The first Global Pound Conference event was held in Singapore on March 17-18. Over 400 people participated in the event. Attendees came from all over the world including the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China, Pakistan, Great Britain, Fiji, and more.
Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon used his Opening Address to outline changes in the economic landscape that will lead to an increase in cross border disputes and the recognition that access to justice needs to remain a priority. He outlines how Singapore is responding to better shape the future of dispute resolution and improve access to justice.
First he emphasized “appropriate” dispute resolution rather than “alternative” dispute resolution. This shift recognizes the broader tools available to disputants that may be invoked even before a legal action. The key is customization of the dispute management and resolution process to meet the parties’ needs. The Chief Justice emphasized that this shift will not diminish the role of the courts, instead, the courts will hold a special place as “guardians of the rule of law and ultimate resolver of disputes”.
Second there is greater collaboration and sharing of information among the courts and governments around the world creates frameworks and international best practices that lead to processes to meet the needs of users in both civil and common law countries. The exchange of information occurs through Conferences, memorandum of understanding and guidance adopted in multiple jurisdictions to address questions of law, and Conventions on enforcement of court judgments to name a few. These efforts improve consistency of outcomes across jurisdictions and will reduce incentives for parties to “forum shop”.
Third, there is recognition and embracing of the internationalism of delivery of legal services. Singapore already recognized the increase in foreign lawyers practicing in the country and instead of restricting access, established a common disciplinary and regulatory framework to manage and strengthen the global talent pool thereby strengthening Singapore’s position as a legal hub in Asia.