Following the success of similar events in Hong Kong, London, Frankfurt, New York, Manila and Taipei earlier this year, the HKIAC Roadshow reached Shanghai on 13 September 2014, showcasing the best practices of international arbitration and the consolidation mechanism under the 2013 HKIAC Administered Arbitration Rules (the HKIAC Rules).
The full-day event was in two parts: (1) a workshop on the key procedural steps of HKIAC arbitral proceedings and practical tips for drafting submissions and documents in these proceedings; and (2) a mock arbitration discussing an application for consolidation of two arbitrations under the HKIAC Rules.
HKIAC’s Shanghai roadshow was hosted by the Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Law and was co-organised by the Shanghai International Arbitration Center, the Shanghai Corporate Counsel Association, and the International Trade and Anti-dumping Committee of the Shanghai Bar Association. Zhao Ping, the Director of the International Trade and Anti-dumping Committee of the Shanghai Bar Association opened the event by commenting on Hong Kong’s position in the global arbitration community. He noted that Hong Kong is widely recognised as a leading arbitration seat and that Hong Kong is at the forefront of international arbitration.
The morning workshop was presided by HKIAC’s Chairperson, Teresa Cheng SC, who provided insights into the conduct of the arbitral proceedings under the HKIAC Rules. Using a hypothetical case scenario, Teresa gave a detailed explanation of each procedural step in an arbitration (i.e. from the filing of the Notice of Arbitration to the issue of the final award). Each attendee was provided with a set of sample documents that are commonly seen in arbitration. Teresa used these documents to illustrate how pleadings, witness statements, expert reports, discovery requests and settlement offers should be drafted in international arbitration.
The afternoon session saw Fei Ning (managing partner at Hui Zhong Law Firm), Benjamin Miao (partner at Fangda Partners), and Yu Bing (counsel at Clifford Chance) go head-to-head in a mock application for the consolidation of two arbitrations under Article 28 of the HKIAC Rules. Li Lianjun (partner at Reed Smith Richards Butler) took the role of a party-appointed arbitrator and Joe Liu (assistant managing counsel at HKIAC) acted as the HKIAC Secretariat.
The mock arbitration allowed a number of potential issues under Article 28 to be tested, including how would HKIAC assess whether there is “a common question of law or fact” and how similar the arbitration agreements had to be for them to be “compatible”. Issues regarding how to ensure each party’s equal participation in the process of appointing arbitrators in a consolidated arbitration were also discussed.
The event provided a practical and entertaining way to have an in-depth understanding of HKIAC arbitration and prompted a number of questions from the floor as to the factors which HKIAC would take into consideration when deciding whether to consolidate.
The event attracted over 150 attendees, including in-house counsel from large corporations, practitioners from major Chinese law firms and representatives from local arbitral institutions and professional associations. Many of them spoke highly of the event and HKIAC’s consolidation provisions. They commented that it is important to have these provisions in the HKIAC Rules to afford the parties’ the possibility of seeking consolidation in appropriate circumstances. Some considered the consolidation mechanism as a key attraction of HKIAC arbitration, which sets HKIAC apart from other arbitral institutions.