Thursday, 1 November 2018, HKIAC, Hong Kong

E-mail Tel: +44 203 780 4137


Sarah Grimmer

Secretary-General, Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre

Sarah Grimmer is Secretary-General of Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre. She was formerly Senior Legal Counsel at the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) where she acted as registrar in several inter-State arbitrations under the Law of the Sea Convention and served as tribunal secretary in multiple investment treaty arbitrations and contract-based claims.

Robert Pé

Arbitration Chambers

Robert S. Pé is an independent arbitrator and mediator. He is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and a member of the HKIAC Council, the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (for Myanmar) and the ICC Commission on Arbitration and ADR. He is also a member of the CIETAC, HKIAC, LCIA, KLRCA, SIAC and SHIAC panels of arbitrators and has decided multiple disputes arising from private equity investments in Asia. 


8.30: Welcome coffee and registration

9.00: Chairs' opening remarks

Sarah Grimmer, Secretary-General, Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre
Robert Pé, Arbitration Chambers

9.10: Session one: Negotiating power: balance, mismatch and being caught in the crossfire

Different actors in trade and investment have different levels of negotiating power. In China’s Belt and Road Initiative, contracts have been negotiated amid an imbalance of power: one side has all of the financial leverage and the other has none.

In particular the panel will discuss:

  • What will the implications of that be, especially at key stages in a project, such as when an administration changes, or when a dispute crystallises?
  • Will tribunals rewrite contracts to counter the imbalance of power; should they?

In the context of a US-China, or US-EU, trade war, who holds the negotiating power in trade talks? Individuals from a range of relevant backgrounds will discuss the kinds of disputes that may affect Asian parties if the US follows its protectionist path.

 In particular the panel will discuss:

  • Which entities will get caught in the crossfire of a trade war and what power do they have, if any?
  • What would that mean for contracts that have to be performed, and by extension international arbitration relating to those contracts?
  • Which forums would such disputes be heard in, and what arguments would be run?
  • What unexpected issues might arise?

10.25: Coffee break sponsored by Clyde & Co

11.00: Session two: The GAR Live Question Time

In the style of the popular BBC programme, our esteemed panel will discuss questions submitted by the audience and moderator in advance.

12.15: Networking Lunch

13.15: A yum cha chat

An esteemed figure takes their turn in the hot seat.

14.00: Session three: Remedies, specific performance, interim relief

This session will discuss the extent to which there are other remedies to seek beyond damages, and whether seeking an award for specific performance or something other than compensation is productive.

Specific questions that will be discussed include:

  • How enforceable is an award of specific performance?
  • If you are seeking such a remedy does that change the approach to a case, and how?
  • Interim awards in Asia – what works, and what doesn’t?

15.00: Coffee break sponsored by Clyde & Co

15.30: Session four: The GAR Live Inquisition – is it time to align the fees of law firms and tribunals?

This session will replicate a US senate committee hearing with a succession of witnesses being ‘grilled' by a panel of GAR Live inquisitors.

The committee will examine whether the financial interests of counsel and arbitrators are sufficiently aligned and whether certain problems that have developed would be resolved if their interests were more aligned.

Is it time for firms to be paid ad valorem, when arbitrators are?

Issues the panel are likely to explore include:

  • Where does the responsibility for making things more cost- and time-efficient lie? With arbitrators, or counsel?
  • Do problems arise when the resources at the disposal of arbitrators and the law firms in a case are mismatched?
  • Do cases go better when counsel and arbitrators are being paid on the same principle?
  • What is the role of tribunal secretaries in assisting tribunals that are under-resourced?
  • Can the financial interests of parties, counsel and arbitrators ever be truly aligned, or does the client always, inevitably, lose out?

16.30 Chairs’ closing remarks

Sarah Grimmer, Secretary-General, Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre
Robert Pé, Arbitration Chambers

16.35 onwards: All delegates are invited to attend a drinks reception kindly hosted by Warde


Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre, 38th Floor, Two Exchange Square, 8 Connaught Place, Hong Kong

Ticket prices

Private Practitioner
Type Price Until
Super Early £350  28 Sep 2018
Early £500 26 Oct 2018
Standard £600 1 Nov 2018


Complimentary In-house/governmental registration available