On 17 January 2020, the Embassy of France in Singapore and the Singapore Academy of Law jointly organized the France-Singapore Legal Symposium in the Supreme Court Auditorium. Themed “Building the Euro-Asian Platform”, the full-day event brought together senior government officials, members of the judiciary, private practitioners, in-house counsels, academics and top industry experts from France and Singapore to discuss legal, business and trade issues, and explore synergies for further collaboration between the two countries.
The day’s programme was officially opened by the Honourable the Chief Justice of Singapore Sundaresh Menon, followed by an opening address by Mr Jacques Bouyssou, General Secretary of Paris Place de Droit.
ABLI was proud to put together two panel discussions respectively on France and Singapore as legal hubs to promote convergence, legal certainty and innovation to support cross-border deal making and on new perspectives from Paris and Singapore in international dispute resolution, during which the judiciary, the academia and seasoned practitioners came together to exchange ideas on topics such as whether a civil law or common law “mindset” really exists, the development of international commercial courts and reforms to arbitration institutions. The introduction given by Justice Laure Aldebert on the International Commercial Chamber of the Paris Court of Appeal (ICCP-CA) was especially informative. Both panels also saw active participation from the floor with the audience vying for microphones to share their thoughts.
The Symposium drew a mixed crowd of both French and Singaporeans, and the businesses represented at the Symposium came from a wide range of industries, including energy, fashion, logistics, transport and many others. His Excellency Marc Abensour, Ambassador of France to Singapore, was the guest of honour to close the Symposium. A cocktail reception was later held at the Ambassador’s official residence where several memoranda of understanding were signed between French and Singaporean institutions to further promote exchanges between the legal communities in the two jurisdictions.
ABLI was heartened that our panellists all pointed out that civil law and common law in fact have much in common than meets the eye and that while obstacles remained, convergence was no pipe dream.
We would like to thank the Embassy of France in Singapore and the Singapore Academy of Law for the opportunity to contribute and all attendees for their attendance. Our gratitude must go to the following panellists from whom we have gained valuable insights:
Ms WONG Li Tein, District Judge, State Counts
Ms Sabine D’ANGÉLY LAVAIL, Head of Legal Asia Pacific and Middle East, Marketing & Services, TOTAL
Mr Christopher LEE, Vice President, Deputy Group General Counsel & Regional General Counsel APAC, Schneider Electric
Mr Patrice VIDON, Vice President of CNCPI, the National Association of Patent & Trademark Attorneys in France
Mr Mark WONG, Partner, Shook Lin & Bok LLP
Justice Laure ALDEBERT, International Commercial Chamber of the Paris Court of Appeal
Professor Lawrence BOO, The Arbitration Chambers
Mr Philip JEYARETNAM SC, global-vice chair and ASEAN chief executive officer, Dentons
Mr Olivier MONANGE, Partner, DS Avocats
A post-event write-up by the French Embassy in Singapore, including the full opening remarks by the Chief Justice, is available here.
The proceedings of the Symposium, prepared with the help of Ms Jinn Lim, Director, Positive Energy / Managing Partner, Orok Advisory, can be read here.