Chief Justice of Singapore Sundaresh Menon,speaking at a seminar on the impact of public international law in the commercial sphere and its significance to Asia Friday said there is a pressing need for the legal community to take interest in international law as it is not remote anymore.
Asian voices have to be heard in the international legal order. International law does not know Asian realities…There is an urgent need for us in the community to come forward, said Menon,the first Chief Justice of Singapore of Indian origin. Menon,50,was also introduced at the seminar as the youngest Chief Justice in the world. The seminar was held at the Mumbai University convocation hall and attended by judges of Bombay High Court,lawyers,bureaucrats and students. Among those present were the consul generals of Singapore,China,Thailand and Spain. Menon said unfortunately,Asians have not played a major role in influencing and modifying the international legal order and there has been a conspicuous lack of public participation.
The international legal order remains predominantly western,Menon said.
He said Asians have been more concerned about the implications international law can have on them rather than how they can contribute in shaping the international legal order.
Menon,an expert on arbitration,said in the last two years,88 cases have been filed in the international court of justice and these have been by private actors who have pressed suits against sovereign states. Chief Justice of Bombay High Court Mohit Shah said there needs to be uniformity in arbitration cases dealt with by courts in different countries.
Judgments are rendered by foreign courts and arbitration awards are passed. After an arbitration decree is passed by a foreign court,so many contentions are raised before the Indian court that the party which got the decree is not able to execute it immediately. Sometimes,one wonders if the purpose of obtaining the judgment has been achieved, Shah said. All the courts in Southeast Asia and commonwealth countries should work out a formula that will be applicable to all cases where the parties have obtained a decree and the judgment is going to be enforced in a country other than the the one where the judgment has been delivered, he added.