HKIAC launches updated rules

The Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC) has released its new 2024 Administered Arbitration Rules (2024 HKIAC Rules), which will come into effect on 1 June 2024.

The new rules were announced on 3 May 2024 against the backdrop of the 2024 Congress of the International Council for Commercial Arbitration being held in Hong Kong from 5-8 May 2024.

They introduce a range of robust new powers and duties for tribunals and the HKIAC.  Many of these focus on maintaining the efficiency and integrity of the proceedings by combatting guerilla tactics and other obstacles to the swift and cost-effective resolution of disputes.  Diversity, environmental and information security considerations are also expressly addressed for the first time.

The publication of the new rules follows an extensive consultation process which provided users of HKIAC arbitration with the opportunity to comment on the proposed changes.  The revision process was guided by a committee of experienced practitioners which was chaired by Herbert Smith Freehills alumnus Briana Young and included two recent HKIAC Secretaries-General, Dr Mariel Dimsey and Sarah Grimmer.

Read on for the headline points, a detailed review of the changes, and commentary.  References in this post to Articles, Schedules and paragraphs are to the 2024 HKIAC Rules, unless otherwise indicated.

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Herbert Smith Freehills sponsors XXVIth ICC Congress in Hong Kong on 5-8 May 2024

Herbert Smith Freehills is a proud sponsor of the XXVIth Congress of the International Council for Commercial Arbitration (ICCA), being held in Hong Kong from 5 to 8 May 2024. We are delighted that CEO Justin D’Agostino is Co-Chair of the Host Committee and Consultant May Tai sits on the Programme Committee.

With the theme, “International Arbitration: A Human Endeavour”, this Congress focuses on the individual as a participant in the international arbitration system. Topics will include the economics of dispute resolution, culture and semantics, the impact of technology and the art of persuasion. The programme has now been released and is available online here.

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HSF CEO CALLS FOR ARBITRAL INSTITUTIONS TO CONFRONT NEW ESG LANDSCAPE

A leading arbitration lawyer has called for arbitral institutions to be proactive in tackling Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues in a keynote lecture held in Edinburgh.

Justin D’Agostino MH, Chief Executive Officer of Herbert Smith Freehills, is visiting Edinburgh as part of the inaugural Edinburgh International Arbitration Festival (ArbFest2023), currently underway in the city.

Delivering the keynote of the festival at The Signet Library, Mr D’Agostino told the audience that it is crucial to recognise the “climate of the age” in which we are living, in which it is important to recognise a combination of environmental change, fracturing geopolitical norms, pressure on globalisation and declining faith in governments, alongside a new generation of lawyers, clients and shareholders “seeking to hold to account employers, corporates and governments in a way that feels different to even a few years ago”.

As a result, Mr D’Agostino said, “everything is now ESG”, with each strand – E, S and G, not mutually exclusive but “helplessly intertwined.”

Mr D’Agostino said that, in response, the arbitral institutions should not shy away from confronting ESG issues head on.

“We – the arbitral community – as participants in an important multilateral system – have a role to play, and indeed a role we must play, to tackle the here and now let alone the issues ahead.”

Mr D’Agostino proposed three ways arbitral institutions can play a role in addressing ESG issues. First, he said institutions need to identify and assess how ESG is pervading arbitral disputes.

“The first [role] is for institutions to accurately track ESG’s penetration into business-as-usual commercial arbitrations.  If we recognise, track and publicise where ESG issues are being raised and determined, it will allow us to better share learning and expertise.

“This is especially important given that many of the risks for business are still relatively new – and how disputes surrounding those issues are resolved and dealt with are newer still.”

Mr D’Agostino said that institutions could also play a role in influencing how arbitrations are run.

“The second role for institutions is the influence they can bring to bear on how arbitrations are run – through their procedural rules, but also through the way that they administer arbitrations.

He explained that this influence could take the form of specialist rules for the arbitration of ESG disputes, specialist panels of arbitrators, and tailoring existing procedural rules and practices to accommodate disputes in the ESG space.

Mr D’Agostino explained that the third role arbitral institutions could play was changing their own internal governance in the ESG space, reporting on their own energy consumption, emissions and environmental footprint, making their own sustainability commitments and looking to embed the Green Protocols into their procedural rules and practices.

Concluding his speech, Mr D’Agostino said that arbitral institutions need to be proactive in taking action.

“There is much to do, but much of which we should already be proud.  This is an exciting area of practice – and change – but we must remember the climate of our age.  The context means that these issues are not going anywhere.

“When users of arbitration are increasingly being judged and scrutinised on their own ESG credentials, institutions – in their rules, administration and organisational governance – cannot afford to be found wanting.”

Read the full keynote speech here.

For more information, please contact Justin D’Agostino MH, Chief Executive Office and Partner, or your usual HSF contact.

