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Distinction and Connection: Hong Kong and Mainland China, a View from the HKIAC

24 May 2019

Introduction

In 2020, the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC) turns 35 years old, a good time for reflection. On the occasion of the HKIAC’s 35th anniversary, this article reflects on the evolution of the Centre since its establishment in 1985. It focuses on Hong Kong’s status as the connecting jurisdiction for dispute resolution between parties from mainland China and the rest of the world. What changes has the institution observed over the years? Do Hong Kong and the HKIAC remain neutral choices for Sino–foreign disputes 23 years on from the 1997 handover? How have the Hong Kong courts dealt with arbitrations involving mainland Chinese government entities? How is Hong Kong’s distinction from and connection to mainland China relevant today and in the future?

The early years

The HKIAC was created in 1985 as a result of efforts of the local and international business and legal communities. At the time, the city was establishing itself as an international financial centre, mainland China was opening up and cross-border transactions were flourishing with the growth of Asian economies. [1] Within Hong Kong itself, mega infrastructure projects were underway including construction of the cross-harbour tunnels and the mass transit railway. The volume of disputes was growing and arbitration was considered a preferred method of resolution. For international cases, it offered the enforcement advantage; in domestic cases, it offered specialist arbitrators and a faster process than the courts. With the support of the Hong Kong government and the legal and business communities, the HKIAC was established.

All arbitral institutions are the repositories of vast amounts of information. Institutional caseloads provide a glimpse into broader commercial trends and cycles – what deals have been struck and how they have come undone. Since 1985, the HKIAC has provided administrative support in over 10,000 cases. How has its caseload evolved and what trends has it seen?

In its first five years, the HKIAC typically serviced up to 50 arbitrations annually. By the early 1990s, that had doubled and by the mid-1990s the HKIAC was providing support in up to 200 matters a year. Early on, the HKIAC’s larger cases were predominantly Hong Kong-based construction matters, although numerically it had a high proportion of shipping, commodity and general trade disputes which were almost entirely international. All cases were ad hoc arbitrations, which meant the HKIAC’s involvement was variable, ranging from appointing authority services to other support (such as fundholding). In 1986, the HKIAC issued procedures to govern its role in cases under the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules (the UNCITRAL Procedures). Over the years it has issued various other rules largely inspired by the UNCITRAL set, as well as administered arbitration rules (2008, 2013, 2018) featuring more occasions for decisions to be taken by the institution. In 1997, the HKIAC was entrusted with appointing authority powers under the Hong Kong Arbitration Ordinance (then Cap 341). Such a devolution of powers from the courts to a specialist institution is found only in a handful of national arbitration laws. [2] This led to increased cases, particularly in later years. From early on, the HKIAC’s caseload included an important number of Sino–foreign disputes.

The contemporary HKIAC

The HKIAC’s caseload has evolved. In addition to construction, maritime, commodity and general international trade and commercial matters, the HKIAC administers an increasing number of high-value disputes arising out of various corporate ventures, mergers and acquisitions, and banking and financial arrangements. In 2018, the amount in dispute in such cases was US$4.9 billion. Most of those cases included at least one party incorporated in mainland China or the Cayman or British Virgin Islands, the latter of which often involved Chinese interests in the corporate structure.

Another evolution is that now the HKIAC counts more cases under its administered arbitration rules or the UNCITRAL Procedures (55 per cent in 2018) than it does ad hoc proceedings. That shift happened in 2017. The origin lies in the promulgation by the HKIAC of the 2013 Administered Arbitration Rules (the 2013 Rules). They contain a suite of provisions for multi-party, multi-contract situations (which in 2018 constituted one-third of all cases). In addition to appointing authority work (including determining challenges and appointing emergency arbitrators), the 2013 Rules mandate the HKIAC to decide whether to grant expedited proceedings, consolidate cases, or join additional parties. The Proceedings Committee – a specialist body comprised of international arbitration specialists – was created to determine (inter alia) such issues under the 2013 Rules and has been doing so now for more than six years. In 2018, the HKIAC issued the 2018 Administered Arbitration Rules, which expand upon the multi-contract, multi-party provisions of the 2013 Rules [3] and introduce new tools for parties and tribunals. [4]

