New practice note for Mainland China-Hong Kong interim relief measures

  • 9 December 2019

ICC has published an arbitration practice note relating to the application of a Mainland China-Hong Kong arrangement for mutual assistance in court-ordered interim relief measures, under which ICC has been named an authorised institution.

The new practice note provides guidance on making an application for interim relief to the People’s Courts of Mainland China in support of arbitral proceedings seated in Hong Kong and administered under the ICC Rules of Arbitration, by the Hong Kong case management office of the Secretariat of the ICC International Court of Arbitration.

In October 2019, ICC announced that it had satisfied criteria set out by the Hong Kong Government, and had been named as one of only six approved arbitration institutions by the Hong Kong Department of Justice and the only foreign institution headquartered outside of Mainland China or Hong Kong to be eligible under the Arrangement.

Prior to the Arrangement – signed between the People’s Republic of China and the Hong Kong SAR Government on 2 April 2019 and entered into force on 1 October 2019 – Mainland Chinese courts were only able to issue interim measures in support of arbitrations seated in Mainland China and administered by Mainland arbitral institutions.

The arrangement represents a significant development for the ICC International Court of Arbitration as it allows parties to an ICC arbitration seated in Hong Kong and administered by the Secretariat’s Hong Kong office, to apply to the Chinese courts for interim relief against Mainland-based counterparties. The ICC Court is currently administering cases involving 146 parties from China (including Hong Kong and Macau) and 30 cases seated in Hong Kong.

President of the International Court of Arbitration Alexis Mourre said: “This is a significant development for the ICC Court in strengthening the appeal of ICC Arbitration to users in the region. We expect that the Arrangement will result in more parties choosing Hong Kong as the seat of arbitration for disputes involving Mainland Chinese parties, and for them to turn to a qualified institution like ICC.”

Under the terms of the arrangement, parties to Hong-Kong seated ICC arbitrations may apply for interim relief available under the relevant People’s Republic of China civil procedural and arbitration law provisions. Applications can be made either before an arbitration commences (filing of the Request for Arbitration) or during the course of a pending proceeding.

ICC will continue to support the application of the new Arrangement that brings its world class arbitration services closer to users in Asia and beyond and continues to recommend the inclusion of its arbitration clause in contracts. The adaptable Standard ICC Arbitration Clause is free to download from the ICC website.