On 2 April 2019, the Government of the Hong Kong SAR and the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) entered into 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’.

Under this new Arrangement, parties to arbitral proceedings seated in Hong Kong and administered by an approved arbitral institution may, before the arbitral award is issued, apply to the Mainland Chinese courts for preservation measures in relation to those proceedings. In addition, the Arrangement also describes the procedure which parties to arbitrations administered by Mainland institutions must follow in order to obtain interim relief from the courts in Hong Kong.

The Arrangement is a significant development because, aside from the limited preservative measures available in certain foreign seated maritime disputes, it represents the first time that parties to arbitrations seated offshore can seek preservative measures in the Mainland.

Interim relief in the Mainland

Under the Arrangement, parties to arbitrations seated in Hong Kong and administered by an approved arbitral institution (as defined in Article 2 of the Arrangement) can seek interim relief from the Intermediate People’s Court (IPC) at the place of the residence of the party against whom the application is made or at the place where the property or evidence is situated. While applications to more than one IPC are not permitted, nothing in the Arrangement prohibits a party from seeking interim relief in Hong Kong and the Mainland concurrently.

Oct-Dec 2019 issue

Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC)