The Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre has released an updated report on the average costs and duration of HKIAC arbitral proceedings, following previous reports in 2018 and 2016. The report demonstrates that HKIAC offers parties administered arbitration, as well as expedited and emergency proceedings, that are both efficient and reasonably priced.

The updated report reflects data from all cases in which a final award or decision was issued between 1 November 2013 and 31 May 2021, totalling 186 arbitrations, including 44 expedited arbitrations and 13 emergency arbitrations. Arbitrations which were withdrawn, settled or terminated prior to the final award or decision were not covered.

Cost and duration are presented by both median and mean values, but the HKIAC comments that “the median value is the more meaningful and robust value, as it minimises the skewing effect of outliers“.

Key takeaways are summarised below:

  • Overall duration and costs.The median duration was 13 months (representing a decrease from 16.2 months in the 2018 report) and the mean duration was 16.9 months. The median total costs of arbitration were US$64,606 and the mean US$137,332.
  • Payment to the arbitral tribunal. Under the HKIAC Administered Arbitration Rules, parties have the option of paying an hourly rate (capped at HK$6,500 or approximately US$840) or on ad valorem Of the 186 arbitrations reported, the vast majority opted for the former. Arbitral tribunals were paid by an hourly rate in 175 proceedings, and by reference to an ad valorem fee scale in the remaining 11 proceedings.
  • Expedited arbitration.The median duration of expedited proceedings was 8.9 months and the mean 9.3 months, a slight increase as compared to the 2018 report. Likewise, the median and mean costs for expedited arbitration increased slightly to US$24,212 and US$51,239, respectively.
  • Emergency arbitration.The duration of emergency arbitrations was measured from the date of HKIAC’s acceptance of the application to the date of the emergency arbitrator’s decision, inclusive of any stays. The median duration was 15 days (a slight increase from 14 days in the 2018 report) and 22.6 hours from application to the HKIAC to the appointment of the emergency arbitrator.

For more information, please feel free to get in touch with any of the contacts below, or your usual Herbert Smith Freehills contact.

Simon Chapman QC
Simon Chapman QC
Partner, Regional Head of Practice - Dispute Resolution, Asia
+852 21014217
Kathryn Sanger
Kathryn Sanger
Partner, Hong Kong
+852 21014029
Briana Young
Briana Young
Foreign Legal Consultant (England & Wales)/Professional Support Consultant, Hong Kong
+852 21014214
Sophia Li
Sophia Li
Associate, Hong Kong
+852 21014178