The growth of the Greater Bay Area (GBA) is propelling Hong Kong’s development as a global centre for arbitration and mediation, a report says.
According to the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong handled 344 arbitration cases in 2022, up almost a quarter from the 277 cases in 2021.
Christopher To, a veteran barrister, who has worked in mediation and arbitration in Hong Kong since the 1990s, told the Post that “In terms of arbitration or mediation, [the trend] to settle disputes in Hong Kong is on the rise”.
A 2021 survey by the School of International Arbitration at Queen Mary University of London, in partnership with law firm White & Case, found that Hong Kong was the world’s third most preferred jurisdiction for arbitration after London and Singapore.
“Hong Kong has shown the world that its legal system and talent in arbitration and mediation can help the international business community to solve their disputes here”, legislator and financier Robert Lee told the Post.
“As China continues to open up its market for international companies, Hong Kong’s role as a dispute resolution centre will continue to grow”, he said.
To cited Hong Kong’s status as the only Chinese city to adopt common law as the reason for its appeal, saying the legal system was “very sound and credible”.
He added: “When an American company does business with a mainland Chinese company, and there is a dispute, the natural choice is a neutral venue like Hong Kong to do arbitration or mediation because people trust the system here”.
The city has meanwhile introduced a GBA qualification exam for Hong Kong lawyers, enabling them to qualify in mainland China and thereby promote mediation and arbitration services to GBA companies.