Today is the first day of the Chinese New Year. May I take this opportunity to wish you all good health, great fortune and a prosperous Year of the Tiger! “Tiger” gives an impression of being responsive and proactive, which are also the strengths of Chinese. I believe that we can overcome the challenges ahead with these qualities and build a better future together. With the National Security Law in place and the implementation of “patriots administering Hong Kong” through improvement of the electoral system, I look forward to a new chapter of sound governance of Hong Kong.
Looking ahead to the new year, the Department of Justice (DoJ) will launch a number of initiatives to assist the legal and dispute resolution sector in grasping the opportunities brought about by national policies, including the expeditious implementation of the Arrangement on Reciprocal Recognition and Enforcement of Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters between the Courts of the Mainland and of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. We had launched a public consultation on the legislative proposal and will take forward the legislative exercise, with a view to establishing a comprehensive and clear mechanism as soon as possible to provide better protection to parties in both places.
Furthermore, the Law Reform Commission published a report on the Outcome Related Fee Structures for Arbitration (ORFSA) which suggests an introduction of reform on legal fee arrangements for arbitration. The Advisory Committee on Promotion of Arbitration has already expressed its support to the ORFSA proposal. We are carefully considering the recommendations of the report and will take forward the legislative amendments in order to respond to the expectations of arbitration parties for flexible fee arrangements, enhance access to justice and enable Hong Kong’s arbitration services to advance with the times. This will undoubtedly help attract more parties to choose Hong Kong as a seat of arbitration as well as use the legal services in Hong Kong.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to the Motherland. The DoJ will organise a number of events to celebrate with members of the public. First of all, the Hong Kong Legal Week will be held in November to bring together local and overseas renowned experts to share their professional views on a series of legal issues with the sector, thereby strengthening our status as a leading centre for international legal, deal-making and dispute resolution services in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.
In addition, the DoJ will again host the legal conferences on Basic Law and National Security Law. Through the sharing with experts, we hope to enhance the proper understanding of the Constitution and the constitutional responsibility to safeguard national security among the public, showcasing the successful implementation of the Basic Law and “one country, two systems” with a deep appreciation of “stability to prosperity and thrive with security”.
February 1, 2022