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 Rachel Tan Xi'en (CIL Practice Fellow) and Dana Chang (Wong Partnership) emerged champions at the Essex Court Chambers–Singapore Academy of Law (ECC-SAL) Mooting Competition 2019, after five rounds of competition. They won against the team from Wong Partnership in the final round held on 8 January 2019 at the Supreme Court of Singapore.

The ECC-SAL Moot is open to young lawyers from around Asia who have been qualified for no more than three years, to hone their advocacy skills. This year's topic involved a dispute before the Singapore International Commercial Court concerning the question of the implication of terms in a contract and the validity of entire agreement clauses. The moot finals were judged by Justice Kannan Ramesh (Supreme Court of Singapore), David Foxton QC (Head of Essex Court Chambers) and Ng Jern-Fei QC (Essex Court Chambers).

Senior Research Fellow Youna Lyons was invited as a keynote speaker to the International Conference on Plastics in the Marine Environment (ICPME) 2018, hosted by the National University of Singapore on 5–7 December 2018. The programme of the conference provided a comprehensive discussion of issues related to the introduction of plastic in the marine environment from the perspectives of plastic chemists and biochemists, marine ecologists, oceanographers, human health, pollution monitoring, and research on marine ecological and socio-economic impacts. It also included a discussion of the international legal framework and possible paths to tackle the issue, including the development of a circular economy and other solutions for the future.

Ms Lyons presented the status and prospects of the international legal framework to manage marine plastics in Southeast Asia. The presentation identified the possible angles of an ocean law and policy approach to the issue of marine plastic pollution and provided an overview of the international legal framework. It emphasised relevant provisions from the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which can be used to frame scientific research on marine plastic in order to inform the content of states’ obligation to protect and preserve the marine environment in this context. Ongoing working groups in different international and regional bodies and their respective importance were also highlighted. The presentation slides can be downloaded here.

CIL Research Assistant JR Robert Real presented his paper entitled 'Public Welfare and Human Dignity in the Philippines' at the ALSA 2018 Conference: Law in the Asian Century. Held from 29 November to 1 December 2018 in Gold Coast, Australia, the conference was organised by the Asian Law and Society Association, the Australian Network for Japanese Law (ANJeL), the Asia Pacific Legal Institute of Australia (APLIA), and Bond University. His paper discusses how the Philippine Supreme Court has been using the concept of human dignity to both justify and limit the exercise of the state’s regulatory power, as well as a tool to discover new rights that advance human dignity.

Research Associate Professor N Jansen Calamita was the lead facilitator at two-day regional forum in Manila on ‘Investment Disputes, Resolution and Prevention.’ The forum was organised by the Philippine Board of Investment, with support from the ASEAN Secretariat, under the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA) Economic Cooperation Support Program (AECSP). The forum aimed to support AANZFTA Parties on effectively managing commitments, improving investor confidence in the AANZFTA investment environment, and increasing government confidence in investment policy making.

Research Assoc Prof Calamita noted that the forum served as an opportunity to share experiences among the AANZFTA Parties and helped build the capacities of participants in considering measures for the implementation and management of investment treaty commitments.

CIL sponsored a panel on ’Legal and Institutional Mechanisms to Manage the Marine Environment in the Seas of Southeast Asia: Status and Way Forward’ at the Sixth East Asian Seas Congress (EAS Congress) in Iloilo, Philippines on 27 November 2018. The theme of the EAS Congress this year was ‘25 Years of Partnerships for Healthy Oceans, People and Economies: Moving as One with the Global Ocean Agenda’. The event is co-organised every three years by the Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA) and includes a Ministerial Forum on the last day of the meeting.

This CIL-sponsored session aimed to investigate and discuss the extent to which regional institutions can and may foster a common understanding of applicable international law and facilitate implementation. An underlying question in this investigation was to assess the possibility of following an ASEAN way and bypassing the need for a regional, binding and overarching agreement for the protection of the marine environment.

The CIL panel session comprised presentations by CIL researchers—Amber Rose Maggio, Dita Liliansa and Youna Lyons—followed by comments by Raphael Lotilla, former Director of PEMSEA and Somboon Siriraksophon, SEAFEC Project Director. The three speakers focussed on the following topics:

The speakers brought together the overarching international legal framework, comparisons of regional cooperative mechanisms and specific examples of application of the international legal framework by regional bodies. Click here for the session's highlights.

This comparison of regional institutions and coordination mechanisms is part of an ongoing study of regional cooperation mechanisms for the protection of the marine environment in Southeast Asia. It will be updated as CIL's research progresses. Click on the links below for more information on the panel.