Justin D'Agostino
Justin D'Agostino
Chief Executive Office and Partner
+852 21014010

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HSF’S JUSTIN D’AGOSTINO CELEBRATES EQUAL REPRESENTATION IN ARBITRATION PLEDGE REACHING 5,000 SIGNATURES

Justin D’Agostino, our CEO and co-chair of the ERA Pledge Global Steering Committee, talks about his involvement with the Pledge and why he thinks it’s vital to increase, on an equal opportunity basis, the number of women appointed as arbitrators in order to achieve fair representation.

The video can be watched on the Arbitration Pledge LinkedIn page, here.

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JUSTIN D’AGOSTINO APPOINTED NEW CO-CHAIR OF THE ERA PLEDGE GLOBAL STEERING COMMITTEE

Justin D’Agostino, global Chief Executive Officer at Herbert Smith Freehills, has been appointed as the new co-chair of the Arbitration Pledge (the Pledge) Global Steering Committee. The Pledge seeks to increase, on an equal opportunity basis, the number of women appointed as arbitrators in order to achieve fair representation. Having been central to the establishment of the Pledge in Asia at its inception, Justin will now bring his wealth of leadership, experience and passion about diversity to the Pledge’s ambitions and activities globally.

Briana Young, Professional Support Consultant and practice manager in the Greater China arbitration practice at HSF, is also joining the Pledge’s leadership team as Secretary of the Pledge Global Steering Committee while the current Secretary is on maternity leave.

Justin notes, “It’s an honour to join the Pledge’s leadership team. There’s been progress on gender diversity in arbitration, largely as a direct result of the Pledge, and we hope we can help drive yet more progress towards fully equal representation of women in arbitration in future.”

Briana and Justin’s appointments add to Herbert Smith Freehills’ existing active support of the Pledge. Partner, May Tai, is a member of the Steering Committee, while Senior Associates Maguelonne de Brugiere and Louise Barber co-founded the Pledge Young Practitioners’ Subcommittee (YPSC) in 2020. Louise currently acts as Secretary, with Maguelonne and Senior Associate, Anna Wren, also sitting as members of the YPSC.

For more information please contact Briana Young, Professional Support Consultant, or your usual Herbert Smith Freehills contact.

Justin D'Agostino
Justin D'Agostino
Chief Executive Officer
Briana Young
Briana Young
Professional Support Consultant
+852 21014214

Inside Arbitration: Issue #5 of the publication from Herbert Smith Freehills’ Global Arbitration Practice

We are delighted to share with you the latest issue of the publication from the Herbert Smith Freehills Global Arbitration Practice, Inside Arbitration.

In addition to sharing knowledge and insights about the markets and industries in which our clients operate, the publication offers personal perspectives of our international arbitration partners from across the globe.

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Justin D’Agostino appointed to the Board of the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce

We are pleased to announce that Herbert Smith Freehills’ Global Head of Dispute Resolution, Justin D’Agostino was formally appointed to the Board of the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (the SCC) on 19 December.

The SCC was established in 1917 and provides dispute resolution services for parties from all over the world. The SCC Board of comprises 16 international experts in arbitration from law firms, chambers, academia, and commerce, each of whom are appointed for three years. The Board is empowered to take certain decisions in the administration of arbitrations under the SCC Rules (or where the parties have agreed to their doing so, in other rules or procedures). These include decisions on the jurisdiction of the SCC; appointment of, and challenges to, arbitrators; consolidation of cases and the fixing of arbitration costs.

Justin comments: “I am delighted to have been invited to join the SCC Board. The SCC is a highly regarded, very experienced arbitral institution and I look forward to working with my fellow Board members to help to maintain the SCC’s high standards in administering international arbitrations“.

Justin D'Agostino
Justin D'Agostino
Regional Managing Partner, Asia
+852 2101 4010

Herbert Smith Freehills wins China award as Dispute Resolution International Law Firm of the Year

Herbert Smith Freehills has again won the title of “Dispute Resolution International Law Firm of the Year – Hong Kong & China” at the Chambers and Partners Awards ceremony held in Hong Kong on 17 February 2014.

The awards reflect notable achievements over the past 12 months including outstanding work, impressive strategic growth and excellence in client service.  The awards, supported by the extensive research carried out for the latest edition of Chambers Asia Pacific, also celebrate stellar performances from law firms and practitioners.

Herbert Smith Freehills has one of the largest disputes teams in Greater China by headcount.  Seven of the firm’s disputes partners based in across its 3 China offices (Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai) are ranked by Chambers, three of whom are recognised as band one experts in their fields.

China Managing Partner and international arbitration practitioner, Justin D’Agostino, commented:

Our win is a significant achievement.  We have retained our crown from last year—a testament to our firm being a true disputes powerhouse and unrivalled in the region.”

Chambers also confirmed that, for international arbitration across the Asia-Pacific region, Herbert Smith Freehills is in a league of its own being the only firm to secure a band 1 ranking in this category.

 

Justin D'Agostino
Justin D'Agostino
Partner
+852 2101 4010
Brenda Horrigan
Brenda Horrigan
Partner
+86 21 2322 2112
Jessica Fei
Jessica Fei
Partner
+86 10 65355080
May Tai
May Tai
Partner
+852 2101 4031
Simon Chapman
Simon Chapman
Partner
+852 21014217