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"Developing Legal Service to Support Free Trade" Seminar

On March 19th, 2017, ¡°Developing Legal Service to Support Free Trade¡± seminar was held in Shanghai. It was co-organized by Great Britain China Centre and Centre for Common Law, Renmin University of China. The seminar was aimed at probing into how to develop legal service in the era of globalization. Representatives of the Law Society of England and Wales, the General Council of the Bar, Law Society of Scotland, All China Lawyers Association, Law Society of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Bar Association, Shanghai Lawyers Association, Beijing Lawyers Association, Shannxi Lawyers Association, East China University of Political Sciences and Law, Shanghai University of Political Science and Law and the International Chamber of Commerce, attended the seminar.

Associate Professor JIANG Dong, the assistant director of Center for Common Law, chaired the opening ceremony. YU Weifeng, the president of Shanghai Lawyers Association, Robert Bourns, the president of the Law Society of England and Wales, Professor SHI Yanan, the secretary of Centre for Common Law, made opening addresses.

President YU said, facing with economic globalization, China announced ¡°Belt and Road Initiative¡±. China¡¯s lawyers ought to go out and provide legal service for Chinese enterprises. At the same time, China¡¯s lawyers needed to work with the lawyers around the world to provide high quality legal service. Shanghai Lawyers Association hoped to establish long-term relations with other lawyers associations, and provide a global service network for international customers.

President Robert Bourns believed judicial cooperation between Britain and China was in a golden age. Britain was ready to work together with China¡¯s peers to promote the economic development of both countries and the world.

Professor SHI Yanan said common law played an important role in international trade law¡¯s construction. Centre for Common Law had been committed to promote cooperation between academia and practice for three years.

The first session was entitled ¡°Legal Education: the Cultivation of International Legal Talents¡±, which was chaired by Associate Professor JIANG Dong.

Steven Thompson, vice-chair of the Bar Council¡¯s International Committee and senior barrister, made a keynote speech. In the background of internationalization, more international commerce disputes must be resolved. Issues related to ¡°transnational disputes¡±, such as documents, confidentiality and witnesses, required us to communicate with others in real time. Our colleagues ought to be encouraged to be familiar with each other¡¯s legal culture, and work together to serve our clients in this context.

LIU Ruiqi, dean of Lawyer College, Renmin University of China, introduced what Lawyer College did to promote its internationalization.

MAO Huigang, executive partner at Jin Mao P.R.C Lawyers, said that he benefited a lot from overseas lawyer training project. After the introduction of this learning experience and its influence on his practice, he suggested Chinese young lawyers to go abroad and participate in learning and training.

In the discussion, LI Kai, director of external affairs committee, Beijing Lawyers Association, said that Beijing Lawyers Association hoped to share experiences with other lawyers associations. WANG Mingfeng from Hong Kong Bar Association believed that legal culture had a great influence on lawyers. He hoped to find cooperative opportunities through this seminar, which next generation of Chinese lawyers would benefit from. Professor SHENG Hongsheng from Shanghai University of Political Science and Law pointed that the importance of the international law under the current situation. He also introduced lawyer training project in his college, which aimed at cultivating international talents and coping with the international challenges.

The second session was entitled ¡°the International Cooperation and Exchange of Legal Service¡±. FAN Mingchao, regional director of Arbitration & ADR, International Chamber of Commerce, chaired the session.

Graham Matthews, vice president of Law Society of Scotland, introduced the legal services in Scotland, and pointed out that the development of globalization had provided many opportunities for the legal professions in Scotland. Scotland was actively working to ensure itself to respond to these changes and to have a successful transition. Globalization was also a ¡°restart¡± for British and other places in the world to carry out international business. He hoped countries to share mentalities and ideas, and to promote technological change and political environment, which was also a topic of concern throughout the legal community.

LIN Xinqiang, former president of Hong Kong Law Society, stressed the shortcomings of current foreign-related legal service. He pointed out that, to enhance the understanding of international legal services, lawyers not only needed to understand the common law system, but also to participate in international exchange and cooperation. We should foster legal talents who were capable of taking part in stipulating laws and regulations in various areas.

NI Jianlin, representative of Shanghai Lawyers Association and senior partner at SG & CO P.R.C. Lawyers, talked about the practice of Shanghai lawyers in the construction of Shanghai free trade zone, as well as the opportunities for international cooperation for them. He pointed out that, in the context of global trade protectionism, China¡¯s enterprises faced a worse environment. He believed that, with the development of the Belt and Road, free trade zones would become better. Lawyers home and abroad would have broader prospects for cooperation.

In the discussion, LIANG Zhixin, vice director of the Delun Law Firm and representative of Shaanxi Lawyers Association, shared the latest development of Shaanxi legal profession. He thought that the cooperation between Chinese lawyers and foreign lawyers was essential. WANG Mingfeng hoped to strengthen cooperation of transnational lawyers to resolve international disputes.

The third session was entitled ¡°International Legal Service: Legal and Policy Support¡±. It was chaired by Graham Matthews.

Robert Bourns introduced the status quo of England and Welsh legal market, and welcomed the Chinese law firms to London.

JIANG Min, vice president of All China Lawyers Association, talked about the development of China¡¯s legal profession. He expounded his ideas on the future of Chinese lawyers.

Professor DING Xiangshun from Renmin Law School brought about the historical process, legal framework, challenges and problems of the opening of China¡¯s legal service industry.

XU Weiqiang from Hong Kong Bar Association talked about conflicts of interest in international arbitrations, and he proposed to strengthen the understanding of international rules, to carry out communication.

In the closing ceremony, ZHANG Xiaoping, the vice director of Great Britain China Centre and secretary of Centre for Common Law, and Professor SHI Yanan, vice dean of Renmin Law School and also secretary of Centre for Common Law, made closing speeches separately. SHI expressed gratitude to attendees, and hoped to create more cooperative opportunities in the future, using Centre for Common Law as a platform. The seminar ended in applause.

(Editor: CHEN Pei)

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