Landmark development allows interim relief protection in China for Hong Kong arbitrations

April 4, 2019

HONG KONG - The Hong Kong Government and China's Supreme People's Court have entered into a landmark arrangement that will allow, for the first time, parties to arbitrations seated outside of Mainland China to obtain interim relief protection from the Chinese Courts that will be enforceable in China.

Lawyers Baker McKenzie say the Arrangement is reciprocal and allows parties to China-seated arbitrations to obtain similar protection from the Courts in Hong Kong.

BM says the Arrangement will come into effect on a date to be announced.

In a Client Alert, BM says the Arrangement has significant implications for the local and international business communities.

"Previously, such protection was only available if the contracting parties opted for an arbitral seat in Mainland China," it says.

"However, given the well-established legal and arbitration system in Hong Kong, many international parties have preferred to adopt Hong Kong arbitration, foregoing their ability to obtain interim relief in China.

"Now, for the first time, the Arrangement will allow parties to opt for Hong Kong arbitration, while at the same time, allowing them, if needed, to obtain interim relief protection in China.

"On a macro-level, this development comes at an important juncture.

"It is closely tied to the myriad of positive steps that China has taken in recent years to amend and bring its arbitration and related laws, judiciary and legal framework into the modern era.

"The Arrangement will also be important to the implementation of key policy initiatives such as the Greater Bay Area Initiative (GBA) and the Belt and Road Initiative (BR").

"The Arrangement also consolidates and enhances Hong Kong's role as a key legal services and disputes hub for the region." (ATI).