Mainland Chinese parties remain one of the most frequent users of HKIAC arbitration. In 2018, 35.5 per cent of cases involved at least one mainland Chinese party. Also, in any given year at the HKIAC, 7 to 15 per cent of the mainland Chinese parties are Chinese state-owned entities. Since 2015, approximately 20 per cent of cases have been conducted in Chinese only or in Chinese and English, and Chinese law is the third-most frequently designated governing law after Hong Kong law and English law. The significance of Chinese elements in Sino–foreign cases, whether in the form of language or governing law, reflects the bargaining power enjoyed by Chinese parties in international deals and aligns with the general narrative around projects concluded under China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

Since its announcement in September 2013 by President Xi, the Belt and Road Initiative is now well into its implementation phase and disputes under it have arisen. HKIAC currently administers Belt and Road disputes. [5] The Belt and Road Initiative is significant to Hong Kong’s future as a dispute resolution venue. Financing of Belt and Road projects (often infrastructure projects in emerging jurisdictions) comes from, albeit not exclusively, Chinese sources: particularly Chinese state-owned enterprises, Chinese policy banks and Chinese-backed sovereign wealth funds. The Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank – a multilateral development bank led by and in which China holds the largest shareholding – also finances projects linked to the Belt and Road Initiative, although that is not its mandate per se. Given the provenance of financing, it is unsurprising that the Chinese party to a Belt and Road deal holds strong bargaining power. This has led some commentators to ask whether, rather than an international option, foreign counter-parties will be forced to opt for Chinese courts or mainland Chinese arbitral commissions; options that many foreign counter parties are reluctant to accept in Belt and Road deals or otherwise. This is where Hong Kong’s distinction from but connection to mainland China in terms of dispute resolution is critical.

Hong Kong’s distinction from and connection to mainland China

Arbitration in mainland China differs significantly from arbitration in Hong Kong. For example, under Chinese arbitration legislation, ad hoc arbitration with a seat in mainland China is generally not permitted (except arguably between companies incorporated in a pilot free-trade-zone). [6] Arbitration in mainland China must be administered by a mainland Chinese arbitral commission; it cannot be administered by an international or ‘foreign’ arbitral institution (such as HKIAC) except where the parties are wholly-foreign owned entities incorporated in a pilot free-trade-zone. [7] The principle of competence-competence is not adopted by Chinese arbitration law; if a party raises jurisdictional objections to a Chinese court, the court will generally consider itself competent to make the determination and stay the arbitration while doing so. [8] In mainland China, parties may not seek interim measures from an arbitral tribunal; they may only seek them from a Chinese court. [9] If an arbitration has been commenced, the parties cannot submit their application to the court directly but must submit it via the arbitral commission administering the case. [10] In addition, emergency arbitration is not recognised under Chinese arbitration law, although some commissions have included it in their rules. [11] Chinese law is silent on the issue of security for costs and there is no reported case of a tribunal seated in China having granted it. [12] There is also no legal basis for a Chinese court to enforce interim measures issued by a foreign arbitral tribunal or court. With two exceptions there is also no basis for a Chinese court to issue interim measures in support of foreign arbitration. [13] The first exception applies to foreign maritime arbitration since 2003. The second exception derives from a bilateral arrangement concluded in 2019 between mainland China and Hong Kong under which (inter alia) Chinese courts may issue interim relief in support of institutional arbitration seated in Hong Kong. This constitutes a significant new development for Hong Kong and is discussed in more detail at the end of this section.

By contrast, Hong Kong’s arbitration legislation enshrines the principle of competence-competence and the paramountcy of party autonomy. Ad hoc and institutional arbitration are common in Hong Kong. In 2011, Hong Kong became the first major Asian jurisdiction to enact the 2006 version of the UNCITRAL Model Law. In Hong Kong, interim relief in arbitration is available from the arbitral tribunal, an emergency arbitrator, or the courts. Interim measures issued by a tribunal are enforceable as if they were an order or direction of the Hong Kong courts. Hong Kong’s legislation supports security for costs and emergency arbitration. Hong Kong courts are expressly empowered to grant interim measures in support of arbitral proceedings seated outside of Hong Kong and case-law demonstrates the courts’ willingness to do so, including in respect of proceedings on the mainland. In Chen Hongqing v Jingtian & Others, dated 27 June 2017, Justice Mimmie Chan ordered interim relief in support of China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission arbitration proceedings through the appointment of receivers to exercise voting rights over shares in a Hong Kong holding company. [14] Hong Kong courts may enforce foreign-seated interim measures. In 2018, the Hong Kong courts enforced an award issued by an emergency arbitrator in a case administered by the Beijing Arbitration Commission between two Hong Kong companies, a Cayman Islands asset management company and its controlling shareholder – a mainland Chinese citizen. [15]

