In June 2011, a new Arbitration Ordinance (Cap.609) ("the Ordinance") came into effect to reform the arbitration law then in force by unifying the dual regimes for domestic and international arbitrations. The Ordinance is based on the Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (“Model Law”), which is well understood by practitioners from both civil law and common law jurisdictions and familiar to the international business community.
The reform under the Ordinance has the following features:
The Arbitration Ordinance has since been amended over the years to ensure that Hong Kong’s arbitration law stays abreast of international developments, to consolidate Hong Kong’s competitiveness as a leading international arbitration centre and to promote Hong Kong as a preferable seat of arbitration for both local and overseas parties. The primary objects of each amendment are set out below:
Arbitral awards made in Hong Kong can be enforced in all State parties to the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards.
In order to complete the network for recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards, the HKSAR has respectively entered into reciprocal arrangements with the Mainland and the Macao SAR, namely an arrangement between Hong Kong and the Mainland for reciprocal enforcement of arbitral awards and an arrangement between Hong Kong and Macao for reciprocal recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards.
To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the implementation of the Arrangement Concerning Mutual Enforcement of Arbitral Awards between the Mainland and the HKSAR signed on 21 June 1999 and came into effect on 1 February 2000 (“1999 Arrangement”), the Supreme People’s Court and the Department of Justice have jointly published a Compendium of Notable Cases of Mainland and Hong Kong judgments concerning enforcement of arbitral awards under the 1999 Arrangement. Each side has chosen five notable cases and the Compendium can be found at the Publications of this website.
Further, pursuant to 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, parties to arbitral proceedings seated in the HKSAR and administered by designated arbitral institutions may apply to the Mainland courts for interim measures, including property preservation, evidence preservation and conduct preservation. Notably, Hong Kong has become the first jurisdiction outside the Mainland where, as a seat of arbitration, parties to arbitral proceedings administered by its arbitral institutions would be able to apply to the Mainland courts for interim measures.
Over the last ten years, there has been an increasing number of reputable international legal and dispute resolution institutions setting up offices in Hong Kong, reinforce our position as a leading international arbitration centre in the Asia Pacific region:
To further promote Hong Kong as a leading centre for international arbitration services in the Asia-Pacific region, the Secretary for Justice has set up an Advisory Committee on Promotion of Arbitration, comprising representatives from the DoJ and the legal, arbitration and relevant sectors in Hong Kong. Overseas arbitration experts may also be appointed from time to time to assist in the work of the Advisory Committee either generally or on specific issues.
The Inclusive Dispute Avoidance and Resolution Office (“IDAR Office”) was established on 2 January 2019 to provide support to the Secretary for Justice in planning and taking forward initiatives to enhance Hong Kong’s role as a deal making hub and a leading international legal and dispute resolution services centre.
The IDAR Office receives support from the China Law Unit of the Constitutional and Policy Affairs Division, the Arbitration Team and the Mediation Team of the Civil Division and the International Organizations and Legal Cooperation Team of the Treaties & Law Unit of the International Law Division, to enhance the overall coordination of the Department's promotional work for international legal and dispute resolution services.
The IDAR Office organises, supports and encourages a variety of major and international events and capacity building programmes to raise the international profile of Hong Kong, including the annual “Hong Kong Arbitration Week”. For more details about the past and upcoming key legal and dispute resolution events in Hong Kong, please visit the Legal Hub’s website.
Further information about arbitration in Hong Kong may be obtained from:
Department of Justice
6th Floor, Main Wing, Justice Place, 18 Lower Albert Road, Central, Hong Kong
|Tel:||(852) 3918 4455|
|Fax:||(852) 3918 4521|
Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre
38/F Two Exchange Square, 8 Connaught Place, Hong Kong
|Tel:||(852) 2525 2381|
|Fax:||(852) 2524 2171|