The Department of Justice (“DoJ”) invites applications from arbitration and dispute resolution institutions wishing to qualify under Article 2(1) of 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”).
Under the Arrangement, signed on 2 April 2019, a party to “arbitral proceedings in Hong Kong” may, in accordance with the relevant Mainland laws and regulations, apply for interim measures from the relevant Mainland courts. According to Article 2(1) of the Arrangement, “arbitral proceedings in Hong Kong” shall be seated in the HKSAR and administered by the following institutions or permanent offices:
“(1) arbitral institutions established in the HKSAR or having their headquarters established in the HKSAR, and with their principal place of management located in the HKSAR;
(2) dispute resolution institutions or permanent offices set up in the HKSAR by international intergovernmental organisations of which the People’s Republic of China is a member; or
(3) dispute resolution institutions or permanent offices set up in the HKSAR by other arbitral institutions and which satisfy the criteria prescribed by the HKSAR Government (such as the number of arbitration cases and the amount in dispute, etc.). ”
The criteria currently prescribed by the HKSAR Government under Article 2(1)(3) of the Arrangement are as follows:-
“(a) the dispute resolution institution or permanent office has been established in Hong Kong for 5 years or more, during which period it has continuously been operating the business of administering arbitration cases; and
(b) in the past 3 years, the dispute resolution institution or permanent office has been administering not fewer than 3 arbitration cases seated in Hong Kong, at least 1 of which involves a party who is not a permanent resident or legal person of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region; and
(c) in the past 3 years, the total amount in dispute in arbitration cases seated in Hong Kong and administered by the dispute resolution institution or permanent office was not less than HK$12 million.”
The designation for institutions or permanent offices qualified under Article 2(1) of the Arrangement will be valid for a period of 2 years from the date of designation, subject to further application for designation upon expiry. A new round of invitation for application will be announced nearer the time.
Existing qualified institutions or permanent offices are also required to make a new application to DoJ if they wish to continue to qualify under Article 2(1) of the Arrangement. For the avoidance of doubt, they would remain designated prior to the publication of the DoJ on the new list of qualified institutions and permanent offices under Article 2(1) of the Arrangement.
Interested arbitration and dispute resolution institutions or permanent offices may apply to DoJ with supporting documents showing that they meet the relevant requirements under Article 2(1)(1),(2) or (3) of the Arrangement (as applicable). The DoJ has published a Guidance Note on the Arrangement setting out the requirements for qualification under Article 2(1) of the Arrangement and the required supporting documents.
All applications and supporting documents shall be in writing and submitted to DoJ on or before 20 January 2023 by post or email:
Alternative Dispute Resolution Team
Department of Justice
2nd floor, East Wing, Justice Place,
18 Lower Albert Road, Central, Hong Kong
The DoJ reserves the right to require an applicant to provide additional information or documents to support its application. An application would only be considered by the DoJ if the DoJ is satisfied that all information required for the application and the additional information or documents requested by the DoJ, if any, have been duly submitted.
It is expected that the result of this round of applications will be announced around March 2023.
Depending on the circumstances and operational considerations, the DoJ may update the list or consider future applications from time to time.
For enquiries, please contact the Alternative Dispute Resolution Team of the DoJ, at tel. 3902 8604 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.