The Asia-pacific law forum 2018

The Asia-Pacific Law Forum

19–20 October 2018

University of South Australia, City West Campus, Adelaide, South Australia

Abstracts are now available and can be accessed here. Judge Besanko's paper can be accessed here.

The School of Law at the University of South Australia Business School is pleased to host The Asia-Pacific Law Forum 2018.

The theme for the Forum is 'The Rule of Law on the Silk Road'. Pursuant to this theme, the Forum will explore legal issues pertaining to China's Belt Road Initiative - China's grand plan to build a physical, social and economic network across the ancient Silk and Maritime Silk trade routes.


This year’s Forum will be held at the University of South Australia, Hawke Building, City West Campus, Adelaide on Friday 19 October and Saturday 20 October, and includes expert national and international panellists and speakers.

If you have any questions relating to the Forum please email

The Asia-Pacific Law Forum 2018 is presented in conjunction with Hunan University Law School and Sponsored by Lipman Karas.

This year's theme

The Belt and Road Initiative

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) launched by the Chinese government in 2013 is a visionary and ambitious project that aims to create a land belt and maritime road linking China and Europe.  It will span 65 countries and connect almost two-thirds of the global population.   The initiative not only includes investment in infrastructure like railways and ports, but also encompasses measures to facilitate policy coordination, financial integration, and trade liberalisation.  It will not only improve connectivity between people and businesses along its routes.  By contributing to economic infrastructure and by increasing trade, it also promises to enhance economic development in participating countries.  Furthermore the BRI’s emphasis on promoting extensive cultural and academic exchanges, cooperation in education, cooperation in promoting the arts, and increasing tourism also has profound implications for matters related to the environment and social and cultural capital.


Legal Implications of the Belt and Road Initiative

Clearly, there will be a number of legal and regulatory issues associated with the BRI.

  • Risks associated with BRI investments from organisations such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank will need to be addressed.  These risks may be significant in countries with poor implementation of the rule of law and high levels of corruption. Given the large number and disparate nature of the countries and regions traversed by the BRI, along with physical infrastructure, a robust and easily navigable legal infrastructure will be imperative.
  • As connectivity increases so do cybersecurity risks.  The integration of digital trading and banking systems may create vulnerabilities that require deep levels of international cooperation and technological transformation of business and government operations.
  • International trade rules may need to be revised to ensure that each participating country’s laws and legal dispute resolution fora dovetail well.  The most efficient and effective means of dispute resolution may also require exploration. 
  • Changes in the nature of work required from legal service providers to facilitate trade along the BRI may also be anticipated. There are likely to be many opportunities in relation to cross border business development, construction and civil engineering projects, transportation and logistics, cross-border taxation issues, outsourcing and technology transfer, energy supply, and natural resource management.  One might expect that BRI implementation will hasten the globalisation of legal practice, and at the very least, reorient it more strongly toward BRI participating countries.



School of Law, UniSA Business School Law School, Hunan University