On 27 July, ABLI and the Permanent Bureau of the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) successfully held their second joint webinar focusing on the HCCH 2005 Choice of Court and 2019 Judgments Conventions, two important instruments in resolving cross-border commercial disputes.
In the first session, Sara Chisholm-Batten, Partner of Michelmores LLP, Anselmo Reyes, International Judge of the Singapore International Commercial Court and Kabir Singh, Partner of Clifford Chance LLP zeroed in on the Choice of Court Convention. Sara and Kabir both shared how this Convention has been utilized in practice, such as the case of Ermgassen & Co Limited v Sixcap Financials Pte Limited 2018 SGHCR 8. While the issue of asymmetric jurisdiction clauses and the Convention has not arisen in Singapore yet, Sara walked the audience through some UK case law in this aspect, such as Etihad Airways PJSC v Flother  EWCA Civ 1707. The second half of the session was more policy-focused, as speakers dealt with the criticism levelled against the Convention.
In the second session, Sara, Anselmo and Kabir were joined by the Honourable Justice David Goddard, Court of Appeal of New Zealand and Dr Ning Zhao, Senior Legal Officer of HCCH to discuss the 2019 Judgments Convention. The session began with a presentation by Ning on the outline and key features of this Convention, followed by Justice Goddard sharing some of the thorny issues that emerged during the lead-up to its conclusion. Sara and Justice Reyes thereafter each discussed the general requirements for recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments in common and civil law jurisdictions. All speakers then considered the relationship between the Choice of Court and Judgments Conventions, why countries should consider joining both Conventions, what may be hampering their decisions and what more can be done to encourage uptake. Speakers also took audience questions relating to the perceived difficulty for recognizing non-monetary judgments and the exclusion of interim orders from both Conventions.
ABLI and the Permanent Bureau of the HCCH are delighted to have a healthy mix of attendees from private practice, public service and academia from 18 different jurisdictions in Asia-Pacific, Europe and North America, and thank all speakers for their insightful sharing.