In October 2008, following the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) announced that the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC) would administer a mediation and arbitration scheme to assist parties with claims arising out of the Lehman bankruptcy to settle their disputes through mediation and, if unsuccessful, arbitration.
The collapse of Lehman Brothers – the biggest bankruptcy in US history – has led to an enormous number of disputes, in relation to many of which civil and criminal actions may ultimately be inevitable. The HKMA's hope has been that a large number of such claims can be dealt with speedily, confidentially and in a cost-effective manner. Under the scheme, mediation is to be undertaken on a confidential, voluntary and non-binding basis. If it is unsuccessful, then it is envisaged that the parties will take part in a documents-based arbitration in which legal representation is not permitted for either party.
According to the latest available figures, as at late 2009, some 250 cases had been referred to HKIAC, 85 of which proceeded to mediation with an 85% success rate. It remains to be seen whether the HKMA model will be adopted by other jurisdictions facing multiple claims on a national scale arising out of the global economic crisis.