Developments in the Region

Asian Racing Conference

Jack Anderson and Stacey Steele presented papers at the 37th Annual Asian Racing Conference in Seoul on 13-18 May.

The conference brought together 300 delegates from the horse racing industry globally and the principal topic of concern was the regulation of betting markets associated with the sport. Global betting revenue is now US$716 billion, of which $500 billion is estimated to be illegal. The world’s largest legal and illegal betting outlets worldwide are based in Asia and are likely responsible for 70 to 80 percent of that illegal market.

Jack presented a paper which outlined best practice from various sports globally in dealing with the threat of illegal gambling, while Stacey focussed on best practice in Australia and outlined the risks for the racing industry associated with money laundering.  You can view their presentations on YouTube (see links below).

View Jack Anderson's Presentation

View Stacey Steele's Presentation

Criminal Lawyers in China

Terry HallidayOn 8 March, Terry Halliday from the American Bar Foundation gave a public lecture on criminal defence lawyers in China. His talk was based on the book he has co-authored with Liu Sida: Criminal Justice in China: The Politics of Lawyers at Work.

The plight of those lawyers seen to be opposing the system because of their persistence in carrying out human rights defence work is well documented. Their repression is ongoing. Terry discussed the range of ways in which their work is significant. The first is defending those whose cases are politically sensitive. The second is that in doing so, they hold up legal standards as a way of challenging the exercise of state power and holding the state to account, thus deploying law in a way not intended; against and not by the state. At another level, this use of law poses a political challenge by using law as a tool of political liberalism. An intriguing element in understanding their motivations to persist, despite the costs, is that many of these lawyers adhere to notions of justice and fairness inspired by religious belief. The role of religion in motivating human rights lawyering is an area for further research.

Chinese Government Structural Reform

In March 2018, the National People’s Congress approved reforms to the Constitution and to the structure of government that have attracted a great deal of critical attention. Much attention has focused on removing the term limits for the position of President. Equally controversial has been establishment of the Supervision Commission, the national anti-corruption and discipline agency, as an additional organ under the National People’s Congress. The NPC also approved a far-reaching reorganisation of Ministries and Commissions under the State Council.

All of these reforms have cast the spotlight on the structure and functioning of the Chinese governance model, the subject of the First National Governance Model Reform and Ruling by Law Conference organised by South China Normal University Law School on 19 and 20 May 2018. Sarah Biddulph was invited to this conference, which was attended by senior judges, government officials and academics. She gave a presentation on the problems of bureaucratic inertia within Chinese government agencies, which prompted lively discussion amongst participants.