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Mainland China-Hong Kong Interim Measures Arrangement One Year On: Crossing the River by Feeling the Stones

4 September 2020

On 1 October 2019, the Arrangement Concerning Mutual Assistance in Court-ordered Interim Measures in Aid of Arbitral Proceedings by the Courts of the Mainland of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (the “Arrangement”) came into force. Kluwer previously reported it here and here. On 8 October 2019, the first interim measure under the Arrangement was granted by the Shanghai Maritime Court. We can expect to see more applications under the Arrangement. Inevitably, challenges will follow, creating a situation of “crossing the river by feeling the stones” (摸着石头过河) for parties and practitioners.

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Encouraging Mediation as a Form of ADR in Hong Kong

14 August 2020

Hong Kong has engaged in valiant efforts for over a decade to increase the appetite for mediation as an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanism to resolve commercial disputes. Hong Kong first introduced mediation as a voluntary resolution process under the Civil Justice Reform (CJR) on April 2, 2009 though only time will tell if there is a strong, lasting appetite for mediation as a means of resolving disputes.

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ADR in Asia - Arbitrating for Settlement

16 April 2020

The seminal event of Arbitration Week 2019, the “ADR in Asia – Arbitrating for Settlement” conference, was held on 22 October 2019 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Central.  This year’s conference brought together prominent figures of the international arbitration community to explore, as Mr. Matthew Gearing QC noted in his opening remarks, the interplay between formal final dispute resolution on one hand, and mediation and settlement techniques on the other. 

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Time Limits:  Help or Hindrance?

16 April 2020 

In recent years, the use of time limits in international arbitration has garnered increasing support from practitioners and users of international arbitration, given the increasing duration and associated expense in conducting large international arbitrations.  Proponents argue that time limits provide a viable means to curb unnecessarily long proceedings and ensure that arbitrations are conducted efficiently and cost-effectively.  However, time limits are not without their problems: detractors argue that as a general matter they can be unrealistic, and come at the cost of due process. 

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Chinese Investors Investing in One Belt One Road Lack an Effective Enforcement Mechanism at Home 

21 November 2019

Encouraged by the Chinese Government’s expansive Belt and Road Initiative, and often relying on the investor protections afforded to them under China’s dense network of investment treaties, Chinese companies are investing overseas in record numbers. As the volume of such outbound investment has grown, so too has the number of disputes between Chinese investors and host States regarding alleged violations of investment treaty protections. 

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The Indian Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act, 2019:  Double Whammy

12 November 2019

Considerable progress has been made in the last decade by legal practitioners, constitutional courts and the government to promote arbitration in India. Recent pro-arbitration decisions of the Indian Supreme Court show a joint effort to establish India as a leading hub for international arbitration.

The Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (“Act”) is the primary source of law governing arbitration in India. Traditionally, India has favoured ad-hoc rather than institutional arbitration. In addition, arbitration in India has been riddled with excessive costs, and proceedings are often protracted. These distinct characteristics have caused Indian parties to prefer Singapore and London as their seats for arbitration of their disputes.

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4th Annual Harbour Lecturee with Sophie Lam QC

5 November 2019

The fourth annual Harbour Lecture took place on 21 October 2019, with hundreds of attendees packed into the Eaton Club, Hong Kong to hear a thought provoking lecture delivered by Sophie Lamb QC, global co-chair of the international arbitration practice at Latham & Watkins. 

The theme of this year's lecture was whether arbitration is sustainable. The premise was the necessary and unavoidable disruption (a 'great transition' of sorts) that will affect not only the arbitration industry, but life and business more broadly. Ms Lamb used the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a loose framework to take the audience through a wide array of topics and ideas, from crowd-funded robot arbitrators to climate change, rapid urbanisation, and a growing 'silver economy'.

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Interview with Dr Wang Wenying, Secretary General of CIETAC Hong Kong 

15 October 2019

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Michael Hwang's Selected Essays on Dispute Resolution

14 October 2019

Many lawyers in Hong Kong will know Dr Michael Hwang S.C. as a leading international arbitration practitioner from Singapore who often appears in Hong Kong for arbitrations and conferences.  Many will also have read his first volume of essays titled “Selected Essays on International Arbitration”, which is available for free download at www.mhwang.com.  Dr Hwang has now written a second volume of essays called “Selected Essays on Dispute Resolution” (which is also available for free download on the same website).  The change in title indicates that this volume has added dimensions as there are further writings on topics other than international arbitration. 

