The continued modernisation of Australia's international arbitration landscape was applauded at a recent global forum in Seoul.
The Australian delegation at the forum also said the event, which explored international arbitration options for Korea in the Asia-Pacific, allowed Australia to cement its standing as an international arbitration venue.
"Korea is an important trading partner for Australia, and this event provided ACICA (the Australian Centre for International Commercial arbitration) with an opportunity to highlight to key decision makers from major Korean corporations why Australia is an attractive venue for international arbitrations and is a credible and viable alternative to the more traditional centres in the Northern Hemisphere and within the Asian region," said Alex Baykitch, a Sydney-based partner with Holman Fenwick & Willan and vice president of ACICA.
Baykitch attended the event as part of the delegation that included the NSW Attorney General John Hatzistergos and ACICA president and Clayton Utz partner Doug Jones.
Over the last 12 months Australia has developed a strong international arbitration and alternative dispute resolution profile.
In August last year, the Australian International Dispute Centre opened in Sydney, in an attempt to take international arbitration work away from the established Asia-Pacific arbitration centres of Singapore and Hong Kong.
And just last month, Doug Jones was appointed president of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a 12,000 strong global body. It's the first time an Australian has held this position.
Baykitch told Lawyers Weekly that the forum was attended by over 100 members of the Korean legal and business community, with the Australian delegation able to promote Australia as a viable destination to Korean companies with international business interests.
"Doug Jones and I had been mulling over for a while now how Australia can better engage with members of the international arbitration community," he said.
"Myself, Doug and John Hatzistergos all spoke at the forum, and we think there is a good chance that Sydney will pick up cases on the back of this trip."
Baykitch added that the AIDC was doing "better than expected" after six months, and that for large international companies with business interests in the Asia-Pacific, Sydney was an attractive place to settle disputes.
In Seoul, the Australian delegation, which also included Embassy officials, was introduced to senior clients of the well known South Korean firm, Bae Kim & Lee.
Kevin Lim, the head of the international arbitration and litigation group at Bae Kim & Lee said of the meeting: "We were provided with clear and compelling reasons why Australia and ACICA are viable options for companies in Korea who use international arbitration as a means of resolving disputes, particularly those involving other companies based in Asia, but also from the Middle East, Europe and the Americas."
Lim is also the executive director of the Korean Arbitrators Association.