Just as its distinction from mainland China is important for Hong Kong’s dispute resolution role, so too is its connection to mainland China. Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China with a high degree of autonomy and a separate legal system. Mainland Chinese parties accept arbitration in Hong Kong and frequently agree to it in foreign transactions. The Chinese government recognises Hong Kong as an international legal and dispute resolution centre, particularly in the context of the Belt and Road Initiative and the Greater Bay Area. [16] The Hong Kong courts operate in both English and Chinese and Hong Kong legislation is enacted in both languages. The city boasts a large pool of bilingual professionals. Over 30 mainland Chinese law firms have branches in Hong Kong and many mainland Chinese counsel and arbitrators are experienced in Hong Kong arbitral proceedings. Travel between the two jurisdictions is fast, now faster thanks to a high-speed railway linking Hong Kong to the mainland grid and a 55-kilometre bridge-tunnel system – the longest in the world – connecting Hong Kong to the southern Chinese city of Zuhai via Macau.

For foreign parties, Hong Kong is an important choice for effective enforcement of awards in mainland China. Hong Kong awards enjoy an excellent record of enforcement in the mainland under the Arrangement Concerning Mutual Enforcement of Arbitral Awards between the Mainland and Hong Kong (the Arrangement), which took effect in 2000. The grounds for refusing enforcement of Hong Kong awards under the Arrangement are the same as those set out in article V of the New York Convention. While there is a general perception that enforcement of awards under the New York Convention by Chinese courts has improved in recent years as a result of the reporting system, parties still experience difficulties (the reporting system requires the approval of the Supreme People’s Court for any lower court’s decision to refuse enforcement of a foreign or foreign-related award. It has helped to standardise the implementation of the New York Convention but is not an entirely transparent process; parties may not know whether their award has been ‘reported up’ or how long the process may take and there is no opportunity for a party to make submissions as the case progresses).

Given the continued challenges in enforcing in mainland China, parties also look to other jurisdictions where enforcement may be possible. Many mainland Chinese parties – including Chinese state-owned enterprises – have assets in Hong Kong. Counterparties that seek enforcement in Hong Kong can rest assured that their awards will be enforced as a matter of course by the Hong Kong courts, barring egregious circumstances. [17] Hong Kong courts are strict when it comes to respecting arbitral agreements and enforcing arbitral awards. In a 2015 judgment of the Hong Kong Court of First Instance, Justice Mimmie Chan listed 10 principles that form the bedrock of Hong Kong’s supportive approach to safeguarding the arbitration process and enforcing awards. [18] One of those principles is that ‘[e]nforcement of arbitral awards should be “almost a matter of administrative procedure” and the courts should be “as mechanistic as possible”.’ [19] Also, in Hong Kong, the indemnity costs rule – whereby a party that unsuccessfully challenges an arbitration agreement or award will be ordered to pay costs on an indemnity basis – is applied by default barring special circumstances.

Interim measures available from Chinese courts for Hong Kong institutional arbitration

As mentioned above, there has recently been an important development between the jurisdictions concerning interim measures. On 2 April 2019, the government of Hong Kong and the Supreme People’s Court of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) signed 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. Under it, any party to arbitral proceedings seated in Hong Kong and administered by a qualified Hong Kong-based dispute resolution institution (such as the HKIAC) may, before the arbitral award is issued, apply to the relevant mainland Chinese courts for interim measures in relation to the arbitral proceedings in accordance with the relevant laws and regulations of mainland China. [20] Thus, for the first time, a legal mechanism has been introduced to allow mainland Chinese courts to issue interim relief in support of an arbitration seated in a jurisdiction outside of mainland China. This only applies to Hong Kong. This makes Hong Kong a unique and important venue for parties that wish to have access to interim relief from a mainland Chinese court but do not wish to seat their arbitration in mainland China.

Is Hong Kong a neutral and independent venue for cases involving mainland Chinese parties?

The question is sometimes asked whether Hong Kong remains a neutral venue for arbitration proceedings that involve a mainland Chinese party, whether private or governmental. The short answer is yes, for reasons that follow.

First, when answering this question, one must ask which entity within the arbitration system can affect the outcome of an arbitration? Apart from the parties, the answer is the tribunal, any administering institution (to a limited extent), the supervisory courts and the courts at the place of enforcement.

