HK well positioned in providing maritime arbitration services and promoting “mediate first”

I led a delegation comprising Hong Kong legal and dispute resolution professionals to Shanghai earlier to meet with representatives from the China Shipowners' Association and China Classification Society Shanghai Branch to promote our maritime arbitration services.

Many of you may already be familiar with Hong Kong's advantages in arbitration services. As we are one of the busiest ports in the world, maritime legal services have become an integral part of Hong Kong. We have a broad pool of legal practitioners to provide high-end maritime law and arbitration services to shippers, ship owners and commodities owners in aspects such as ship financing, ship broking, ship building and maritime insurance. We are striving to develop our maritime arbitration.

The Hong Kong Maritime Arbitration Group is exploring ways to update arbitration rules and small claims procedures. Its work is close to completion. With these measures, I hope that more Mainland shipping enterprises would choose Hong Kong as an arbitration venue.

Separately, we spare no effort in promoting the “Mediate First” Pledge event, a brand which was built up by the Department of Justice, outside Hong Kong. The first inaugural event was held in Shanghai. Around 170 participants from different enterprises as well as the legal and mediation sectors attended the event, among which approximately 80 enterprises or individuals made the “Mediate First” Pledge and agreed to first explore the use of mediation when disputes arise. We will continue to introduce this event to other places and let more overseas enterprises know about it in order to further enhance the development of mediation.

In fact, mediation by a neutral mediator could be a feasible means to break the current stalemate in the society. Although an immediate resolution might not be possible, the process of mediation provides a communication platform which enables us to narrow our differences or review our circumstances, thereby paving the way for further negotiation with a view to reaching an ultimate settlement. "Treasure Hong Kong, our home".

August 31, 2019