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Now In Force: Hong Kong – Mainland Arrangement Concerning Mutual Assistance in Interim Measures in Aid of Arbitration Proceedings

  • Hong Kong
  • Litigation and dispute management

02-10-2019

The Arrangement

  • On 2 April 2019, Hong Kong and Mainland China signed the Arrangement Concerning Mutual Assistance in Court-ordered Interim Measures in Aid of Arbitral Proceedings by the Courts of the Mainland and of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (“Arrangement”). The Arrangement came into effect on 1 October 2019 and will apply to applications for interim measures made on or after this date.

 

What does it mean?

  • For the first time, parties to arbitral proceedings seated in Hong Kong and administered by designated arbitral institutions may, in accordance with the relevant Mainland laws and regulations, apply for interim measures from the PRC Courts that will be enforceable in Mainland China1.
  • Under the Arrangement, “interim measures” include property preservation, evidence preservation and conduct preservation measures in the Mainland.
  • Details of the procedure and key requirements for making an application for interim measures are set out in the Arrangement which requires the requested Court to examine a party’s application expeditiously.
  • The Arrangement is reciprocal, meaning that a party to arbitration proceedings seated in the Mainland may also apply to the Hong Kong Courts for interim measures, pursuant to the laws of Hong Kong. This has, however, always been the case and the Arrangement simply re-affirms the pro-arbitration stance of the Hong Kong Courts which provide aid to foreign-seated arbitrations.

 

Eligible dispute resolution institutions in Hong Kong

The authorities in Hong Kong and the Mainland have confirmed that the following dispute resolution institutions and permanent offices in Hong Kong are eligible for applying to the PRC Courts under the Arrangement:

  1. Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre;
  2. China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission Hong Kong Arbitration Centre;
  3. International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce - Asia Office;
  4. Hong Kong Maritime Arbitration Group;
  5. South China International Arbitration Centre (HK); and
  6. eBRAM International Online Dispute Resolution Centre.

 

Going forward

  • The Arrangement gives Hong Kong the unique position of being the sole jurisdiction outside the Mainland which has the benefit of seeking interim measures from the Courts of the Mainland.
  • It is expected to be a game changer as it will give non-Chinese parties greater confidence when choosing Hong Kong as their seat of arbitration, particularly where there is a possibility that interim relief may be required in the Mainland.
  • It will also strengthen the status of Hong Kong as a leading centre for international dispute resolution services in the Asia-Pacific Region.

1The Arrangement Concerning Mutual Assistance in Court-ordered Interim Measures in Aid of Arbitral Proceedings by the Courts of the Mainland and of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (courtesy English translation), available at:

https://www.doj.gov.hk/pdf/2019/arbitration_interim_e.pdf

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