As regards the tribunal, typically the parties participate in its constitution by agreeing a sole arbitrator or appointing co-arbitrators and the co-arbitrators jointly selecting the presiding arbitrator (often in some consultation with the parties). Accordingly, to a large extent the parties determine who will decide their dispute. Where agreed or necessary by default, an institution will appoint arbitrators. Arbitration rules and legislation require arbitrators to be independent and impartial and contain mechanisms under which arbitrators may be challenged if they fall short on that score. Most institutional arbitration rules (including the HKIAC’s) contain safeguards to ensure that the sole or presiding arbitrator will not share the nationality of any of the parties except where all parties agree or do not object.

As regards institutions, the scope of their decision-making in any given case is typically limited and the process well-governed. In proceedings under its auspices, the HKIAC’s role includes appointing arbitrators (including emergency arbitrators), confirming designations of arbitrators made by parties or co-arbitrators, fixing arbitrators’ fees by default, deciding challenges (via fully reasoned decisions) and determining a limited range of procedural matters (some of which were listed earlier). At the HKIAC, those decisions are made by specialist bodies comprised of diverse international dispute resolution experts upon the recommendations of an international secretariat. Those functions occur under the oversight of the HKIAC Council, itself composed of diverse international arbitration and industry specialists. The HKIAC’s decisions are made on the basis of the applicable rules with the goal of ensuring efficient proceedings and an enforceable award. Arbitral proceedings in Hong Kong, including arbitration-related court proceedings, are protected by broad confidentiality provisions in the legislation and the HKIAC’s rules. No information that may identify ongoing or concluded proceedings is available from the HKIAC.

The Hong Kong courts may affect the outcome of an arbitration in their supervisory role as the courts at the seat or as the courts at the place of enforcement. It is thus essential to understand the Hong Kong court system, which is unique. Under Hong Kong’s constitutional instrument, the Basic Law, the Hong Kong courts have powers of final adjudication except in matters of defence and foreign affairs. Its highest court – the Court of Final Appeal (CFA) – is comprised of Hong Kong judges and eminent judges from certain Commonwealth jurisdictions: the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. The most recent appointments in 2017 to the CFA were Baroness Brenda Hale, President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom and Beverley McLachlin, former Chief Justice of Canada. International commercial courts have emulated the approach that has long-been Hong Kong’s norm by populating their benches with leading international jurists. In Hong Kong’s lower courts, arbitration matters are referred to the construction and arbitration list, which as of writing is headed by an arbitration specialist (former partner of a global law firm), originally from Brunei, Justice Mimmie Chan.

When the Hong Kong courts have been asked to enforce awards against Chinese government entities, they have done so. There exist two important judgments relevant to this point: first, Hua Tian Long, [21] a case decided in 2010 by then-Justice William Stone QC, in respect of an order to execute an award against the assets of a mainland Chinese public authority operating under the direct control of the Chinese Ministry of Communications. The public authority claimed that it was immune from execution by virtue of the doctrine of crown immunity. Justice Stone ordered the execution of the award. He found that, while the public authority was entitled in principle to invoke crown immunity, on the facts, it had waived the defence. [22] That a Chinese state organ can claim crown immunity in Hong Kong is a function of Hong Kong’s constitutional status as a special administrative region of China and the transfer of the status of ‘crown’ from the British government to the Chinese Central People’s Government (CPG) in 1997. The doctrine of crown immunity is found, and typically codified, in many common law jurisdictions.

The second case, TNB Fuel Services SDN BHD v China National Coal Group Corporation [23] was decided in 2017. There, the Hong Kong Court of First Instance (HKCFI) ordered the execution of an award against the assets of a mainland Chinese state-owned enterprise (SOE) controlled by the State Asset Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) of the CPG. [24] The Secretary for Justice of Hong Kong obtained and submitted to the HKCFI a letter from the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of the State Council of the CPG indicating that SOEs are independent legal entities carrying out activities on their own with no special status or interests superior to other enterprises and that they should not be considered to be part of the CPG save for in ‘extremely extraordinary circumstances’ where they were acting on behalf of the state. Justice Mimmie Chan declined the SOE’s claim of crown immunity, finding that it enjoyed operational autonomy and extensive independence in carrying out its business and that the powers of SASAC were akin to those of a normal shareholder. These two judgments clarify the tests applied by the Hong Kong courts to claims of crown immunity by Chinese state entities. The second case provides a strong indication that commercially active, operationally independent SOEs under SASAC supervision – of which there are more than one hundred and some of which are active in the Belt and Road Initiative – are unlikely to be entitled to crown immunity against execution of awards in Hong Kong.

