The Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre has revised its
arbitration rules. A party can now request an emergency arbitrator
to be appointed and ask for joinder and consolidation. The new
rules also extend the scope for expedited proceedings.
The new HKIAC Rules represent best practices in
international arbitration. The HKIAC's aim is to update its
rules and streamline its procedures, rather than to make major
revisions. Most of the novel elements contained in the new HKIAC
Rules – such as the provisions on emergency relief, joinder
and consolidation – apply only to arbitrations commenced on
the basis of arbitration agreements concluded after 1 November
2013. The remainder of the new HKIAC Rules applies to all
arbitrations commenced on or after 1 November 2013.
Highlights of the new HKIAC Rules include:
Similar to other major arbitral institutions such as the
International Chamber of Commerce and the Singapore International
Arbitration Centre, the HKIAC has introduced a new procedure for
the appointment of an emergency arbitrator to deal with
applications for urgent interim relief before an arbitral tribunal
is constituted. An emergency arbitrator will be appointed within
two days following the acceptance by the HKIAC of the application
for that appointment. Once appointed, the emergency arbitrator will
render a decision within 15 days from the date on which the
emergency arbitrator received the file from the HKIAC.
The new HKIAC Rules contain specific procedures for joining
parties to a pending arbitration. At a party's request,
additional parties can now be joined to existing arbitral
proceedings, provided there is at least one arbitration agreement
that binds all parties under the new HKIAC Rules. The arbitral
tribunal will decide on the issue of joinder after consulting with
the parties. If a party requests the joinder of one or more
additional parties prior to the arbitral tribunal being
constituted, the new HKIAC Rules authorise the HKIAC to decide on
this request on a prima facie basis.
The new HKIAC Rules authorise the HKIAC to consolidate two or
more pending arbitral proceedings where all parties so agree, but
also where all claims are raised under the same arbitration
agreement, or where the arbitral proceedings that are to be
consolidated give rise to a common question of law or fact and
where the arbitration agreements are compatible.
Improvements in expedited proceedings
The new HKIAC Rules broaden the circumstances in which parties
may request that their dispute be arbitrated on an expedited basis.
The applicable monetary threshold for expedited proceedings is now
raised to HKD 25 million (approximately EUR 2.4 million) and
parties may apply for expedited proceedings when both parties agree
to it or in situations of exceptional urgency.
Terms and conditions
The new HKIAC Rules introduce two new features for arbitrator
appointment: a fee cap for the agreed hourly rate scheme and
standard terms of appointment of arbitrators. These two features
are intended to facilitate negotiations between parties and
arbitrators, leading to substantive proceedings starting more
The HKIAC is the latest arbitration institute to revise its
rules to include procedures for appointing emergency arbitrators.
These emergency procedures allow parties to seek interim measures
prior to the appointment of a tribunal without having to resort to
the national courts. The new joinder and consolidation provisions
will enable streamlining an increasing number of disputes that
involve multiple parties with related claims.
The new HKIAC Rules accord with best practices in international
arbitration and are bound to further solidify Hong Kong's
position as one of the premier venues for international arbitration
in Asia and beyond.
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.
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The claim followed the conclusion of two years of litigation (ORD 12/0035 & ORD 12/0034) between the parties in respect of the Bank's contractual claim for amounts owed by TSEL to the Bank pursuant to certain business loans.
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