Hong Kong to Begin to Hear Cases for the Permanent Court of Arbitration

imgresAccording to a recent SCMP article, Hong Kong will begin to hold arbitrations for disputes involving states and private and public companies, after China and Hong Kong signed agreements with an international court.

The agreement with the Permanent Court of Arbitration means that Hong Kong could handle many of its outstanding cases involving Asian parties.

Hong Kong will become the 10th jurisdiction in the world, and the fourth in Asia to hold arbitration cases based on a PCA deal.

New empirical findings on commercial arbitration

New data on practices and trends in commercial arbitration have been recently published. They include results of an empirical survey of perceptions and practices among experienced arbitrators conducted by Professor Thomas Stipanowitch of Pepperdine University. Reflections on the State and Future of Commercial Arbitration: Challenges, Opportunities, Proposals and its companion piece, Arbitration in Evolution: Current Practices and Perspectives of Experienced Arbitrators, will soon be published in the Columbia American Review of International Arbitration.  They may now be accessed at the following SSRN links:arbitration_r11_c10

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2519084   (Reflections on the State and Future of Commercial Arbitration: Challenges, Opportunities, Proposals)

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2519196   (Arbitration in Evolution: Current Practices and Perspectives of Commercial Arbitrators).

Review of Pilot Property Mediation Scheme in Hong Kong

The results of a pilot mediation scheme for property owners affected by compulsory sale of land in Hong Kong was released yesterday.  According to the Scheme, both minority owners and majority owners involved in compulsory sale applications to the Lands Tribunal can seek mediation service under the Scheme at a fee. Elderly minority owners who pass a means test will also be eligible for financial subsidy for their share of the mediator fee under the Scheme. The details of the findings can be found hereproperty_0.height-165.

Among the findings of the study were that the Scheme has served its historical mission and is now no longer cost-effective as direct negotiations are often preferred in some cases.

A Creative Space for Resolution


imagesEvidence has found that thinking creatively and resolving disputes is enhanced by environmental factors. This understanding is clearly reflected in the design of Conflict Change Consulting‘s new office in Hong Kong.  Its founder Sala Sihombing put careful thought into the impact of “light, color and design on productivity.”  This thinking has manifested itself in a beautiful open space that it at once calming and energizing, open and welcoming.  Have a look at some of the office photos here.

New Chinese Mediation Mechanisms Discussed at AMA HK

photoDr. Liu Xiaochun, the Secretary General of the South China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (SCIA) shared his observations on new mediation developments in China.  He described 7 general mechanisms available to parties:

1. Arb-Med-Arb which allows for the use of mediation during the course of arbitration proceedings at the parties or tribunals initiative. This has been used to settle over 20% of SCIA cases from 1993-2007.  In order to address the issue of compromised arbitrator neutrality in the event of a failed mediation, the 2012 SCIA rules allow parties to decide if the mediating arbitrator should resign from the panel.  Also, all opinions expressed during the course of the mediation can not be invoked in the subsequent arbitration hearings.  The SCIA arbitration panel is comprised of 232 arbitrators from 42 jurisdictions.

2. Mediation + Arbitration – via SCIA’s specialized mediation center followed by a separate arbitration process.  At present, the mediation panel consists of 242 members.

3. Chamber of Commerce Mediation + SCIA Arbitration – this is mediation targeted primarily to foreign investor disputes.

4. Exhibition Mediation + SCIA Arbitration – this method is used to resolve IP disputes arising at the Canton Trade Fair.  Since its inception, 622 disputes were resolved through this method between 2008-2013.

5. HK Mediation + Mainland Arbitration – is what the name implies – mediation in Hong Kong and Arbitration in China.  This provides for cross border enforcement of awards.

6. 4 in 1 Model – Mediation, Arbitration, Industry Specific DR, Administrative Regulation – used primarily in disputes between securities dealers and clients.

7. Non-Tribunal Facilitated Mediation – consisting of an alliance between Guandong/HK mediation entities.


Dr. Xu noted that he sees independent mediation and independent arbitration services as the emerging trend for future dispute resolution in Mainland China.

Upcoming Summer School on Transnational Dispute Resolution in Italy

For those interested in further honing your dispute resolution skills, the Università degli Studi di Milano (Italy) and Universidade Nova de Lisboa (Portugal) are jointly organizing the 2nd edition of the Summer School on Transnational Dispute Resolution.Image

The program will take place from 16 September 2014 in the beautiful settings of Palazzo Feltrinelli at Gargnano (Brescia), on the shores of Lake of Garda (Italy) and in the city of Lisbon.   The Summer School is structured in three different modules on Mediation, International Commercial Arbitration and Transnational Litigation respectively. The first and the second modules will be held in Gargnano and the third one in Lisbon.  More information on the program can be found here.

The course will combine theoretical lessons as well as practical and interactive sessions (seminars, workshops, simulations, mock trials), all held in English.

Prospective applicants should send in your application form along with your CV in English (max 2 pages) and an introduction letter to summerschoolmedarb@unimi.it on or before Friday, 30 May 2014.

Recent Findings in Financial ADR in the East Asian Region

imgresA series of research papers examining developments in financial ADR have been recently published by Arbitration International, The Richmond Journal of Global Law and Business, The Journal of Dispute Resolution, The Pacific Rim Law and Policy Journal, The Australian Journal of Dispute Resolution, Beijing Arbitration Quarterly, the East Asian Law Review, Frontiers of Law in China and Cambridge University Press. These publications examine the relative use of arbitration or in-court litigation to resolve financial and securities claims in China, the design of Hong Kong’s Financial Dispute Resolution Center, the globalizing effects of financial dispute systems, lessons learned from a comparative examination of financial arbitration and ombuds services in the United States, Australia, the UK and Singapore, the resolution of financial disputes in the context of Australian and Canadian Civil Justice reforms, how a ‘learning orientation‘ might assist in the development of financial dispute systems, lessons from the financial crisis in China’s governance of financial disputes and suggested reforms to the US system of financial arbitration from overseas jurisdictions.

The book Consumer Financial Dispute Resolution in a Comparative Context published by Cambridge University Press, ties many of these findings together by examining how governments and self-regulatory organizations design and administer financial dispute resolution mechanisms in the context of increasingly turbulent financial markets. It presents comparative research about the development and design of these mechanisms in East Asia, North America and Europe. Using a comparative methodology and drawing on empirical findings from a multi-jurisdictional survey, the book examines the emergence of global principles that influence the design of financial dispute resolution models, considers the structural variations between the ombuds and arbitration systems and offers practical proposals for reform.

This series of research publications was funded by the Hong Kong Research Grants Council Public Policy Research Grant HKU7001-PPR-10 under the title: “Promoting Economic Integrity through Institutional Alternative Dispute Resolution: A Law and Policy Perspective.”