On 9 February 2022, the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (“HKIAC“) has published its dispute resolution data for 2021.
Compared with the statistics in 2020, although the number of arbitrations submitted to HKIAC has returned to the 10-year average level after reaching its 10-year peak in 2020, there is an upward trend with the total number of dispute resolution cases submitted last year. In particular, there is a drastic 51% increase in the number of domain name disputes submitted last year.
The percentage of international arbitrations (where at least one party was not based in Hong Kong) amongst all arbitrations submitted has also seen an increase of around 10%, from 72.3% in 2020 to 81.6% in 2021. Despite the influence of the COVID-19 epidemic, the data demonstrates that Hong Kong remains and continues to be a favourable destination for resolution of international disputes.
The effectiveness of conducting arbitration in Hong Kong has also been strengthened by its tightened connection with mainland China through the implementation of the “Arrangement Concerning Mutual Assistance in Court-ordered Interim Measures in Aid of Arbitral Proceedings by the Courts of the Mainland and of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region”. Last year, the HKIAC has handled almost twice as many applications for the preservation of evidence, assets or conduct in the mainland made under the above arrangement than in 2019.
The Law Reform Commissions’ recommended in its report in December 2021, that the existing legal rules be amended to allow lawyers to charge in “outcome related fee structures” in arbitration taking place in and outside Hong Kong. This is envisaged to bring Hong Kong in line with other major arbitral seats and further enhance Hong Kong’s competitiveness as international dispute resolution centre.
Please refer to the HKIAC’s website for the full statistics of 2021 here.