New HKIAC Secretary-General and Deputy Secretary-General

10 Jun 2022

HomeNewsNew HKIAC Secretary-General and Deputy Secretary-General
10 Jun 2022

New HKIAC Secretary-General and Deputy Secretary-General

After six years, Sarah Grimmer will step down as Secretary-General of HKIAC in August this year. She will be succeeded by Dr. Mariel Dimsey, currently partner at CMS Hong Kong and Co-Head of the CMS International Arbitration Group.

Joe Liu, Deputy Secretary-General, will also step down this year, in June. Eric Ng, who currently serves as HKIAC Managing Counsel and formerly practiced as a Hong Kong barrister, will be promoted to replace Liu as Deputy Secretary-General from 13 June 2022.

Rimsky Yuen GBM, SC, JP, Co-Chair of HKIAC and Senior Counsel at Temple Chambers, says “Sarah has been instrumental to HKIAC’s success over the past six years and we are all sad to see her leave. As she steps down, we welcome Mariel, an experienced international arbitration specialist based in Hong Kong, to take up the role. I am confident the Secretariat will work with Mariel in the same effective way as before and continue to provide top quality professional service. We also acknowledge the tremendous contribution Joe Liu has made to the HKIAC in his eight years of service, and welcome Eric to his new role.”

David W. Rivkin, Co-Chair of HKIAC and Partner of Debevoise & Plimpton, says “Sarah has been a brilliant leader for HKIAC and it has been a pleasure to work with her. She has been supported by Joe Liu whose work is excellent. We are excited to welcome Mariel as the next Secretary-General and look forward to her leadership, which will no doubt be inspired by her extensive experience as counsel and arbitrator. We also congratulate Eric on his well-deserved promotion.”

Dimsey takes up the role from August, bringing with her over 15 years’ experience as advisor, advocate, expert, and arbitrator in international arbitration. Admitted in Australia and Hong Kong, Dimsey started her career in Frankfurt and worked at leading international firms in Germany, before moving to Hong Kong in 2016. She joined CMS in 2018 where she helped build a thriving international commercial and investment arbitration practice.

She is ranked in Chambers, Who’s Who Legal and Legal 500, is a Member and past Co-Chair of the HK45 Committee, and a Vice-Chair of the Committee of Women in Law Hong Kong (WILHK). She publishes and speaks extensively on international arbitration topics. Her native language is English and she is fluent in German. She received an LL.M. degree from the University of Cologne and a doctorate in law (Dr. iur.), summa cum laude, from the University of Basel.

Dimsey says, “While I am saddened by Sarah’s departure, I look forward to the role of Secretary-General. I have many plans and ideas to enhance and consolidate HKIAC’s position as one of the world’s leading arbitral institutions, and I look forward to implementing them under the guidance of HKIAC’s Council”.

During Grimmer’s tenure, HKIAC was ranked third most-preferred arbitral institution in the 2021 Queen Mary University of London/White & Case International Arbitration Survey. Grimmer was integral to the revised 2018 Administered Arbitration Rules, Hong Kong’s successful bid for the ICCA Congress 2024, and the institution’s pivot to virtual hearing services during the pandemic. More recently, she oversaw the launch of the HKIAC Case Digest, a database of HKIAC procedural decisions, which won the 2022 GAR Best Innovation Award, as well as HKIAC Case Connect, an online case management system provided free-of-charge in HKIAC cases. Three of the last six years have seen record numbers of arbitrations at HKIAC, and Grimmer predicts that 2022 will set a new record. 

Grimmer currently sits as arbitrator and will join Twenty Essex in Singapore as a full-time arbitrator at the end of her tenure as Secretary-General. 

Grimmer says, “It has been an absolute privilege and pleasure to head HKIAC over the past six years. I have had the good fortune of working with a very talented team and being supported by HKIAC’s eminent Council and Standing Committee members, and the wonderful Hong Kong legal community. As I hand the baton to Mariel, I have no doubt the institution will go from strength to strength.” 

Over his eight years at the institution, Liu has served in progressively senior roles, including for five months as Acting Secretary-General. He has been instrumental in multiple key developments at HKIAC including HKIAC’s practice processing applications under the PRC-HK Interim Measures Arrangement, HKIAC’s award-winning model clause, tribunal secretary service, HKIAC Case Digest, the drafting of the 2013 and 2018 HKIAC Administered Arbitration Rules, and HKIAC practice notes and guidelines. Liu leaves HKIAC to establish his own practice, JLIU Dispute Resolution, as an independent arbitrator. He is trilingual in English, Mandarin, and Cantonese, and will continue to be based in Hong Kong.

Ng joined HKIAC in late 2019, and was a key contributor to HKIAC’s successful virtual hearings initiative and HKIAC Case Connect. Prior to his career at the Hong Kong Bar, Ng worked as a project supervisor and marketing manager for technology projects in the USA and Asia-Pacific. He holds a BCL from the University of Oxford, JD/PCLL from the City University of Hong Kong, MSc Ecom from the University of Hong Kong, and a BS in Business Administration and Information Systems from Babson College.

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