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International Construction Law Review

CORRESPONDENT’S REPORT – HONG KONG 1 Paul Starr Partner, Hong Kong Head of Infrastructure/DR and Joint Worldwide Head of Arbitration, King & Wood Mallesons 2 INTRODUCTION The coronavirus pandemic has, in one sense, created a level playing field for arbitration institutions and users prepared to conduct their procedural conferences, and even full hearings, by video or teleconference. While there is no substitute for eyeball-to-eyeball cross-examination, video technology has at least progressed leaps and bounds in terms of picture and sound quality, multi-participants as well as in detection of and focusing the screen upon each speaker. Where Hong Kong continues to soar far above this levelled ground is when doing business with Mainland Chinese parties. Parties selecting Hong Kong as their seat of arbitration, (no matter which choice of law) can avail themselves of a brand new advantage which has been conferred by China Mainland upon Hong Kong. This is in terms of being able to freeze assets in the Mainland in aid of a Hong Kong initiated arbitration. This report details that advantage immediately below, and will then report upon other recent Hong Kong developments for our industry, including third party funding, latest case law, statistics enjoyed by our arbitration institutions; the Greater Bay Area, before delving into a crystal ball of matters to come. 1. HONG KONG’S UNIQUENESS IN TERMS OF SEIZURE OF ASSETS The China Mainland and Hong Kong Governments conferred this unique advantage via the Arrangement Concerning Mutual Assistance in Court-ordered Interim Measures in Aid of Arbitral Proceedings by the Courts of China Mainland and of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (“the Arrangement”). It came into effect on 1 October 2019. It allows parties in 1 References to “Hong Kong” are to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. 2 The author thanks Hana Doumal, Steffi Wong, Valerie Pui, Christopher Lai and Charlie Bruce for their invaluable contributions to this report. Pt 3] The Tension Between the Application of Good Faith 305

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