Inaugural ASLI Conference

Inaugural Asian Law Institute (ASLI) Conference Attracts Good Response; 2005 Conference to be Hosted by Chulalongkorn University

The Inaugural Conference of the Asian Law Institute (ASLI) was recently held in
Singapore on 27 - 28 May 2004 on the NUS campus. More than 180 leading
scholars of law from around the world met to discuss legal issues of relevance to
Asia. Hosted by the NUS Faculty of Law, the conference is one of the anchor
activities of ASLI. Established in March 2003, ASLI is a collaboration between the
NUS Faculty of Law and ten other leading law schools in Asia, aimed at promoting
greater collaboration in research and teaching among the partner institutions.
ASLI's secretariat operates out of the NUS Faculty of Law, which provides financial
and administrative support for its activities.

The Inaugural Conference, bearing the theme "The Role of Law in a Developing
Asia", saw nearly 100 papers being presented on topics of contemporary interest to
Asia. Panel titles included Foundations of Commercial Law in Asia, The WTO and
Economic Integration in Asia, China and Taiwan in the 21st Century, Criminal Law
and Justice in Asia, The Role and Rule of Law in Indonesia, Asia in the Era of Rapid
Technological Change, Human Rights and Women, and Corporate and Financial Law
in Asia.

The conference was one of the largest gatherings of scholars of Asian law ever to be
convened in the region, and featured distinguished speakers and participants from
nearly 70 law schools and research institutes from Asia, Europe, North America and
Australasia. A special welcome was extended to papers presented by doctoral
students and junior faculty. As noted by many participants, the overwhelming
response to the conference is testimony to the great and continuing need for a
scholarly forum dedicated exclusively to exploring legal issues relevant to an
emerging Asia.

During the ASLI Board of Governors' meeting - held a day before the conference
began - the Governors agreed to convene next year's conference in Bangkok,
Thailand. To be hosted by ASLI's Thai representative, the Faculty of Law of
Chulalongkorn University, the 2005 Conference is scheduled for the 26th and 27th
of May 2005, and will bear the theme "Asia and the Challenges of Law: From
Globalisation to Regionalisation?". The chairman of the organising committee for the
2005 Conference, Prof. Vitit Muntharbhorn, believes that the theme of the
conference will be wide enough to encompass not only the economic, but also the
social equity aspects of globalisation. To this end, it continues the objective of the
Inaugural Conference to attract a diverse group of scholars and papers.
Chulalongkorn University and the ASLI institutions warmly welcome all scholars of
Asian law to meet again next year in Bangkok.

The Board of Governors also expressed its appreciation to the outgoing Chairman
and Vice-Chairman of the Board, Deans Tithiphan Chuerboonchai and Tan Cheng
Han from Chulalongkorn and NUS respectively. The new Chairman of the Board is
President He Qinhua of the East China University of Politics and Law, while the Vice-
Chairman is Prof. Hikmahanto Juwana from Universitas Indonesia. The Governors
welcomed the newest two members of the grouping, the National Law School of
India University and the College of Law of the Seoul National University. At the
same time, the Governors pledged to increase research collaboration among the
partner institutions and to engage Asian legal scholars from both within and outside

Buoyed by the tremendous response to the Inaugural Conference and the
encouraging feedback received thereafter, the ASLI Governors are confident that
the annual conference – which is to be rotated among the founding institutions - will
emerge as the definitive annual forum for discussing legal issues and challenges
facing the nations of Asia.

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