UAE, Hong Kong law institutions to facilitate business confidence

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DIFC-Officials

Officials after the signing ceremony.

The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts has signed a cooperation agreement with The Law Society of Hong Kong, one of Asia’s leading financial centres.

The agreement was signed as part of a Hong Kong delegation visit to Dubai, which also included Paul Lam SC, Secretary for Justice of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC).

Speaking at the signing, Justice Omar Al Mheiri, Director of DIFC Courts, said, “The development of modern commercial courts should rank among the region’s foremost achievements of the last two decades; not the facilities themselves, but rather the certainty that they have brought to the domestic and international businesses and individuals operating in the region.

“Connectivity is one of the four mission pillars of the DIFC Courts, and crafting productive partnerships underpins this objective. By working together with other legal bodies from across the world to explore practical synergies, and by sharing best practices, we will be best able to support our respective business communities and the economic success of our respective states.”

The agreement will serve as a mechanism to foster investor confidence and cultivate further access to justice. It will also aid closer relations between two leading common law institutions and facilitate more confidence for businesses from Hong Kong and the UAE transacting between two of Asia’s leading financial centres.

CM Chan, President of The Law Society of Hong Kong, said the agreement is “the first agreement of its kind between The Law Society of Hong Kong and a Middle East courts system”.

He also expressed confidence in the agreement’s potential to significantly bolster legal and judicial sectors, fostering collaboration between businesses in both regions and worldwide.

In 2024, Hong Kong’s Census and Statistics Department confirmed that non-oil foreign trade value between the two countries surged from $9.4 billion in 2020 to $16.23 billion in 2022. Non-oil foreign trade value continued to grow in 2023, reaching $16.2 billion in the first 11 months of the year.

Meanwhile Hong Kong (HK) has very often been described as a ‘super connector’ and a ‘super value-adder’ between China and countries outside China, says Paul Lam Ting-kwok, Secretary for Justice of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, highlighting HK’s comprehensive professional legal services and its strengths in the rule of law.  Speaking at a forum titled “Hong Kong – The Common Law Gateway for UAE Businesses to China and Beyond” held in Dubai to promote the Special Administrative Region’s legal and dispute resolution services.  Paul Lam stated that Hong Kong has been assigned to be the international legal and dispute resolution services centre under various important national development plans of China.

The forum organised by the Department of Justice, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) and the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Dubai, and co-organised by the Dubai Chambers, attracted more than 300 participants from the legal, business and other sectors of the UAE.

The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China to the UAE, Zhang Yiming; and the President and CEO of the Dubai Chambers, Mohammad Ali Rashed Lootah, delivered their speeches at the forum.

Paul Lam also held a meeting with Abdullah Bin Sultan Bin Awad Al Nuaimi, the Minister of Justice of the UAE, and discussed issues of mutual interests and explored opportunities to foster legal collaboration between the two places during the event.

“The UAE and China have a very strong history of friendship, dating back to the days of the ancient Silk Road.  “The modern Silk Road is under construction between the two countries. And in this very important construction work, Hong Kong plays a very significant role. Under the principle of “one country, two systems”, Hong Kong enjoys many unique advantages and characteristics, one of which is our common law system. Hong Kong is the only common law jurisdiction in China,” he said.

Paul Lam and his delegation is currently on a Middle East visit covering Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, and Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the UAE aimed to promote Hong Kong’s legal and dispute resolution services and enhance co-operation and exchanges between the two places.

The 30-member delegation is comprised of representatives from the Law Society of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Bar Association, the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited, Invest Hong Kong and related sectors.

“We are here today to accomplish a very important mission. The mission is to promote and to establish a better and closer relationship between UAE and Hong Kong, in particular in the area of legal co-operation. This very important mission has to be considered in the context of Hong Kong being a special administrative region of China,”  Paul Lam added.

 



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