HKIAC sees increase in tribunal secretary appointments
Since June 2014, HKIAC legal staff have been available to act as tribunal secretary in arbitrations under HKIAC’s auspices. To date, HKIAC legal staff have been appointed on 61 occasions. Demand has increased significantly in recent years with 80% of the appointments being made since January 2018.
The service allows tribunals and parties to benefit from HKIAC legal staff’s experience administering large volumes of cases under the HKIAC Administered Arbitration Rules and the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules, among others. It reduces costs for parties by shifting administrative work from the tribunal to the tribunal secretary. HKIAC has published guidelines on the use of tribunal secretaries (Guidelines). HKIAC is the only major arbitral institution to offer this service in commercial arbitrations between private parties.
HKIAC legal staff have been appointed in corporate, commercial, intellectual property and construction matters, with amounts in dispute ranging from HK$672,225 (US$86,500) to upwards of HK$14.7 billion (US$1.9 billion). In most cases, the amount in dispute was over HK$100 million (US$12.9 million).
Simon Thorley QC, Brick Court Chambers recalls: “An HKIAC counsel served me as tribunal secretary in a high value patent and technology licensing dispute in which I acted as sole arbitrator and the award needed to be rendered within six months. He was excellent: highly efficient, informed, reliable and personable.”
In addition to tribunals, the appointment of HKIAC legal staff to support emergency arbitrators has proved invaluable given the tight time constraints. 10% of appointments were in emergency arbitrator proceedings.
Kim M. Rooney, Gilt Chambers comments: “The assistance of the HKIAC tribunal secretary during the emergency arbitrator proceedings was especially useful given its very short deadlines over the Christmas New Year period. Having a tribunal secretary experienced in the procedure, who was very responsive and who worked tirelessly over holidays and weekends, provided me with excellent support.”
30% of cases involved the appointment of HKIAC’s bilingual English/Chinese speaking legal staff, reflecting HKIAC’s high volume of international disputes involving Mainland Chinese parties.
As with the choice HKIAC offers parties in paying arbitrators, HKIAC tribunal secretaries may be paid based on the amount in dispute or by hourly rate. When paid according to the amount in dispute, the tribunal secretary will be paid out of the tribunal’s fees. For hourly rate cases, the tribunal secretary fees (available here) are highly competitive.
HKIAC regularly holds tribunal secretary training programmes. Now in its seventh year, HKIAC has trained 125 tribunal secretaries from 30 jurisdictions, with sessions in London, New York, Singapore, Shanghai, Beijing, Manila, and Hong Kong. The next programme will be held online on 23-25 June 2021. Email firstname.lastname@example.org before 7 May 2021 to register. For more information, visit here.