Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre – Ranked as Most Improved Institution

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Queen Mary University of London has recently released the findings of its sixth annual international arbitration study.  Among those findings is the HKIAC’s ranking as the most improved arbitration institution.  The top reasons given for this impressive ranking include: reputation and recognition, greater efficiency, higher level of administration (staff quality, responsiveness), and introduction of innovative new features in arbitral rules.  As a seat of international arbitration, Hong Kong also ranked as one of the most improved seats (second only to Singapore).  The study also revealed that arbitration is still the preferred dispute resolution mechanism, with enforceability of awards listed as its most valuable characteristic, and cost as the biggest detractor.

Participants indicated that the factors weighing most heavily when choosing an arbitration institution include a high level of administration at the institution (specifically, the quality of the staff, and the institution’s proactivity and responsiveness in general).  Additional factors are the neutrality/internationalism of the institution, as well as the ability to administrate arbitrations worldwide.  As mentioned above, the 4th listed improvement was introduction of innovative new features in arbitral rules.  The HKIAC won the GAR Innovation Award earlier in 2015, in recognition of its innovative achievements in including a choice of law provision in its model clauses, as well as introducing a tribunal secretary service.

Determining factors when choosing a seat include neutrality and impartiality of the local legal system, national arbitration law, a proven track record for enforcing agreements to arbitrate and arbitral awards, and availability of quality arbitrators familiar with the seat.  Hong Kong was most improved as a seat, in part due to better hearing facilities, availability of quality arbitrators familiar with the seat, better local arbitral institutions (HKIAC), and improvements to national arbitration law.   The findings indicate that once a certain threshold is reached as pertains to the seat’s legal infrastructure, convenience factors weigh heavily and can increase that seat’s appeal.

Arbitration attorneys traveling to Hong Kong (or elsewhere in Asia) for a hearing will need support such as realtime transcription, interpretation, and administrative services such as printing and shredding.  A firm which has reporters living in Hong Kong can provide these services and more, including hotel recommendations and insider tips on navigating this unique city.

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