The Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre ("HKIAC") has received five applications for interim measures since the Arrangement Concerning Mutual Assistance in Court-ordered Interim Measures in Aid of Arbitral Proceedings by the Courts of the Mainland and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (the "Arrangement") came into force on 1 October 2019.
All five applications were made in ongoing arbitrations seated in Hong Kong and administered by HKIAC under its Administered Arbitration Rules. In each of these cases, the applicant sought an ex parte order from the relevant Mainland Chinese court to preserve assets on the Mainland. In each case, HKIAC issued a letter to confirm acceptance of the case and to transfer the application to the relevant Mainland court and the applicant then submitted its application together with HKIAC's letter to the relevant court directly pursuant to the Interpretation and Application of the Arrangement dated 26 September 2019.
Out of the five applications, one was granted by the Shanghai Maritime Court on 8 October 2019. In that case, the application was submitted to HKIAC on 1 October 2019 and HKIAC issued its letter on 2 October 2019. The other four applications remain pending.
In order to issue a letter to facilitate an application under the Arrangement, HKIAC requires the applicant to provide the following information and documents:
- a request for a letter from HKIAC under the Arrangement;
- a copy of the application to the relevant Mainland court and its supporting materials; and
- any other documents required by HKIAC.
HKIAC does not charge a fee for issuing a letter listed at item 1 above in an HKIAC-administered arbitration seated in Hong Kong. HKIAC intends to publish further guidance regarding the procedure for assisting a party in submitting an application under the Arrangement.
Teresa Cheng, GBS, SC, JP, Secretary for Justice of Hong Kong, comments that "I am pleased to see that parties to HKIAC administered arbitrations in Hong Kong are quick to take advantage of the Arrangement to seek assistance from the Mainland courts and how efficient the process has been. The successful implementation of the Arrangement requires efforts of the courts, qualified arbitral institutions and parties. I am hopeful that the Arrangement will continue to work well."
Sarah Grimmer, Secretary-General of HKIAC, comments that, "we have seen the positive impact of the Arrangement immediately with five applications within the first ten days of the Arrangement coming into force, one of which has already resulted in the granting of the order sought. The importance of this development cannot be overstated."