The conference prepared long in advance by our hosts, the law firm of Robertsons Solicitors and Notaries in Hong Kong, began Wednesday, 1 October, with a boat cruise through Hong Kong harbor and then a great fireworks display in tribute to the National Day of Fireworks for those guests who had arrived early. The brilliantly illuminated office skyscrapers in the center of Hong Kong provided a spectacular background.
About 100 people (delegates and partners) traveled to Hong Kong. Another 16 participants from Robertson’s were present.
The conference opened officially on Thursday, 2 October with the already traditional welcoming cocktail gathering, this time in the venerable Hong Kong Club with a strict dress code (ties and jackets). At the host’s invitation, we then met for a laid-back evening in the elegant Sevva Restaurant on the 25th floor of the Prince’s Building. A bar was especially set up for Consulegis participants on the grand terrace. Everyone was intrigued by the fantastic view of the surrounding skyscrapers, lit up in all imaginable colors.
About 85 delegates and guests took part in the conference on Friday, 3 October. The meeting was opened with the traditional „Lions Dance“, the symbol of happiness and success. After the greeting of guests by the chairman of the Advisory Board, Gerd Ziegenfeuter and Michael Lintern-Smith (host), the right honorable Wong Yan Lung, S.C.JP, Secretary for Justice offered the participants a warm welcome. He introduced the organization and function of the Justice Department and explained Hong Kong’s turntable role between the People’s Republic of China and the rest of the world.
Mr. Ziegenfeuter informed the plenary session of the resignation of Howard Palser, a longtime member of the Advisory Board, its past chairman and present vice chairman, who prefers to withdraw from the Advisory Board on professional and personal grounds. He was thanked for his many years of successful work with long applause. The Advisory Board elected two vice presidents to succeed him: Irmtraud Wendland (Germany) and Fernando Hernández Gómez (Mexico).
The open seat on the Advisory Board will be occupied within the framework of a replacement election in Spring 2009.
Newly accepted Consulegis members were introduced and warmly welcomed:
- D&S Law Firm with headquarters in Guangzhou and branch offices in Beijing, Changsha, Wuhan, and Zhuhai. D&S is the first Consulegis member on mainland China.
- Mariani, Menaldi & Associati, Studio legale in Florence with branch offices in Rome and Milan, as well as
- McMillan LLP with law offices in Montreal and Toronto. McMillan LLP assumes the membership of its partner and Consulegis individual member, Mrs.Joyce Cornfield-Mazur, Esq.
Dr. Roland Ermini, managing director, reported on the successful completion of the following projects:
- Revision and adaptation of the new website. It will be put on the Internet on 20 October.
- Printing and mailing of the Consulegis brochure, which is also widely distributed – especially in the UK – as a supplement in the British weekly magazine Corporate UK. Extra copies can be ordered through the Consulegis secretariat.
- Completion and mailing of the Consulegis IP Handbook, a very comprehensive work with articles from more than 30 countries. Copies can be ordered over the Consulegis secretariat in the case as well. Jeffery Daar explained this in greater detail.
Dr. Eckart Brödermann informed the plenary session of the Chinese- European Arbitration Center, an interesting recent establishment of a professional mediation agency in case of disputes in the business sector between the People’s Republic of China and European countries. Consulegis will acquire membership and thus open access to this center for specialized Consulegis members.
The honorable Mr. Justice Andrew Li, GBM, the chief justice of the Court of Final Appeal explained the function and composition of the Court of Final Appeal in Hong Kong.
The high point was clearly the luncheon address by the honorable Mr. Justice Hartmann, High Court, who reported in an interesting presentation on his experiences as a judge in Zimbabwe and now in Hong Kong.
After lunch Mike Rowse informed participants about his assignment to market Hong Kong, which is not always simple. It was noted that as a city and place to live, Hong Kong upholds a no-nonsense stance. Its population is strictly oriented toward earning money, and marketing goals can be realized in Hong Kong’s business community, but they generally require time-consuming detours.
The final presentation on China by Chris Devonshire Ellis stirred up great interest. It has at least now become clear to all conference participants how important and interesting China already is as a market today. This country also has a great need to catch up – especially in the legal sector – which could lead to exciting projects for Consulegis members.
Later in the afternoon participants had the opportunity to meet with influential staff in the Hong Kong Chamber of Commerce.
In the evening Michael Lintern Smith invited the group to a „Wig & Pen“ event at the Foreign Correspondents Club (FCC). „Wig & Pen“ is a traditional British function in which judges and lawyers („Wigs“) meet with members of the press („Pens“) for intellectual verbal duals. In Hong Kong Judge Martin Lee, SC, and Ernst Herb, Hong Kong correspondent for „Schweizerische Finanz und Wirtschaft“ conducted an entertaining dual.
A larger group ended this very interesting day with a barhopping stroll through Lan Kwai Fong (one of the Hong Kong entertainment districts).
On Saturday, 4 October the participants met as usual in specialist groups for intensive exchanges of views. For detailed reports, we refer you to corresponding sections on the Consulegis website.
The later city tour led members to the Hong Kong Peak and lunch in one of the largest boat restaurants (Dim Sum) in Hong Kong harbor.
Without doubt, one highlight was the gala dinner in the „China Club“. Outstanding Chinese food, enriched by a series of local presentations (dance, music, magicians) made this evening an unforgettable occasion.
This very impressive meeting ended by honoring the organizers and the traditional relay of the flags to Bernard Seymour as representative of Linder Myers LLP, Manchester, and host of the next conference (Manchester, England, 30 April through 2 May 2009).
Hong Kong was another milestone in the long series of successful conferences and lent an important insight to Consulegis members present into the extraordinary potential of this region and of the upwardly striving world power China.
The event was outstandingly organized down to the most minor detail, and – at this point, on behalf of all members – we wish to express our most sincere thanks to the Robertson’s team, Michael Lintern-Smith, his wife Kimberly, and especially to Ms Alice Wong for a highly successful event.