As we reported in our last e-bulletin, the long awaited civil justice reforms are due to roll out in Hong Kong on 2 April 2009. The reforms aim to improve the cost-effectiveness of the civil procedure system and to reduce complexity and delays in litigation. Rather than replacing the existing rules, the reforms will amend the current regime, cherry picking what are considered to be some of the best aspects of the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) introduced in England and Wales in 1999. For example, the new Hong Kong procedure introduces the concept of "underlying objectives", similar to the overriding objective of the CPR, pleadings are to be verified by a statement of truth and active case management by the court is integral to the reforms.

Our Hong Kong litigation department has published two further briefings on the reforms:

  • The February briefing looks at the rules on discovery, evidence and interim measures; and
  • The March briefing looks at settlement, in particular the new system of sanctioned offers and sanctioned payments, the growth of mediation and also considers some of the key changes to the rules on costs.