Hong Kong: CIETAC Publishes New Arbitration Rules

Last Updated: 16 December 2014

In the aftermath of the "split" with the Shanghai and Shenzhen sub-commissions1 of the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission ("CIETAC") resulting from the 2012 revision to the CIETAC arbitration rules,2 CIETAC has unveiled a new set of arbitration rules, which will come into force on January 1, 2015 ("2015 Rules").

The key changes introduced by the 2015 Rules include:  

  • The appointment of emergency arbitrators;
  • Joinder and consolidation of arbitrations; and
  • Provisions to cover arbitrations administered by the CIETAC Hong Kong Arbitration Center.

The 2015 Rules also attempt to address the confusion that has surrounded the "split" with CIETAC's former Shanghai and Shenzhen sub-commissions.

Emergency Arbitrator (Article 23 and Appendix III)

Consistent with similar provisions introduced recently by the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre ("HKIAC") as well as other international arbitral institutions, a new emergency arbitration procedure has been added by CIETAC. Article 23 allows parties to appoint and apply to an emergency arbitrator for urgent interim relief prior to the establishment of the arbitral tribunal in accordance with the procedures set out in Appendix III of the 2015 Rules. The powers of the emergency arbitrator will come to an end as soon as the arbitral tribunal is constituted. Parties are entitled to apply to any competent court for interim relief concurrently.

The procedure can be invoked either by agreement of the parties or the law of the arbitral seat. While the Arbitration Ordinance of Hong Kong permits emergency arbitrators, the Arbitration Law of China does not provide any such mechanism and only the Chinese courts are empowered to grant interim relief. Hence, it is expected that these provisions will primarily apply to arbitrations administered by the CIETAC Hong Kong Arbitration Center. Pursuant to the Arbitration Ordinance of Hong Kong, any interim relief granted by an emergency arbitrator, whether inside or outside Hong Kong, is enforceable in Hong Kong in the same manner as an order or judgment of the court.

Use of Single Arbitration for Multiple Contracts (Article 14)

Article 14 of the 2015 Rules permits parties to commence a single arbitration concerning disputes arising out of multiple contracts. This provision is particularly useful for parties who have entered into related contracts governing a single transaction. This mechanism can be initiated where all of the following conditions are present: (i) such contracts consist of a principal contract and its ancillary contracts or such contracts involve the same parties as well as legal relationships of the same nature; (ii) the disputes arise out of the same transaction or the same series of transactions; and (iii) the relevant arbitration agreements are identical or compatible.

Joinder of Third Parties (Article 18)

Article 18 of the 2015 Rules allows third parties to be joined to an existing arbitration at any stage of the proceedings. Any party may request the joinder of a third party to the arbitration if the third party is prima facie bound by the same arbitration agreement on which the arbitral proceedings are founded. CIETAC will make a decision upon hearing from all parties and the party to be joined to the proceedings.

Compulsory Consolidation of Proceedings (Article 19)

Consolidation of arbitrations was first introduced by CIETAC in its 2012 rules. Article 19 of the 2015 Rules takes the process further by allowing a party the unprecedented right to request the consolidation of parallel arbitration proceedings even in the absence of consent from all the other parties. In other words, the agreement of all the parties (as introduced in the 2012 rules) is no longer necessary for consolidating multiple proceedings. As well as by the agreement of all parties, proceedings now can be consolidated by CIETAC at the request of any party if the claims in these arbitrations (i) share the same arbitration agreement; (ii) are made under multiple arbitration agreements that are identical or compatible and the arbitrations involve the same parties and the legal relationships are of the same nature; or (iii) are made under multiple arbitration agreements that are identical or compatible, and the multiple contracts involved consist of a principal contract and its ancillary contracts.

Increased Threshold of Summary Procedure (Article 56)

Article 56 expands the threshold for invoking the summary arbitration procedure from Renminbi ("RMB") 2 million to RMB 5 million. Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, the summary procedure will apply to disputes where the amounts in dispute fall below this threshold. Parties may also consent to adopt the summary procedure to govern their arbitrations when the amount in dispute is above this threshold.

Establishment of the Arbitration Court (Article 2)

A new Arbitration Court has been set up in Beijing to take over the case administration role from CIETAC's secretariat. Article 2 also clarifies the structure of CIETAC by setting out its various arbitration centers (e.g., the CIETAC Hong Kong Arbitration Center) and sub-commissions in Appendix I. In an attempt to clear up any confusion caused by the 2012 "split" when its former Shanghai and Shenzhen sub-commissions declared their independence, Article 2(6) confirms that CIETAC Beijing shall administer the proceeding where an arbitration agreement is ambiguous or where "the sub-commission/arbitration center agreed upon by the parties does not exist or its authorization has been terminated" (i.e., the former Shanghai or Shenzhen sub-commissions).

Special Provisions for Hong Kong Arbitration (Articles 73 to 80 in Chapter VI)

CIETAC established its Hong Kong Arbitration Center in September 2012, after the publication of the 2012 rules and accordingly the 2015 Rules introduce a new chapter devoted to CIETAC arbitration proceedings in Hong Kong. According to Article 74 of the 2015 Rules, unless otherwise agreed by the parties, the seat of arbitration shall be Hong Kong, the law of the arbitration shall be the Arbitration Ordinance of Hong Kong, and the arbitral award shall be a Hong Kong award.

In addition, the parties are free to nominate arbitrators who are not listed on CIETAC's panel lists without the consent of the other parties under Article 76. The implication is that CIETAC Hong Kong awards will be regarded as a foreign award and enforceable in China in accordance with the reciprocal enforcement arrangement that exists between Mainland China and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China. Special provisions allowing the parties to an arbitration in Hong Kong to appoint an emergency arbitrator for interim relief orders and a different fee scale are provided for in Articles 77 and 79, respectively. The Hong Kong fee scale is particularly significant because CIETAC arbitrators are typically paid less than those in arbitrations before other international arbitration institutions and this has led to a perception that the pool of arbitrators was reduced because of the lack of competitive fees. The improved fee scale should increase the attractiveness of the CIETAC Hong Kong Arbitration Center to international arbitrators.

Other significant amendments of the 2015 Rules include:  

  • Parties may now serve documents by way of notary public under Article 8;
  • The presiding arbitrator has discretion to decide on procedural matters alone under Article 35;
  • A stenographer may be engaged to make a stenographic record of an oral hearing under Article 40; and
  • The compensation of arbitrators may be increased under special circumstances according to Appendix III and Article 82.


CIETAC, haunted by its experiences in 2012, is clearly striving to remain the world's busiest and China's most appealing arbitral body for both foreign and domestic disputes. The 2015 Rules are designed to streamline its procedural framework, provide greater efficiency, and further empower the parties.

The 2015 Rules are another example of CIETAC's determination to introduce international best practices and to demonstrate its commitment to the rule of law as advocated by the Chinese government. The effectiveness of the implementation of the 2015 Rules remains to be seen, but they should at least allow CIETAC to better accommodate the needs of parties to increasingly complex and technical international arbitrations.


1 See our Commentaries, "CIETAC Issues Announcement Suspending Shanghai and Shenzhen Sub-Commissions" (August 2012) and "CIETAC Rebranding in Shanghai and Shenzhen" (May 2013).

2 See our Commentary, "CIETAC Issues New Arbitration Rules: Interim Measures and Consolidation Among the Highlights" (April 2012).

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 Mondaq.com.

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

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Singhania & Partners LLP, Solicitors and Advocates
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
Singhania & Partners LLP, Solicitors and Advocates
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must 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

Mondaq.com (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 www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com 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