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The Prague Rules and the IBA Rules: Different Sides, Same Coin

24 May 2019

On 14 December 2018, after 4 years of drafting, the Rules on the Efficient Conduct of Proceedings in International Arbitration (Prague Rules) were officially signed in the Martinic Palace in Prague's Old City.  During the signing, the speakers, including Vladimir Khvalei, Chairman of the Board of the Russian Arbitration Association, heralded the Prague Rules as the answer of civil law jurisdictions to the IBA Rules on the Taking of Evidence in International Arbitration (IBA Rules), which have come under scrutiny for supposedly unduly increasing the complexity and costs associated with arbitration. The purpose of the Prague Rules is apparent from its title: the efficient conduct of proceedings.

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Third Party Funding - The Answer to Access to Justice? 

9 May 2019
Since 1 February 2019, parties lacking financial resources can consider third party funding in arbitration, which is now permitted.  Whilst access to justice might be improved to some extent, it must be remembered that third party funders decide to fund arbitration as an investment and therefore look at various factors to consider prospects of recovery to decide whether to fund.  Of course, it is not only parties that lack financial resources that consider third party funding; parties may do so to hedge costs risks or reduce capital outlay.

 

In any event, the introduction of the third party funding scheme is a welcome step forward in bringing Hong Kong in line with England, Singapore and other jurisdictions.

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Prospects for Investor-State Mediation in Asia: Belt and Road projects and the Singapore Convention

9 May 2019
Recent international developments reflect an upsurge in interest in mediation, including in relation to disputes involving Asian parties. This article focuses on two recent developments that will be of interest to dispute-resolution practitioners in Asia.

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Becoming a Rising Star in International Arbitration

5 April 2019
Bright and early on International Women’s Day 2019, Hong Kong’s female arbitration community gathered at the HKIAC to listen to a panel of esteemed practitioners speak about effective business development and raising your profile in the industry.   

 

The panel consisted of Chiann Bao, an independent arbitrator from Arbitration Chambers, Sarah Grimmer, Secretary General of HKIAC, May Tai, Managing Partner (Greater China) of Herbert Smith Freehills, and Mary Thomson, barrister and independent arbitrator from Pacific Chambers and Chair of CIArb (East Asia Branch). The panel was moderated by Eliza Jiang of Fangda Partners.

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Interview with Sir Christopher Greenwood, GBE, CMG, QC

5 April 2019
We were very honoured to have Sir Christopher Greenwood, GBE, CMG, QC, a leading figure in international law, join us in Hong Kong. 

Sir Christopher was a lecturer in International Law at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Magdalene College from 1978 to 1996, and subsequently the Chair of International Law at the London School of Economics until 2009.  During his practice as a barrister from 1984 to 2009 (including as Queen’s Counsel from 1999 onwards), he argued numerous high-profile cases including before the European Court of Human Rights and the International Court of Justice (“ICJ”).  Following election by the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council, Sir Christopher served as a Judge of the ICJ from 2009 to February 2018.  Most recently, in March 2018, he was appointed by the United States to the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal (“IUSCT”). 

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Ensuring Efficiency in International Arbitration Proceedings:  Tips for Asian Users

28 February 2019
Hong Kong Arbitration Week 2018 kicked off with a seminar hosted by Latham & Watkins entitled “Ensuring Efficiency in International Arbitration Proceedings: Tips for Asian Users”, which consisted of two roundtable discussions.  The speakers shared their experiences and tips on making arbitration more time and cost efficient on expedited procedures, early dismissal of claims and defences, page limits and managing the tension between efficiency and enforceability of the award. 

