New Decade, New Updates
As we head into 2020 — the beginning of a new decade and the 35th anniversary of the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre ("HKIAC") — we take the opportunity to report on recent developments at HKIAC.
2019 arbitration caseload reaches record number
In 2019, HKIAC registered a record number of 308 arbitration matters involving more than 450 contracts which represents a 16% increase from 2018. Comprehensive information and statistics on HKIAC's 2019 caseload will be available on our website shortly.
Applications under the Hong Kong-Mainland China Arrangement on Interim Measures
2019 saw the entry into force of the Hong Kong-Mainland China Interim Measures Arrangement (the "Arrangement") under which any party to an arbitration administered by HKIAC and seated in Hong Kong may apply to a Mainland Chinese court for the preservation of assets, evidence or conduct.
Since the Arrangement came into force on 1 October 2019, HKIAC has processed 13 applications seeking to preserve evidence or assets worth a total of RMB 5.5 billion (approximately USD 798 million) in Mainland China. To date, court orders have been issued in respect of RMB 1.7 billion (approximately USD 244 million) worth of assets.
The Arrangement is an effective tool for protecting the interests of Mainland Chinese and foreign parties. Approximately 40% of applications in HKIAC's cases have been made by parties from Mainland China and 60% by parties from Hong Kong, Switzerland, Singapore, Samoa and the British Virgin Islands. Approximately 60% of applications concerned assets or evidence possessed by parties from Mainland China and 40% concerned assets owned by parties from Hong Kong, the Netherlands, the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands.
HKIAC has published information on its practice of processing applications under the Arrangement and has organised workshops in Hong Kong, Singapore and Mainland China on it. We will conduct a global roadshow on the Arrangement through 2020 with the next workshops to be held in Moscow (20 March 2020) and in New York (30 March 2020). If you are interested to attend or would like us to organise a similar workshop in your jurisdiction, please contact HKIAC's Events Team here.
New members of HKIAC's Council and Secretariat
HKIAC is pleased to announce the appointment to Council in December 2019 of Mr. Karl Hennessee, Senior Vice-President & Deputy General Counsel of Airbus. Mr. Hennessee has 19 years of experience as in-house counsel at Airbus and other major corporations. He has acted as an external counsel at law firms, provided government services in Germany and the United States and sat as arbitrator. Mr. Hennessee's election is an important addition to HKIAC's strong in-house counsel representation. A full list of HKIAC's Council Members is available here.
The Secretariat is also pleased to welcome Mr. Eric Ng, an American national, as Managing Counsel. Prior to joining HKIAC, Mr. Ng worked for five years as a barrister-at-law in Hong Kong focusing primarily on international commercial and construction arbitration and litigation. Mr. Ng has served as Adjunct Professor at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, lecturing in advocacy and investor-state arbitration. He has a BS from Babson College, Massachusetts, an MSc E-Commerce from the University of Hong Kong, a PCLL and JD from the City University of Hong Kong, and a BCL from Oxford University.
Precautionary measures in response to novel coronavirus infection
Considering the current novel coronavirus situation that has impacted Hong Kong as well as many other (primarily) Asian jurisdictions, HKIAC has implemented measures to ensure the safety and health of its staff and guests at its premises. More information is available here. These measures allow HKIAC to remain operational and accessible for hearings and meetings, and to continue providing case management services without interruption.
HKIAC's 35th Anniversary
HKIAC will hold a 35th Anniversary Celebration in Hong Kong on 5 May 2020 to thank those who have supported the Centre over the past three and half decades.