James Le Gallais and Emma Holland attended the AIJA Half-Year May conference from 22 – 25 May 2019 in Hong Kong. AIJA is the International Association of Young Lawyers, and meets twice a year as a global group, with other regional and sector specific meetings throughout the year.

This year’s conference covered three key topics:

  • Business and private clients in Asia: challenges and opportunities
  • How to Raise Money from an International Perspective
  • Tax: a Dream, not a Nightmare

James in his capacity as Vice President of the Commercial Fraud Commission of AIJA, organised two panel discussions on the topics of international anti money laundering regulations and asset recovery. The panels included speakers from Japan, Switzerland, the UK and Hong Kong.

Growing Anti-Money Laundering legal framework in financial centres

The session, ‘Growing Anti-Money Laundering legal framework in financial centres: who is top of the class?’ covered topics relating to the growing AML duties for financial intermediaries, their extra-territorial scope and the liability for their violation.

Recovery of assets stemming from criminal offences

The second session, ‘Recovery of assets stemming from criminal offences’, covered the different tolls available for each State or private victim to recover assets. This includes through mutual assistance in criminal, administrative or civil matters.

Conflict of laws and jurisdictions

Emma spoke on a panel titled, ‘Conflict of laws and jurisdictions – did I make the right choice, if any?’. She was joined by Wen Ni Aw of Wong Partnership, Singapore, Jeffrey Lee of Charles Russell Speechlys, Hong Kong and Aurélie Conrad-Hari of Bär & Karrer, Switzerland.

The panel considered the approach to dealing with the estate of a person who lives and has assets in multiple jurisdictions and did this by addressing two case studies.

The first involved a Singaporean national who had lived in London for around 20 years and then moved back to Singapore before dying there. Conversely the second involved an English national who had lived in Hong Kong for 20 years and then moved back to the UK before dying there. In both cases there were Wills and assets in both jurisdictions.

The colourful factual matrix gave rise to issues ranging from the formal validity of the Wills and possible revocations, and consideration of the potential challenges against the Wills which could be made, including as to the capacity and knowledge and approval of the testators, the possibility of fraudulent calumny and the potential for claims on the basis of the equivalents to the UK Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the law in both Singapore and Hong Kong (at least until its independence in 1997) follows closely that in England and Wales.

Emma Holland and fellow panelist

From left to right: Emma Holland, Aurélie Conrad-Hari, Wen Ni Aw and Jeffrey Lee


More information about the conference and how to become a member of AIJA can be found on their website.



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