might lead to a revaluation within society of the contribution made by different professions.
How have three of the world’s leading arbitral institutions coped with the pandemic? Swee Im Tan catches up with Eric Ng (HKIAC), Kevin Nash (SIAC) and Tatiana Polevshchikova (AIAC). The group discuss how the different arbitral institutions have been coping with the move to virtual hearings and greater cooperation between their organisations and how the flexibility of arbitration can allow parties to adapt to the new situation. On a personal level, they chat about the importance of virtual communication in their own lives, what the future may hold in the next few months and whether their next catch up will be Zoom based or not.
Samar Abbas Kazmi catches up with Kelvin Teo to discuss how the circuit breaker measures are impacting, and may well continue to impact, all walks of life in Singapore; what the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act means for the construction industry; and whether things will ever be ‘normal’ again.
Lindy Patterson QC talks to Annette Magnusson, the Secretary General of the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC). They discuss how the institution has been dealing with the pandemic and the move to remote working, whether there has been a decrease in the numbers of people filing for arbitration and what the wider effect on disputes might be. Lindy and Annette also share their thoughts on the broader impact of greater videoconferencing technology, what might remain after this is over and what Zoom background to go for!
Samar Abbas Kazmi and Feisal Naqvi explore how the pandemic might impact developing economies like Pakistan. They focus on how the current situation is affecting access to justice; the opportunities for reform in the commercial dispute resolution sector which arise as a result of the need for innovation; how investor-state disputes might be affected; and what, if any, impact the current climate might have on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor as part of the Belt & Road Initiative.
Steven Lim (based in Singapore) chats with esteemed jurist Justice AK Sikri, former judge of the High Court of Delhi and Supreme Court of India, and currently an international judge of the Singapore International Commercial Court.They explore the distinguished career of Justice Sikri, his journey towards the judiciary and his message for lawyers and practitioners following his experience. In this wide-ranging conversation, the two discuss the role of the judiciary in the Indian constitution and the challenges faced whilst also on a more personal level, they discuss Justice Sikri’s transition to becoming an international arbitrator and the differences between sitting as a judge in Singapore as compared to India. They also explore whether Justice Sikri would explore matters differently as a judge rather than as an arbitrator, their messages for counsel as to how to approach arbitrators and their personal experience of virtual hearings and whether they are here to stay.
Steven Lim catches up with David Gu, Partner at Tiantong & Partners about some of the lessons that he has learnt throughout the period of lockdown that took place in China and how that impacted his practice. The two practitioners discuss the effect of COVID-19 on the courts and arbitration centres in Beijing and China more widely as well as some of the steps taken by the leading Chinese institutions to mitigate the impact. They discuss the online hearing system in China and whether these advanced hearing technologies are here to stay as well as the adoption of virtual hearings in arbitration and what factors might lead to arbitration using virtual hearings more in the future.
Lindy Patterson QC catches up with Matthew Harley, Senior Counsel at DIFC-LCIA Arbitration Centre based in Dubai. In a wide-ranging conversation with personal reflections of Matthew’s experience in Dubai, the two discuss the initial slowdown in arbitration work followed by the increase in emergency arbitrations and urgent applications. They chat about how the pandemic might affect work more broadly (when compared to the financial crisis in 2008/09) and the impact of virtual hearings, whether they currently work as well as they could and whether they might give rise to difficulties when it comes to enforcing arbitral awards.
What does a pandemic look like from the arbitrator’s chair? Join Nicholas Higgs and Sir Vivian Ramsey as they discuss the experience of COVID-19 from the perspective of the arbitration tribunal and how arbitrators are adjusting to fully virtual hearings for both procedural and substantive matters. If you want to know (amongst other things) why you need to make sure your witness has their back to the door, then do listen in.
Dr Ashwani Kumar and Camilla ter Haar reflect on the ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting on our world and what a newly emerging world will – and indeed should – look like and how the law and lawyers can play a part in supporting this.
In this edition of “At home, around the World” Lucy Greenwood and Ndanga Kamau join Marion Smith QC to discuss their experiences of building a career in international dispute resolution and explore the challenges posed in relation to increasing the diversity in international arbitration, including those that have been magnified by the Covid-19 pandemic.
This is the first part of an ongoing discussion, which took place in early May 2020 before the recent protests over racial justice and equality. The second part will follow shortly.
Mark McMahon and Hannah McCarthy discuss the day-to-day reality of working from home in London after three months of quarantine, and how they see this affecting their practice going forward. There are unique challenges of remote hearings, and the apparent resilience of international arbitrations to confinement and travel restrictions, but also the effects of this on client relationships and general lawyer wellbeing.
In this episode, Niraj talks with Lady Justice Joyce Aluoch. They discuss Joyce’s life in Kenya, her career as a judge and mediator, and working patterns in the ‘new normal’. Niraj and Joyce also talk about other topical issues, including the role and future of the International Criminal Court and the significance and impact of the Black Lives Matter protests. This conversation was recorded in June 2020.
Peter Rees QC chats to Maarten Wilbers, Deputy Legal Counsel at CERN, about the establishment of CERN out of the ashes of the Second World War, its unique challenges as an intergovernmental organisation straddling the Swiss/French border, how we all came to have free use of the world wide web thanks to CERN, and what CERN is now doing in the search for the fundamental building blocks of matter. Maarten also explains how CERN is helping in the fight against COVID-19, including the development of a cheap, easy to operate ventilator for use in developing nations and discusses the forthcoming construction of a new science centre at CERN which will be open to the public and which has been designed by renowned architect Renzo Piano. Recorded on the 1st July 2020.