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A milestone in the recognition of Hong Kong corporate insolvency proceedings in the PRC 中国内地认可香港破产程序的里程碑

  • Hong Kong
  • Distressed - Restructuring and Insolvency
  • Restructuring and insolvency

15-06-2021

Executive summary

On 14 May 2021, the Supreme People’s Court and the Government of the Hong Kong SAR reached a consensus for a pilot mutual recognition of corporate insolvency proceedings. Such consensus strengthens the ability of creditors to enforce against a debtor company’s assets located in the PRC.

This development in the mutual recognition of corporate insolvency proceedings between the PRC and Hong Kong is encouraging.

Background

Historically, the PRC Courts have refused to recognise Hong Kong winding up orders and Hong Kong court appointed liquidators. This meant that creditors of distressed Hong Kong companies with significant assets in the Mainland are unable to get access to the Hong Kong debtor’s Mainland assets.

On 14 May 2021, the Hong Kong Department of Justice together with the PRC Supreme People’s Court, signed the Record of Meeting of the Supreme People’s Court and the Government of the HKSAR on Mutual Recognition of and Assistance to Bankruptcy (Insolvency) Proceedings between the Courts of the Mainland and of the HKSAR (the “Record of Meeting”). The Record of Meeting establishes a pilot framework for cooperation between the Hong Kong Courts and the PRC Courts in corporate insolvency and debt restructuring matters.

In order to give effect to the Record of Meeting, the Supreme People’s Court published the Opinion on Taking Forward a Pilot Measure in relation to the Recognition of and Assistance to Insolvency Proceedings in the HKSAR (the “PRC Opinion”), while the Hong Kong Court published the Practical Guide on Procedures for a Mainland Administrator’s Application to the Hong Kong SAR Court for Recognition and Assistance.

Under the new framework, PRC recognition is limited to a debtor company which has its centre of main interest in Hong Kong continuously for at least six months.

At present, this pilot framework is only applicable when the debtor companies have their principal assets or place of business in Shanghai, Xiamen and Shenzhen. Courts in other PRC cities are not bound by the pilot framework.

Conclusion

The new pilot framework set out under the Record of Meeting is an encouraging development for enhancing mutual judicial cooperation in restructuring and insolvency matters between PRC and Hong Kong. This will enhance Hong Kong’s position as the international gateway for business with Mainland PRC.

Eversheds Sutherland prides itself in its global restructuring and insolvency practice. It has assisted distressed companies, insolvency practitioners, creditors, PE houses, banks and other financial institutions in delivering high profile restructurings and insolvencies across multiple jurisdictions.

If we can assist you in any restructuring or insolvency matter, please reach out to Kingsley Ong, Head of Asia Restructuring & Insolvency and Structured Finance, in the first instance.


摘要

2021年5月14日,中国最高人民法院与香港特别行政区(以下简称“香港”)政府就中国内地与香港相互认可和协助破产程序工作达成共识。基于该共识,债权人强制执行公司债务人位于中国内地资产的能力将得到增强。

这是中国内地与香港公司破产程序相互认可的关键进展,令人鼓舞。

背景介绍

在达成本次共识之前,中国内地法院并不认可香港法律下的清盘令以及香港法院任命的清盘人。这意味着,对于在中国内地拥有大量资产的陷入财务困境的香港公司,债权人无法获得该债务人的位于中国内地的资产。

2021年5月14日,中国最高人民法院与香港律政司签署了《最高人民法院与香港特别行政区政府关于内地与香港特别行政区法院相互认可和协助破产程序的会谈纪要》(以下简称“会谈纪要”)。会议纪要建立了中国内地法院和香港法院在公司破产和债务重组事宜方面的合作试点工作框架。

为落实会谈纪要成果,中国最高人民法院发布了《关于开展认可和协助香港特别行政区破产程序试点工作的意见》(以下简称“意见”),香港律政司发布了《内地破产管理人向香港特区法院申请认可和协助的程序实用指南》。

在前述试点工作框架下,香港破产管理人申请中国内地认可和协助时,债务人的主要利益中心应当已经在香港连续存在6个月以上。

试点工作框架指定上海市、厦门市和深圳市作为试点地区。只有当债务人在中国内地的主要资产位于前述试点地区、或在试点地区存在营业地或设有代表机构时,香港破产管理人才可以依据意见申请认可和协助香港破产程序。目前,试点工作框架不适用于试点地区之外的中国内地法院。

结论

根据会谈纪要制定的试点工作框架是中国内地和香港在重组和破产事务中推进相互司法合作的关键进展,将有助于加强香港作为与中国内地开展业务的国际门户的地位。

安睿顺德伦国际律师事务所的全球重组和破产业务成绩显著,曾协助公司、破产管理人、债权人、私募基金、银行和其他金融机构在多个法域开展和参与重大的重组和破产程序。

如果您有任何有关重组和破产的问题,欢迎您联系我们亚太重组及破产及结构金融业务主管王世伟律师。