New developments in investment arbitration and mediation in Hong Kong and at HKIAC

In Hong Kong and at the HKIAC, business continues and evolves in new and important directions. In 2018, the HKIAC was requested to administer two arbitrations arising under investment treaties, one seated in Hong Kong, the other elsewhere. In both cases, the investor and respondent state agreed to HKIAC administration under the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules. As already mentioned, the HKIAC has administered UNCITRAL Rules arbitrations since the mid-1980s. The procedural rules it designed to govern its administration of such cases in 1986 were updated in 2015. The HKIAC’s most recent administered arbitration rules may also be adopted for investment treaty arbitrations.

The HKIAC has built a staff of international commercial and investment treaty arbitration specialists. They have worked at the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes and top tier international law firms active in investment treaty arbitration representing both investors and states. HKIAC Council and Standing Committee members frequently appear as counsel or serve as arbitrators in investment treaty arbitrations. HKIAC staff are available to serve as tribunal secretaries, a service commonly used in investor-state arbitration. In 2018, the number of appointments of HKIAC tribunal secretaries more than doubled compared to the total of any previous year. In 2016, the HKIAC released an initiative under which its hearing facilities on the 38th floor of a central Hong Kong building (with stunning views over Victoria Harbour) are provided to parties free-of-charge where they agree to any administrative support from HKIAC and the case involves a state listed on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee list. Of the states along the Belt and Road, 70 per cent are eligible for this initiative. One case has been covered by this offering; it involved the contractual claim in a dispute that was first aired in an ICSID proceeding.

Hong Kong continues to conclude investment promotion and protection agreements (IPPAs) with foreign states, as it is empowered to do under article 151 of the Basic Law. Currently, 25 such agreements are in force with an additional six having been successfully negotiated and awaiting signature.

There have also recently been developments in respect of investment relations between mainland China and Hong Kong. On 28 June 2017, the two territories updated their Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement with an investment agreement (the Agreement) to promote and facilitate investments by mainland Chinese and Hong Kong investors within their reciprocal territories. It provides for, among other things, substantive obligations on both sides to protect qualified investors and covered investments, including fair and equitable treatment, full protection and security, national treatment, most-favoured treatment and lawful expropriation. The Agreement includes multiple mechanisms for settling disputes between an investor and the host government of which arbitration is not one. Rather, in addition to administrative or judicial options in each territory, an investor may submit an investment dispute to a mediation commission comprised of three individuals chosen from a list previously designated by the host government and agreed to by the other government. The HKIAC’s mediation division has been designated as one of two institutions in Hong Kong authorised to administer disputes between a mainland Chinese investor and the government of Hong Kong.

Conclusion

The HKIAC’s caseload reflects the evolving nature of international business and the growing participation in it of mainland Chinese parties. Hong Kong’s separate legal system, independent judiciary and modern arbitration legislation make it an important dispute resolution venue in the region. In addition to the high volume of Sino-foreign economic activity that flows through Hong Kong, the fact that Hong Kong’s arbitration system is both distinct from and connected to that of mainland China is key to its success. As an UNCITRAL Model Law jurisdiction, Hong Kong functions in an internationally recognised and predictable manner. Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s special arrangements with mainland China ensure the effective enforcement of awards between the two jurisdictions and the availability of interim measures from mainland Chinese courts for Hong Kong-seated HKIAC-administrated arbitration. As Sino-foreign transactions grow with the Belt and Road Initiative, the Greater Bay Area project, and more general commerce, so too does Hong Kong’s importance as a neutral, well-trusted dispute resolution venue.


Notes

[1] Michael Moser, Chiann Bao, A Guide to the HKIAC Arbitration Rules, Oxford University Press (2016), paragraph 3.04.

[2] Other jurisdictions that have devolved default appointment powers to specific institutions in their legislation include Malaysia (Director of the AIAC), Peru (Chamber of Commerce of the place of arbitration or the Lima Chamber of Commerce), Singapore (SIAC), Ukraine (President of the Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and Industry), Nigeria (Secretary General of the PCA), and Mauritius (PCA).

[3] In the 2018 Rules, the provisions for the commencement of a single arbitration under multiple contracts have been aligned with the consolidation provisions such that they no longer require that ‘all parties to the arbitration are bound by each arbitration agreement giving rise to the arbitration’ (article 29).

