China: Mark Your Calendar: The Interim Measures Arrangement Between Mainland China And Hong Kong Comes Into Effect On 1 October 2019

Last Updated: 10 October 2019
Article by James Kwan and James Ng

According to an announcement made on the People's Court Daily, the Arrangement Concerning Mutual Assistance in Court-ordered Interim Measures in Aid of Arbitral Proceedings by the Courts of the Mainland and of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region ("Arrangement") will come into effect on 1 October 2019, coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China ("PRC"), in both Mainland China and Hong Kong. An English translation of the Arrangement can be accessed here.

The Arrangement is the first legal instrument entered into between Mainland China and a foreign jurisdiction concerning interim measures in aid of arbitration. Notably, the Arrangement will retrospectively apply to all arbitral proceedings commenced prior to 1 October 2019 that have not been concluded by that date (but the application must be made on or after that date). The Arrangement, however, will not apply to interim measures sought after an award is rendered and before its enforcement before a national court.

This is a significant and welcoming development for all users of arbitration, as there was no legislative underpinning for Chinese courts to grant interim measures in aid of a foreign arbitration. Although the Arrangement provides for bilateral court assistance in Hong Kong and Mainland China, the spotlight will be on assistance rendered by the PRC courts for Hong Kong seated arbitrations. Hong Kong courts already grant interim measures in aid of a foreign arbitration, including those seated in Mainland China. Given that interim measures from the Chinese courts is only possible for Hong Kong seated arbitrations, it is clear that Hong Kong's popularity as an arbitral seat will gain further momentum as a result of this positive development.

Background to the Arrangement

The background to the Arrangement has been set out in our previous publication titled "A game changer: Hong Kong and China agree milestone arrangement for interim measures in arbitration", which can be accessed here.

By way of a short recap, the Arrangement allows a party in a Hong Kong seated arbitration to seek the PRC courts' assistance to grant interim measures, and vice versa. This can be done at any time before the arbitral award is rendered. Previously, the PRC courts had refused to grant interim measures in aid of a foreign arbitration (including Hong Kong), which was problematic for parties to an offshore arbitration since there is a lack of recourse if (for instance) the counter party dissipates its Chinese assets. This problem was exacerbated by the fact that interim measures granted by a foreign arbitral tribunal – even if in the form of an arbitral award – would not be recognized and enforced by the PRC courts since it would not be considered as a final award for the purposes of the New York Convention.

With the advent of the Arrangement, there is now statutory underpinning that parties may rely on to obtain interim measures in aid of a Hong Kong arbitration from the PRC courts, subject – of course – to the requirements that must be met under the Arrangement.

Requirements to obtain interim measures under the Arrangement

Interim measures from the PRC courts under the Arrangement can only be sought by parties to a Hong Kong seated arbitration. Further, such arbitration must be administered within the ambit of three distinct categories, namely by:

  1. Arbitral institutions established or headquartered in Hong Kong, with their principal place of management located in Hong Kong; or
  2. Dispute resolution institutions or permanent offices set up in Hong Kong by international intergovernmental organisations of which the PRC is a member; or
  3. Dispute resolution institutions or permanent offices set up in Hong Kong by other arbitral institutions which satisfy the relevant criteria set by the Hong Kong Government ("Government").

The list of dispute resolution institutions or permanent offices shall be approved by the Government in the first instance, to be finally confirmed by the PRC Supreme People's Court ("SPC"). The main consideration for this formal process is that as opposed to the recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards, interim measures have the inherent risks of being abused by an applicant and causing harm to a respondent, meaning a more serious approach should be adopted.

As far as the definition of "interim measures" is concerned, in the case of the Mainland China, it includes preservation measures in property and evidence. In the case of Hong Kong, the concept of interim measures is different and includes injunctions for the purpose of maintaining or restoring the status quo pending determination of the dispute; taking action that would prevent action that is likely to cause harm to or prejudice the arbitral proceedings; preserving assets; or preserving evidence that may be relevant and material to the resolution of the dispute.

The Arrangement provides detailed provisions on, inter alia, what needs to be specified in the application for interim measure, what materials need to be submitted to a People's Court of the Mainland for interim measure, etc.

Currently approved arbitral institutions and permanent offices

The Hong Kong Department of Justice ("DOJ") has announced and published a list of institutions and permanent offices that have been approved as being qualified for the purposes of Article 2(1) of the Arrangement as follows:

  1. Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre ("HKIAC");
  2. China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission Hong Kong Arbitration Center ("CIETAC" Hong Kong);
  3. International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce – Asia Office ("ICC");
  4. Hong Kong Maritime Arbitration Group ("HKMAG");
  5. South China International Arbitration Center (Hong Kong); and
  6. eBRAM International Online Dispute Resolution Centre.

This means that parties in any Hong Kong seated arbitration already commenced (or to be commenced) and administered by one of these institutions or permanent offices can take advantage of the Arrangement by seeking interim measures from the PRC courts after 1 October 2019.

As we have noted in our previous publication, the requirement for an institution to be centrally managed or headquartered in Hong Kong may now see a range of additional institutions vying to set up shop in Hong Kong, provided they can meet the criteria established by the Government.


The Arrangement is truly a game changer for Hong Kong seated arbitrations. Whereas the Hong Kong courts allowed parties to a PRC-seated arbitration to seek interim measures, this was not reciprocated by the PRC courts for Hong Kong seated arbitrations. Once the Arrangement comes into effect, parties to cross border transactions with a Chinese element will have a strong incentive to consider Hong Kong as the seat of arbitration, in order to take advantage of the protections offered by the Arrangement. Further, any arbitration already commenced before 1 October 2019 will be able to utilize the Arrangement in appropriate cases, as long as they have not been completed by this date.

In terms of the Arrangement's future implications:

  • Hong Kong's position as an arbitral seat will obviously be strengthened.
  • There will also be a strong incentive to have an administered arbitration, in particular by referring to one of the institutions1 above already approved by the Government and the SPC. In this regard, parties should consider their choice of institutions carefully, given that each institution will have its own rules resulting in different procedures (and costs) being applicable in an arbitration.

The Arrangement clearly shows that Mainland China places great value in Hong Kong as an internationally recognized juridical seat under the context of "One Country, Two Systems", and upholds Hong Kong's status as a preferred arbitral seat as well as a one-stop-shop to resolve disputes.


1 Some institutions already enjoy a distinct advantage. For example, the HKIAC has a commendable track record of successful enforcement of arbitral awards in Mainland China: we understand from the HKIAC that since 1999, only three of their awards were refused enforcement in Mainland China.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions