Hong Kong - HKIAC Promotes Internally, Adding A Deputy Secretary-General

The Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (“HKIAC”) is pleased to announce internal promotions that will take effect from 1 January 2019. Joe Liu, currently Managing Counsel, will take up the position of Deputy Secretary-General in the New Year. Joe, a Hong Kong Chinese national, is the longest-serving counsel at HKIAC, having worked at the Centre since January 2014. Prior to HKIAC, he was a Registered Foreign Lawyer at Allen & Overy in Hong Kong and worked at the Singapore International Arbitration Centre. He is admitted to practice law in New York and a fluent speaker of English, Mandarin and Cantonese. He holds an LLB from Wuhan University and LLMs from the London School of Economics and Political Science and New York University.     Joe was a member of the HKIAC Rules Revision Committees which oversaw the drafting of both the 2013 and 2018 HKIAC Administered Arbitration Rules. He was also one of the key contributors to Moser & Bao, A Guide to the HKIAC Arbitration Rules – a detailed commentary to the 2013 Rules.   Matthew Gearing QC, Chairperson of HKIAC, says “Joe and I first worked together about nine years ago. He is a trusted colleague and an excellent lawyer with deep knowledge of HKIAC arbitration and many creative ideas. I am very pleased to see Joe’s growing role in the Secretariat and look forward to working with him and the rest of the Secretariat to continue HKIAC’s success in the years to come.” Teresa Cheng GBS, SC, JP, Secretary for Justice of Hong Kong and Past Chairperson of HKIAC, says “I am pleased to hear about Joe’s new role as Deputy Secretary-General of HKIAC. Joe’s years of experience at HKIAC, in-depth knowledge of the institution’s practice and dedication to the development of Hong Kong arbitration make him perfectly suited for the role.” Michael Moser of 20 Essex Street and Past Chairperson of HKIAC, says “Joe is a treasure chest of proven skills, talent and experience. His new appointment will further enhance the HKIAC’s growing strengths in the Asia disputes arena.” Sarah Grimmer, Secretary-General of HKIAC, says “Joe’s promotion to Deputy Secretary-General is a natural development that reflects the quality of his work and importance of his contribution to the Centre. I look forward to working with Joe in his new role. He is an asset to HKIAC.”

Also from 1 January 2019, Othmane Benlafkih, a Moroccan national and currently Deputy Counsel, who has been with the Secretariat for 15 months, will be promoted to Counsel. Prior to joining HKIAC, Othmane spent time at leading international law firms and barristers’ chambers in Hong Kong. Othmane is a graduate of the University of Hong Kong. He speaks English, French, Arabic and intermediate level Mandarin. In his role as Deputy Counsel at HKIAC, he is responsible for the administration of arbitrations under HKIAC’s auspices. He also serves as tribunal secretary and has been appointed to that role on three occasions. Simon Thorley QC of Brick Court Chambers and International Judge in the Singapore International Commercial Court says: “Othmane served me as Tribunal Secretary in a high value patent and technology licensing dispute in which I acted as sole arbitrator and the award needed to be rendered within six months. Othmane was an excellent tribunal secretary: highly efficient, informed, reliable and personable. He is an asset to the HKIAC.” Sarah Grimmer says that “in the time that Othmane has spent with us, he has proved himself to be an excellent young lawyer capable of taking on any new task and completing it with ease. His promotion to Counsel is well-deserved.” The Centre has also recently promoted Amelia Szeto, formerly Administrative Executive/Data Manager, to Case Manager for Domain Name Dispute Resolution Proceedings. Amelia has been with HKIAC since August 2017, prior to which she worked at a Hong Kong law firm for five years. Amelia is a fluent speaker of English, Mandarin, Cantonese and Japanese. Sarah Grimmer says: “Amelia is a talented administrator with strong organisational and analytical skills. I have no doubt she will excel in her new role.”  


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