Introduction to Arbitration in Hongkong

Arbitration has become an increasingly popular method of dispute resolution in international commerce, and Hong Kong, as a global financial hub, is no exception. With its modern legal framework, supportive judiciary, and status as a neutral venue, Hong Kong is widely recognized as one of the leading centers for arbitration in Asia and around the world.

Historical Context and Legal Framework

The history of arbitration in Hong Kong can be traced back to its colonial era, but it was the enactment of the Arbitration Ordinance in 1996 that marked a significant step in developing the territory’s modern arbitration regime. This ordinance was further revised in 2011, adopting many of the features of the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration, which is the benchmark for modern arbitration practices globally.

The 2011 Arbitration Ordinance (Cap 609) is the cornerstone of arbitration in Hong Kong, providing a comprehensive legal framework that is in line with international standards. One of the key features of this ordinance is its emphasis on party autonomy, allowing parties to tailor the arbitration process to their specific needs.

The Advantages of Arbitration in Hong Kong

Neutrality and Impartiality

As a Special Administrative Region of China, Hong Kong enjoys a high degree of autonomy, especially in its legal system, which is separate from the mainland's. This autonomy ensures that Hong Kong can offer a neutral and impartial platform for arbitration, which is particularly appealing to international parties who might be wary of potential biases in other jurisdictions.

Strategic Location and Accessibility

Hong Kong's strategic location in Asia makes it a convenient meeting point for parties from different parts of the world. Its world-class infrastructure and status as an international travel hub facilitate easy access for international parties and arbitrators.

Legal Expertise and Supportive Judiciary

Hong Kong boasts a highly skilled pool of legal professionals experienced in both common law and international legal practices. The judiciary is known for its expertise in arbitration matters and for being supportive of the arbitration process, intervening only when necessary to ensure fairness and due process.

Confidentiality

Arbitration proceedings in Hong Kong are confidential, which is often a critical consideration for commercial parties who wish to keep their disputes and the related information out of the public domain.

Enforcement of Arbitral Awards

Hong Kong is a party to the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, which means that arbitral awards made in Hong Kong are enforceable.