HKIAC announces new Co-Chairs
HKIAC is pleased to announce that David W. Rivkin, Co-Chair of Debevoise & Plimpton’s International Dispute Resolution Group and Past President of the International Bar Association (IBA), and Rimsky Yuen GBM, SC, JP, arbitrator, mediator and barrister at Temple Chambers and former Secretary for Justice of Hong Kong, will be appointed as Co-Chairs of HKIAC with effect from 15 June 2020.
The appointments received unanimous approval from HKIAC’s Council.
Rivkin and Yuen will succeed Matthew Gearing QC, Global Co-Head of the International Arbitration Group of Allen & Overy, whose three-year term as HKIAC Chair will conclude on 14 June 2020.
Two current members of HKIAC’s Council, Nils Eliasson, Partner at Shearman & Sterling, and Briana Young, Professional Support Consultant and Foreign Legal Consultant at Herbert Smith Freehills, will be elevated to Vice Chair, joining current Vice Chair, Joseph Wan, chartered accountant and arbitrator, and former CEO of Harvey Nichols.
On his appointment, Rivkin says: “HKIAC has long been one of the world’s leading arbitration institutions, and today Asia is the world’s most dynamic region in the growth of international trade and international arbitration. I am honoured to join Rimsky as Co-Chair of the HKIAC at this time. During my term, I hope to continue its role as a leading innovator in international arbitration.”
Yuen comments: “The HKIAC is one of the leading dispute resolution institutions and I am honoured to join David as Co-Chair. With my fellow Council members and colleagues, I will endeavour to consolidate the strength of HKIAC, and to enhance its role in the Belt and Road Initiative and in the ASEAN community. I look forward to co-operating with other arbitral institutions globally and to engaging with users of HKIAC’s services.”
Quality leadership – present and future
During Gearing’s term as Chair (April 2017 to June 2020), HKIAC has celebrated many major achievements:
- In April 2018, HKIAC secured the bid to host the ICCA Congress in Hong Kong;
- In July 2018, HKIAC revised its corporate governance structure and, inter alia, established a Nominations Committee mandated to enhance transparency, diversity and inclusion in respect of HKIAC’s Council. Today the Council comprises 11 different nationalities based in seven different jurisdictions;
- In November 2018, HKIAC revised its 2013 Administered Arbitration Rules culminating in the release of the market-leading 2018 HKIAC Administered Arbitration Rules;
- In April 2019, HKIAC became the first foreign arbitral institution to be recognised as a “permanent arbitral institution” under reformed Russian arbitration law;
- In August 2019, HKIAC led reform of the sub-legislation governing its role as statutory appointing authority for arbitrations seated in Hong Kong to allow it to waive fees in low-value disputes;
- From October 2019, HKIAC has led the development of institutional practice under the Hong Kong-Mainland China Interim Measures Arrangement, under which HKIAC has handled 21 applications for the preservation of evidence and assets worth USD1.2 billion in Mainland China;
- In May 2020, based on its experience HKIAC released guidelines for the conduct of virtual hearings to ensure parties and tribunals experience seamless and effective virtual hearings.
In addition to Gearing’s role as Chair, he has been actively involved with HKIAC since 2008 and has supported the work of its Standing Committees (i.e., the Proceedings, Appointments, and Finance and Administration Committees) as well as the Rules Revision Committees for the 2008, 2013 and 2018 HKIAC Administered Arbitration Rules.
On his role as HKIAC Chair, Gearing says: “I have been proud to be a part of HKIAC’s Council since Michael Moser was Chair and have been lucky enough to have Chaired the Council for the past three years. During this time, we have developed various projects that respond meaningfully to the needs of HKIAC’s varied users. With David and Rimsky taking up the helm supported by Briana, Joseph and Nils, the other Council members, and Hong Kong’s dynamic dispute resolution community, I have no doubt HKIAC’s success will only grow.”
Incoming HKIAC Co-Chair Rivkin has consistently ranked as one of the top international dispute resolution counsel in the world. He has been identified as one of the top thirteen international arbitration practitioners by Chambers Global (2020) which describes him as “a very impressive leader and very, very impressive in the way he approaches and pleads the case”. Rivkin has practiced private and public international law for over 30 years and handled international arbitrations before virtually every major arbitration institution. His active practice incudes both commercial and investment treaty arbitration (acting for both investors and states), and he has won some of the largest awards in both categories. As well as leading Debevoise’s International Dispute Resolution Group, Rivkin has had leadership roles in many international arbitration institutions. As President of the IBA in 2015-2016, Rivkin led a global organisation whose membership comprises over 100,000 members and 200 bar associations.
Incoming HKIAC Co-Chair Yuen has contributed significantly to the continued development of Hong Kong as a leading international dispute resolution centre. During his time as Secretary for Justice, important changes were made to the legislative framework including ensuring that emergency arbitrator relief is enforceable by the Hong Kong courts whether made in Hong Kong or elsewhere; clarifying that disputes concerning intellectual property rights are arbitrable in Hong Kong and that the enforcement of arbitral awards concerning those rights is not contrary to public policy; and, permitting third party funding in arbitrations and associated proceedings. Yuen drove the establishment of the Legal Hub in Hong Kong to underscore the city’s commitment to the rule of law and bring together major international law organisations and dispute resolution bodies. Yuen also supported Hong Kong’s successful bid to host the ICCA Congress.
Sarah Grimmer, HKIAC Secretary-General, comments: “HKIAC has long benefitted from quality leadership. Matt has been an outstanding chair and an absolute pleasure to work with. We now look ahead to the next exciting chapter for HKIAC under the direction of David and Rimsky, two very impressive leaders.”
Gabrielle Kaufmann-Kohler, Partner at Lévy Kaufmann-Kohler and Honorary President of ICCA, had this to say: “I am delighted to hear about the appointments of David and Rimsky as HKIAC’s incoming Co-Chairs. I have no doubt their combined leadership experience and global reach will cement HKIAC’s role as a leading arbitral institution.”
Hear from our incoming and outgoing leadership by short video here.
HKIAC is one of the world's leading dispute resolution organizations, specialising in arbitration, mediation, adjudication and domain name dispute resolution. HKIAC maintains one of the largest caseloads in the Asia-Pacific region, having handled over 10,500 commercial cases since its establishment in 1985. HKIAC is at the forefront of arbitration innovation and best practice offering users market-leading arbitration rules and state-of-the-art facilities for physical and virtual hearings.