The HKIAC has recently published its case statistics for 2017, showing a continued healthy demand for its services. The HKIAC saw a 15.7% increase in its caseload compared to 2016, with the total amount in dispute in HKIAC arbitrations doubling since last year. The statistics demonstrate that HKIAC maintains its position as one of the world’s leading arbitral institutions, serving parties throughout Asia and beyond.
Case load and amounts in dispute
- Out of a total 532 new cases that were filed in 2017, 297 were arbitrations, 15 were mediations and 220 were domain name disputes.
- Within the 297 arbitrations commenced in 2017, 156 were administered by HKIAC under the HKIAC Administered Arbitration Rules or the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules (a 66% growth over 2016).
- The total amount in dispute in all arbitration cases was HK$39.3 billion (approximately US$5 billion), which represented a 100% increase from US$2.5 billion in 2016.
- Consistent with previous years, a large majority (73.1%) of all arbitration cases filed were international in nature, in that at least one party was from a jurisdiction other than Hong Kong. In 40.8% of the new arbitration cases, no party was from Hong Kong, and 5.2% involved no Asian parties.
- The HKIAC saw parties from 39 jurisdictions in its caseload, with the most common being from Hong Kong, Mainland China, Singapore, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, the United States, and South Korea.
- The most common type of dispute related to international trade (31.9%), construction (19.2%), corporate (13.5%) and maritime disputes (8.8%).
- All of the arbitrations commenced in 2017 were seated in Hong Kong, and Hong Kong law remains the most frequently chosen governing law of the underlying contract, followed by English law and Chinese law.
- 86.9% of the administered arbitrations commenced in 2017 were conducted in English. 11.2% were in Chinese and 1.9% were in both English and Chinese.
Appointment of arbitrators and diversity
- In 2017, HKIAC made a total of 97 arbitrator appointments, with the most commonly chosen nationality or origin being the United Kingdom, at 33% (32 cases); Hong Kong at 13.4% (13 cases); Canada at 10.3% (10 cases), followed by Australia and Malaysia.
- The origin or nationality of arbitrators most commonly chosen by parties or co-arbitrators was also the United Kingdom at 46.4% (40 cases), followed by Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Mainland China.
- 16.5% of the arbitrators appointed by the HKIAC were female. Similarly, 15% of the designations made by parties and co-arbitrators and confirmed by the HKIAC were female. This compares to around 11.5% of female appointments in 2016, and reflects HKIAC’s efforts to improve gender diversity on its tribunals.
Challenges, emergency and expedited procedures
- Four challenges to arbitrators were submitted to HKIAC in 2017, three of which were rejected, while the fourth resulted in the resignation of the challenged arbitrator. One challenge was made on the basis of the arbitrator’s alleged failure to disclose his same chambers connection with a party’s barristers and his past professional relationship with some of those barristers. Another challenge was made on the basis of the alleged ongoing professional relationship between the challenged arbitrator and a party’s newly-appointed solicitors. The remaining two were based on the alleged misconduct of the challenged arbitrators.
- Four emergency arbitrator applications were submitted in 2017, bringing the total number of emergency arbitrator applications filed with HKIAC to date to 12. All applications were concluded with an Emergency Award.
- Of the 15 applications for expedited procedure that were submitted to HKIAC, the HKIAC granted 11.
- The HKIAC received 11 requests for consolidation, of which nine were granted.
- HKIAC received five requests for joinder of additional parties, of which two were granted.