HKIAC Releases Statistics for 2020

09 Feb 2021

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09 Feb 2021

HKIAC Releases Statistics for 2020

As we head into the Year of the Ox, HKIAC takes the opportunity to release its case statistics for 2020.

Arbitration statistics set new records

In 2020, HKIAC received 318 arbitration filings which is the highest number received in over a decade. Of the 318 filings, 203 were arbitrations administered by HKIAC which represents an increase close to 20% in administered arbitrations from 2019.

The total amount in dispute was HK$68.8 billion (approximately US$8.8 billion) – a record high since HKIAC began to publish such information in 2011.

Arbitrations filed in 2020 continued to be predominantly international featuring parties from 45 jurisdictions. 72% of all arbitrations and 86% of administered arbitrations were international. The vast majority of the arbitrations were seated in Hong Kong. Disputes were subject to 12 different governing laws.

HKIAC saw greater diversity in its appointments of arbitrators in 2020. Of the 149 appointments made by HKIAC, 23% were of female arbitrators (20.5% in 2019) and 50% were of arbitrators not previously appointed by HKIAC over the last three years (40% in 2019).

Multiple applications were made for various procedural mechanisms in the 2018 HKIAC Administered Arbitration Rules (the “2018 Rules”) to streamline arbitral proceedings. In 2020, HKIAC received a record number of 14 emergency arbitrator applications, of which 11 were made in related arbitrations. For the first time, the newly introduced Early Determination Procedure was invoked in three cases, one of which proceeded and concluded by final award. Parties disclosed third-party funding arrangements in three cases under the new requirements of the 2018 Rules. HKIAC’s joinder, consolidation and single arbitration provisions were invoked multiple times to address disputes involving multiple parties and/or contracts. Such disputes represent 35% of the total arbitrations commenced in 2020. 

HKIAC’s other services also proved to be popular in 2020. HKIAC’s legal staff received 18 tribunal secretary appointments, which is more than the number received in any preceding year since HKIAC introduced the tribunal secretary service in 2014. In 2020, HKIAC hosted 117 hearings, of which 80 were fully or partially virtual hearings (two of which were supported by HKIAC’s Shanghai office) and 37 were in-person hearings taking place at HKIAC’s premises in Hong Kong.

HKIAC’s full statistics for 2020 are published here.

Parties benefit under the Hong Kong-Mainland China Arrangement on Interim Measures (“Arrangement”)

Since its entry into force in 1 October 2019, the Arrangement has motivated parties to choose Hong Kong as the seat and HKIAC as the institution for disputes with Chinese elements. To date, HKIAC has processed 37 applications made to the Mainland Chinese courts for interim measures. The key findings include the following:

1. 34 applications were made for preservation of assets. Two were for preservation of evidence and one was for preservation of conduct.
2. The total value of assets sought to be preserved across all applications was RMB 12.5 billion or approximately USD 1.9 billion.
3. HKIAC is aware of 24 decisions issued by the Intermediate People’s Courts (“IPCs”). Of those 24 decisions, 22 granted the applications for preservation of assets upon the applicant’s provision of security and two rejected such applications. The total value of assets preserved amounts to RMB 10 billion or approximately USD 1.6 billion.
4. HKIAC issued a letter of acceptance to facilitate each of the 37 applications as required by the Arrangement. HKIAC issues a letter of acceptance typically within 24 hours from its receipt of the application.
5. All applications were made in arbitrations seated in Hong Kong and administered by HKIAC under its Administered Arbitration Rules.
6. All applications were made on an ex parte basis and in arbitrations that had been commenced.
7. Approximately 27% of the applications were made by parties from Mainland China and 73% were made by parties from jurisdictions outside of Mainland China (i.e. the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Hong Kong, Samoa, Singapore, Switzerland and Taiwan). Approximately 60% of the applications concerned assets or evidence owned by Mainland Chinese parties, 24% concerned assets on the Mainland owned by non-Mainland parties (i.e. from the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, France, Hong Kong and the Netherlands), and 16% concerned assets owned by both Mainland and non-Mainland parties (i.e. from the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Hong Kong, the Netherlands and St. Kitts and Nevis). 
8. The applications were made to 17 different IPCs in the following Mainland Chinese cities: Beijing, Dalian, Dongying, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Jinan, Lianyungang, Nanjing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Xiamen, Yantai and Zhaoqing.
9. 23 applications were submitted to the IPCs by the applicant directly and 14 were submitted by HKIAC to the IPCs upon their request.

For further information about the HKIAC’s practice under the Arrangement, please visit our website here.

Media Contact
Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre
Kiran Sanghera
Tel: +852 2525 2381
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