HKIAC and Hong Kong ranked third worldwide for arbitration
HKIAC is the third most preferred arbitral institution and Hong Kong is the third most preferred seat in the world according to the 2021 Queen Mary University of London and White & Case International Arbitration Survey (Survey).
44% of respondents selected HKIAC as a preferred arbitral institution, an increase of 17% since the last survey. This reflects the continual increase in HKIAC’s caseload over the last decade culminating in HKIAC’s record arbitration statistics in 2020, which include a 20% increase in administered arbitrations.
Hong Kong was selected by 50% of respondents as a preferred seat, an increase of 22% since 2018. The Survey confirms that as one of the repeatedly selected top seats, Hong Kong has a longstanding and recognised reputation as a ‘safe seat’ and is an obvious choice of established quality. This response echoes HKIAC’s statement in 2020 that Hong Kong remains a neutral and effective seat.
Hong Kong’s importance as a seat is also reflected in the PRC-HK Interim Measures Arrangement 2019 (Arrangement), under which Hong Kong is the only seat outside of Mainland China where parties to arbitrations may obtain interim relief from Mainland Chinese courts. To date, parties have secured assets valued at USD 1.6 billion under the Arrangement. For further information, see here.
The Survey also identified other areas important for users:
Virtual hearing services
Survey respondents ranked support for virtual hearings as the most important adaptation that institutions can make. With the onset of the pandemic, HKIAC immediately pivoted to virtual hearing work: HKIAC adapted its infrastructure and built a dedicated virtual hearing suite; recruited expert IT staff with dispute resolution experience; arranged 24-hour support for all time zones; and issued Guidelines.
HKIAC has handled 119 virtual hearings to date. Feedback on HKIAC virtual hearing services can be found here.
Commitment to diversity
Respondents ranked an arbitral institution’s commitment to a more diverse pool of arbitrators as the second most important adaptation. In terms of gender diversity, since signing the ERA Pledge in 2016, HKIAC implements policies to enhance gender diversity among arbitral appointments and at speaking events; has established Women in Arbitration in Mainland China; and is an active member of the ICCA Task Force on Gender Diversity in Arbitration.
Development of “green” practices
Many respondents indicated they would welcome more guidance on how to reduce the environmental impact of arbitration. As a member of the Campaign for Greener Arbitrations, HKIAC has assisted in drafting the Green Protocols and has appointed a Green Ambassador.
Sarah Grimmer, HKIAC Secretary-General, says “we are proud of these results and grateful that our users have reflected their confidence in HKIAC and Hong Kong through the Survey. We will keep striving to provide the best dispute resolution process possible. We will never be complacent.”