Hong Kong Arbitration Week 2019 - record numbers and new developments
The 8th annual Hong Kong Arbitration Week (the "Week") concluded on Friday, 25 October 2019. It was the largest to date with 23 events over six days attended by more than 680 people from 40 jurisdictions. New jurisdictions were represented at the Week by participant entities from Mainland China, India, Russia, Germany, and the United States. The popularity of the Week has grown significantly over the last eight years: the first Hong Kong Arbitration Week (an initiative established and run by HKIAC) in 2012 included five events over 3.5 days and attracted approximately 250 attendees. It was the first Arbitration Week held globally and is a concept that has since been replicated by numerous cities.
At the flagship event of the Week, HKIAC's ADR in Asia Conference, Hong Kong's Secretary for Justice Ms. Teresa Cheng SC announced the launch of a review by the Law Reform Commission of outcome-related fee arrangements for arbitration in Hong Kong. A sub-committee has been established to review the current legal framework and make recommendations. It is co-chaired by Mses. Kathryn Sanger and Briana Young of Herbert Smith Freehills and its members include Mr. Matthew Gearing, QC, Allen & Overy, Dr. Benny Lo, Barrister at Des Voeux Chambers, Mr. José-Antonio Maurellet, SC, Barrister at Des Voeux Chambers and Mr. C.M. Chan of Anthony Siu & Co. HKIAC has been involved in previous law reform projects in Hong Kong, including the introduction of emergency arbitration legislation in 2013, third party funding in 2018, and amendments to allow HKIAC to waive fees in cases under its statutory appointing authority role in 2019 (see here). HKIAC looks forward to supporting the sub-committee in its work.
The Arrangement Concerning Mutual Assistance in Court-ordered Interim Measures in Aid of Arbitral Proceedings by the Courts of the Mainland and of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (the "Arrangement") which came into force on 1 October 2019 received significant attention during the Week. HKIAC hosted a seminar organised by the Department of Justice of Hong Kong and the Supreme People's Court of the People's Republic of China (the "SPC") on 19 October 2019. At the seminar, two SPC judges discussed the Arrangement and related practice adopted by the Mainland Chinese courts on interim measures. 12 template documents prepared by the SPC for the purposes of seeking interim measures under the Arrangement were distributed at the seminar. They include applications for different purposes under the Arrangement as well as certificates to be issued by qualified Hong Kong arbitral institutions to facilitate those applications. Copies of the templates (in Chinese) are available here.