Hong Kong/Macao enforcement arrangement takes effect

On 16 December 2013, the Arrangement Concerning Reciprocal Recognition and Enforcement of Arbitral Awards between the Hong Kong SAR and the Macao SAR (the Arrangement) came into force. The Arrangement, which was signed on 7 January 2013, is implemented by ss. 98A-99D of the Hong Kong Arbitration Ordinance. Sections 98A-98D are added to the legislation by the Arbitration (Amendment) Ordinance 2013.

Under the new regime, a Macao award will be enforceable in Hong Kong either by action in the Court, or in the same manner as a Hong Kong or other non-NY Convention arbitral award (with leave of the court). If a Macao award is not fully satisfied by enforcement proceedings in Macao, the outstanding part of the award is enforceable in Hong Kong. The Ordinance now includes grounds for refusal to enforce a Macao award, which are in line with the principles for refusal to enforce under the New York Convention. These include, but are not limited to, party incapacity, invalidity of the arbitration agreement, procedural irregularity, the award having been set aside by a competent authority of Macao, or the decision exceeding the scope of the matters submitted to arbitration.

It is not uncommon for a party holding a Hong Kong award in its favour to want to enforce against assets in Macao, so this is a welcome development, particularly viewed alongside a similar arrangement – already in force – between Hong Kong and mainland China. The new sections of the Arbitration Ordinance are broadly similar to ss. 92-98 of the same Ordinance, which implement the Hong Kong/mainland China arrangement.

Hong Kong passes amendments to Arbitration Ordinance

On 10 July, the Legislative Council of Hong Kong passed the Arbitration (Amendment) Bill 2013 (click here for our earlier post on the Bill).

The Arbitration (Amendment) Ordinance 2013 introduces a number of changes to the 2011 Arbitration Ordinance (Cap. 609), aimed at ensuring Hong Kong remains at the forefront of modern arbitral practice.

The amendments to the Arbitration Ordinance include:

  • New provisions allowing Hong Kong courts to enforce relief granted by an emergency arbitrator, whether made in or outside Hong Kong.
  • Implementation of the Arrangement Concerning Reciprocal Recognition and Enforcement of Arbitral Awards between the Hong Kong SAR and the Macao SAR, signed in January 2013.
  • Amendments to the provisions for taxation of arbitration costs by the Hong Kong courts.
  • Inclusion of five new New York Convention signatories in the relevant Schedule

The amendments took effect on 19 July 2013, with the exception of the Hong Kong/Macao mutual enforcement arrangements, which will come into force at a later date, to be notified in the Hong Kong Government Gazette.

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