The Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre has issued statistics for 2020. The number, value and nature of the arbitrations handled in 2020 underline Hong Kong’s continuing and growing importance as an international dispute resolution jurisdiction.
In 2020, HKIAC received 318 arbitration filings. This is the highest number received in over a decade. Of the 318 filings, 203 were arbitrations administered by HKIAC which represents an increase of ca. 20% over 2019.
The total amount in dispute was HK$68.8 billion (approximately US$8.8 billion) – a record high since HKIAC began to publish such information in 2011.
Arbitrations filed in 2020 continued to be predominantly international featuring parties from 45 jurisdictions. 72% of all arbitrations and 86% of administered arbitrations were international. The vast majority of the arbitrations were seated in Hong Kong.
The geographical origins or nationalities of the parties extended across 45 different jurisdictions. The top five geographical origins or nationalities were Hong Kong, Mainland China, the British Virgin Islands, the United States and the Cayman Islands.
Disputes were subject to 12 different governing laws. Hong Kong law remains the most commonly selected governing law, followed by English, Chinese, California and New York laws.
The types of cases administered by the HKIAC remain diverse, with the top three types of cases being international trade or sale of goods (27%), maritime (18.6%) and corporate (18.3%).
HKIAC saw greater diversity in its appointments of arbitrators in 2020. Of the 149 appointments made by HKIAC, 23% were of female arbitrators (20.5% in 2019) and 50% were of arbitrators not previously appointed by HKIAC over the last three years (40% in 2019).
HKIAC’s other services also proved to be popular in 2020. HKIAC’s legal staff received 18 tribunal secretary appointments, which is more than the number received in any preceding year since HKIAC introduced the tribunal secretary service in 2014. In 2020, HKIAC hosted 117 hearings, of which 80 were fully or partially virtual hearings (two of which were supported by HKIAC’s Shanghai office) and 37 were in-person hearings taking place at HKIAC’s premises in Hong Kong.
Case With PRC Elements
Since the entry into force of “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” in 1 October 2019, the Arrangement has motivated parties to choose Hong Kong as the seat and HKIAC as the institution for disputes with Chinese elements.
To date, HKIAC has processed 37 applications made to the Mainland Chinese courts for interim measures. The key findings include the following:
- 34 applications were made for preservation of assets. Two were for preservation of evidence and one was for preservation of conduct.
- The total value of assets sought to be preserved across all applications was RMB 12.5 billion or approximately USD 1.9 billion.
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