HONG KONG COURT CONFIRMS JUDICIAL IMMUNITY TO ARBITRATORS WHEN COMPELLED TO GIVE EVIDENCE

In Song Lihua v Lee Chee Hong [2023] HKCFI 1954, the Court of First Instance considered whether arbitrators can be compelled to give evidence in proceedings to challenge their awards, in this case an application to set aside an order granting leave to enforce in Hong Kong an arbitral award of the Chengdu Arbitration Commission.

The Court recognised the quasi-judicial function of arbitrators and held that arbitrators should be entitled to the same immunity available to judges in respect of their decision-making in an arbitration, except in situations of fraud or bad faith, and that such immunity included in this context immunity from being compelled to give evidence as witnesses in relation to the exercise of their quasi-judicial functions.

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