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ICC and ICC-HK Seminar

28 February 2019
As part of Hong Kong Arbitration Week 2018, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and ICC-Hong Kong held a two-part seminar on 29 October: Part 1 set focus on providing a global, regional and Hong Kong-specific update on ICC arbitration, and Part 2 saw an interactive discussion amongst experts from the legal and financial sectors on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

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Report on Hong Kong Arbitration Week China Focus Session - Current & Future Development of ADR services for the Belt and Road Initiatives & the Greater Bay Area Initiatives

14 January 2019
The Hong Kong Arbitration Week China Focus Session on 30 October 2018 featured discussions on a wide range of developments in the arbitration scene in the PRC, including the latest judicial interpretations and SPC opinions, key cases and the establishment of the Chinese International Commercial Courts (“CICCs”) and the Nansha International Arbitration Centre.  Judge Chen Ji Zong from the Supreme People’s Court of the People’s Republic of China (“SPC”) and President Hao Fei of the Dongguan Branch of the Guangzhou Arbitration Commission were the speakers and Ms. Sylvia Siu of HKIArb served as the moderator.

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China and Russia:  Hong Kong at the intersection of big business and big politics as a global dispute resolution venue

14 January 2019
On Thursday, 1 November 2018, the historic Helena May Club in Hong Kong opened its doors to the arbitration community to welcome the Consul General of the Russian Federation in Hong Kong, His Excellency Mr. Alexander V. Kozlov, and The Right Honourable Lord Peter Goldsmith QC, for an evening of speeches and debates on the role of Hong Kong in the Russian-Chinese relations.

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HK45 Annual Arbitration Pub Quiz

17 December 2018
The HK45 Annual Arbitration Pub Quiz has been described by some as "one of the highlights" of Hong Kong Arbitration Week.  This year, it did not disappoint.  With just under 100 individuals from the arbitration community in the room, nine teams competed to be crowned the ultimate HK45 Pub Quiz winners.

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Chinese Arbitral Women from Hong Kong to the World

17 December 2018

The Women in Arbitration ("WIA") initiative was launched by the HKIAC in February 2018 to promote and support female practitioners in international arbitration and related practice areas in China.  Having previously hosted two successful events in Shanghai and Beijing respectively, the HKIAC hosted its inaugural WIA seminar in Hong Kong during the Hong Kong Arbitration Week on 29 October 2018.

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2018 KCAB International Seminar in Hong Kong - Being "International" in International Arbitration:  Tackling Disputes in Multi-cultural settings

17 December 2018

The cross-border nature of international arbitration necessarily entails dealing with a wide variety of cultures and legal traditions.  The management of such differences has been, and still is, a pertinent issue to consider in any international arbitration.  On 29 October 2018, KCAB International, the international division of the KCAB established at the beginning of this year to cater to the growing needs of the KCAB's international users, hosted a seminar aptly titled "Being 'International' in International Arbitration: Tackling Disputes in Multi-cultural settings".  

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The Rising Commercial and Investment Interface between Africa and Asia:  Challenges and Opportunities

17 December 2018

The event was hosted by MCCI Arbitration and Mediation Center ("MARC") and supported by CMS Hasche Sigle, Hong Kong LLP during Hong Kong Arbitration Week 2018, and took place in the beautiful setting of the China Club.  The overarching theme for the discourse was "The Rising Commercial and Investment Interface between Africa and Asia: Challenges and Opportunities".

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Belt and Road:  Financing and other Issues

17 December 2018 

The hotly-anticipated second event of Hong Kong arbitration week was a seminar hosted by Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom concerning "Belt and Road: Financing and other Issues".  Because of the topical nature of the presentation, the event was entirely over-subscribed. However, in order to accommodate as many participants as possible, the presentation was video-linked to a separate "spill-out" room.   The seminar took the form of an introduction to the Belt and Road Initiative ("BRI"), constituting the first part, with panel members answering a series of incisive questions on the topic, constituting the second part.

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Harbour Lecture:  The Rule of Law with Chinese Characteristics - Impact on the Belt and Road 

17 December 2018 

The Harbour Lecture continues to be a showpiece of the Hong Kong Arbitration Week.  Following the insightful lectures by Neil Kaplan CBE QC SBS and Gavan Griffith QC in the previous two years, Meg Utterback (partner at King & Wood Mallesons) delivered the third annual Harbour Lecture on 30 October 2018 on the topic of "The Rule of Law with Chinese Characteristics: Impact on the Belt and Road".  The purpose of the Harbour Lecture is to provoke thought and to challenge the audience, and Meg's lecture did not disappoint.  Meg delivered the lecture to an (over)capacity crowd.  Indeed, extra rows of chairs had to be brought in to accommodate the overflow of attendees.

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