[4] The 2018 Rules introduce, among other things, an early determination procedure (article 43), a time limit for the issuance of awards (article 31.2), concurrent proceedings in cases involving a common question of fact or law and the same tribunal (article 30), and provisions on third-party funding.

[5] For information on the Belt and Road, visit the Chinese government’s official Belt and Road Portal website at https://eng.yidaiyilu.gov.cn  (last accessed 22 March 2019) .

[6] Article 16, PRC Arbitration Law; Opinion of the Supreme People’s Court on Providing Judicial Safeguards for the Construction of Pilot Free Trade Zones (No. 34 [2016]), paragraph 3, article 9. Also, note article 4, Judicial Interpretation of the Supreme People’s Court, 8 September 2006 which states that if the arbitration clause refers to a set of rules and the rules require the involvement of an institution, the clause may be considered valid.

[7] Opinion of the Supreme People’s Court on Providing Judicial Safeguards for the Construction of Pilot Free Trade Zones (No. 34 [2016]), paragraph 1, article 9, Siemens Int’l Trading (Shanghai) Co, Ltd v Shanghai Golden Landmark Co, Ltd.

[8] Article 20, PRC Arbitration Law; Ning Fei, Jing Liu, Sheng Chang Wang, International Arbitration 2018: China, available at https://www.globallegalinsights.com/practice-areas/international-arbitration-laws-and-regulations/china (last accessed 22 March 2019).

[9] Articles 28, 46 and 68, PRC Arbitration Law.

[10] Note that article 101 of the Civil Procedural Law allows a party to an arbitration agreement to apply directly to a mainland Chinese court for an order to preserve assets in support of an arbitration seated in China before commencing the arbitration.

[11] Appendix III to the 2015 CIETAC Rules; article 63 of the 2015 Beijing Arbitration Commission Arbitration Rules; Chapter III of the 2014 Shanghai International Arbitration Centre China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone Arbitration Rules; article 26 of the 2019 Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration Arbitration Rules.

[12] Ning Fei, Jing Liu, Sheng Chang Wang, International Arbitration 2018: China, available at https://www.globallegalinsights.com/practice-areas/international-arbitration-laws-and-regulations/china (last accessed 22 March 2019).

[13] Notwithstanding this, in 2014 a mainland Chinese court issued interim measures in support of an HKIAC arbitration in a non-maritime case: Civil Ruling regarding Guangdong Yuehua International Trade Group Co, Ltd v Sinotide Holdings Limited & Ke Junxiang, Guangzhou Intermediate People’s Court (2014) Sui Zhong Fa Min Si Chu Zi No. 42; Helen Shi, ‘Have PRC Courts Ordered Interim Relief Measures in Support of HKIAC Arbitrations without an Express Legal Basis: What Lies Ahead?’, Kluwer Arbitration Blog, 26 August 2018, available at http://arbitrationblog.kluwerarbitration.com/2018/08/26/have-prc-courts-ordered-interim-relief-measures-in-support-of-hkiac-arbitrations-without-an-express-legal-basis-what-lies-ahead/ (last accessed 22 March 2019).

[14] [2017] HKCFI 1148.

[15] Wei Sun, ‘First Emergency Arbitrator Proceeding in Mainland China: Reflections on How to Conduct an EA Proceeding from Procedural and Substantive Perspectives’, Kluwer Arbitration Blog, 1 September 2018, available at http://arbitrationblog.kluwerarbitration.com/2018/09/01/first-ea-proceeding-mainland-china-reflections-conduct-ea-proceeding-procedural-substantive-perspectives/ (last accessed 10 May 2018).

[16] The Greater Bay Area is a megalopolis consisting of nine cities and the two special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau in southern China. It has been accorded key strategic status for regional and national economic development, https://www.bayarea.gov.hk/en/about/overview.html (last accessed 22 March 2019).

[17] KB v S and others [2015] HKCFI 1787. Regarding alleged breaches of due process, the court has said that ‘the conduct complained of “must be serious, even egregious”, before the court would find that there was an error sufficiently serious so as to have undermined due process’.

[18] KB v S and others [2015] HKCFI 1787.

[19] KB v S and others [2015] HKCFI 1787.

[20] See https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/201904/02/P2019040200782.htm.

[21] (No. 2) [2010] HKLRD 611.

[22] [2010] HKLRD 611.

[23] [2017] HKCFI 1016.

[24] [2017] HKCFI 1016.

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