Hong Kong arbitration will be aided by Mainland Court’s interim measures

On 2 April 2019, Hong Kong becomes 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 (including property preservation, evidence preservation and conduct preservation).

Under current Arbitration Ordinance, parties to arbitral proceedings in any place may apply to the courts of Hong Kong for interim measures. After the commencement of the arrangement, parties to arbitral proceedings in Hong Kong, before the arbitral award is made, can make an application for interim measure to the Mainland courts (clause 3 of the arrangement).

According to the Arrangement, Arbitral proceedings in Hong Kong refers to arbitral proceedings seated in Hong Kong and administered by eligible arbitral institutions which have been designated. As such, it appears that the arrangement does not cover ad hoc arbitration in Hong Kong.

The implementation of the arrangement will no doubt add to the attractiveness of arbitration administered by Hong Kong arbitral institution; provide competitive edge to Hong Kong as a dispute resolution hub for Asia Pacific; and strengthen its position as a Belt and Road Initiative disputes resolution centre.

The commencement date of the arrangement will be decided after the promulgation of a judicial interpretation by the Supreme People’s Court and completion of relevant procedures in Hong Kong.

Please see attachment for full version of Arrangement Concerning Mutual Assistance in Court-ordered Interim Measures in Aid of Arbitral Proceedings by the Courts of the Mainland and of the HKSAR.