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The Landscape of AI Regulation in the Asia-Pacific

Reading time: 32 minutes

Written by Alistair Simmons and Matthew Rostick | Edited by Josh Lee Kok Thong


In recent months, many jurisdictions in the Asia-Pacific (“APAC”) have adopted or are considering various forms of AI governance mechanisms. At least 16 jurisdictions in APAC have begun some form of AI governance, and this number will likely continue to increase. This paper scans the different AI governance mechanisms across a number of APAC jurisdictions and offers some observations at the end. 

This paper segments AI governance mechanisms into four categories: Direct AI regulations are enforceable rules that regulate the development, deployment or use of AI directly as a technology, and consequently have regulatory impact across multiple sectors. Voluntary frameworks cover voluntary and non-binding guidance issued by governmental entities that directly address the development, deployment or use of AI as a technology. Indirect regulations (data & IP) are also enforceable legal rules but do not regulate the development, deployment or use of AI directly as a technology. They are rules of more general applicability that nevertheless have an impact on the development, deployment or use of AI. As the scope of this category is potentially broad, we have focused on data protection/privacy and intellectual property laws in this paper. Sector-specific measures refers to binding and non-binding rules and guidelines issued by sector regulators that are relevant to the development, deployment or use of AI in an industry. To avoid getting bogged down in the specifics of whether the rules and guidelines are technically binding or not, we have presented them together. Unlike the mechanisms addressed in the Sectoral Governance Mechanisms segment, the non-binding frameworks in this segment typically address the use of AI across multiple sectors.

For avoidance of doubt, this paper addresses legal governance mechanisms only. There may be other initiatives afoot to drive alignment and good practices from a technical perspective. We do not seek to address technical measures in this paper.

Launch of South East Asia’s first LegalTech movement

Reading time: 2 minutes

Guest post by ASEAN LegalTech

The LegalTech segment has now moved into the mainstream consciousness of the legal market across Asia and in particular the South East Asian region. While the global LegalTech narrative is dominated by mature legal markets like Australia, Europe and the USA, there is no shortage of LegalTech startups building innovative solutions across the ten countries that compose the Association of South East Asian Nations (“ASEAN”). 

ASEAN LegalTech (“ALT”) was formed in May 2019 with the aim of connecting LegalTech pioneers, thought leaders and enthusiasts to promote and build the LegalTech ecosystem in the South East Asian markets. One of ASEAN LegalTech’s goals is to provide a voice to the emerging market to inform discussions with regulators who are in the early stages of determining how to regulate LegalTech.  

LawTech.Asia Annual Theme for 2018 and Quarterly Themes

Reading time: 2 minutesA warm hello to our readers and fellow legal technologists!

Singapore takes the ASEAN Chairmanship in 2018 with the themes of “resilience” and “innovation”. Hence, it is timely for LawTech.Asia, with a focus on legal technology in Southeast Asia, to focus on legal technology developments in Singapore and the region.

At the same time, given that it has been roughly half a decade since the buzz about legal technology took root in Singapore, it is also appropriate to do a stocktake on the state of legal technology in Singapore for our readers. In addition, with the focus on Southeast Asia, it would also be useful to draw insight from legal technology developments in the region. This would also give LawTech.Asia the opportunity to examine how Singapore can learn from her fellow ASEAN counterparts, and vice versa.

With this in mind, the LawTech.Asia team presents to you our theme for our articles this year: Legal Technology in Singapore and ASEAN: Present and Future.

Aside from our regular articles, the LawTech.Asia team will be bringing to you a series of Quarterly Updates, a four-part thematic series that focuses on four sub-themes that are in line with LawTech.Asia’s annual theme. LawTech.Asia intends to cover the following four topics in its quarterly update:

  1. 1st Quarter: The state of legal technology in Singapore
  2. 2nd Quarter: The state of legal technology in ASEAN
  3. 3rd Quarter: What might Singapore be able to learn from ASEAN and vice versa?
  4. 4th Quarter: A legal technology report card on Singapore’s drive of “innovation” for ASEAN, and a look at the future.

We look forward to your continued support as we continue to bring you insights and information exploring the past, present and future of legal technology in Singapore and ASEAN.


Wishing you a happy and fruitful 2018,

The LawTech.Asia Team


Image credit: ASEAN

Recent Growth and Developments on Online Dispute Resolution in Southeast Asia

Reading time: 6 minutesWritten by Josh Lee and Professor Thomas G. Giglione

This is the first part of a two-part series on recent developments in online dispute resolution. These series was co-written by Josh Lee and our guest contributor, Professor Thomas G. Giglione.

Professor Giglione is an experienced commercial mediator, and is the Convener for the 2017 Asia Pacific Mediation Forum Conference in Da Nang, Vietnam.


Notwithstanding the continued importance of “traditional” dispute resolution mechanisms such as litigation and ADR, online dispute resolution (“ODR”) has continued to grow in influence and importance as an enabling tool for lawyers in assisting clients with the resolution of disputes.

This development, however, has been patchy at best. Certain regions, such as South-East Asia (“SEA”), do not seem to have embraced ODR as compared to regions like the European Union (“EU”). This is in spite of the sustained explosion in growth of mobile usage and e-commerce in SEA – between January 2016 and January 2017, for instance, the number of internet users and mobile subscriptions in SEA jumped by 80 million and 62 million respectively.

In this 2-part series, we intend to bring attention to major ODR developments in the EU, and to explore the possibility of applying such developments in the SEA context. In particular, our two mini-articles will cover the following areas:

  1. Briefly trace the global development of ODR, and to identify the development phase that ODR is in today;
  2. Identify the latest major development on ODR in the EU, the pan-EU ODR system, and to examine its main features, strengths, and criticisms;
  3. Broadly assess the desirability and feasibility of implementing a region-wide ODR network in SEA, with suitable modifications, if any; and
  4. To this end, identify certain inroads that have been made so far towards the implementation of such a region-wide ODR network in SEA.

The first part of this series will cover (a) by tracing the global development of ODR, and attempt to identify the phase of development that ODR is currently in.

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