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Institute to promote legal convergence in Asia to be set up in Singapore come January

A NEW organisation to promote coherence in commercial laws across Asian countries will be set up in January 2016 in Singapore.

The organisation, called the Asian Business Law Institute (ABLI), will be launched at a legal convergence conference titled "Doing Business Across Asia: Legal Convergence in an Asian Century", that will be held on Jan 21 and 22 next year.

The ABLI will focus on how laws can be better harmonised across jurisdictions in Asia. It will initiate, conduct and facilitate research, and produce authoritative texts to guide and support the convergence of Asian commercial laws.

There will be a board of governors, made up of 15 members who are legal professionals from all over Asia, that will steer the ABLI's work.

The participation of these professionals from across Asia is expected to help promote the idea of legal convergence in their home countries, said senior director and chief legal counsel at the Singapore Academy of Law, Sriram Chakravarthi.

The ABLI will likely focus on the enforcement of foreign judgement rules in the region and help streamline Asian cross-border small claims procedures.

The ABLI will remain a subsidiary of the Academy. The ABLI will receive seed funding from the Academy, and Singapore's Ministry of Law is partially funding it. Other government funding and private sector grants are also expected.

The ABLI will be launched on the first day of January's conference, which is also organised by the Academy.

The two-day conference will involve key stakeholders to commence discussions on possible legal convergence solutions. Speakers include the India's Minister of Finance Arun Jaitley, Senior Judge Zhang Yongjian of China's Supreme People's Court, and Singapore's Minister for Home Affairs and Law, K Shanmugam.