The Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (“HKIAC”) formally launched the HKIAC Administered Arbitration Rules (the “Rules”), effective September 1, 2008. According to the HKIAC, the Rules are:
- designed for use by parties who seek 1) the formality and convenience of an administered arbitration;
- the latest addition to HKIAC’s dispute 2) resolution services and replace the previous HKIAC Procedures for the Administration of International Arbitration adopted on March 31, 2005;
- based on the United Nations Commission 3) on International Trade Law (”UNCITRAL”) Arbitration Rules and inspired by the “light touch” administered approach of the Swiss International Rules of Arbitration, although references were made to the arbitration rules of different institutions around the world in drafting the Rules; and
- designed with Chinese-foreign disputes in mind 4) and available in Chinese and English versions.
Prior to the Rules coming into effect, parties who opted for a HKIAC arbitration commonly provided that the arbitration be under the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules administered by the HKIAC. Parties can now consider the application of the Rules in HKIAC arbitration. The HKIAC has already received cases filed under the Rules.
The Rules provide for commencement of arbitration by a notice of arbitration, followed by an answer to such notice, appointment of arbitrator(s), and the exchange of statements of claim and defence. There is no provision in the Rules for terms of reference (save in relation to tribunal-appointed experts’ terms of reference), but the tribunal is required to prepare a provisional timetable for the arbitral proceedings at an early stage of the proceedings. The Rules contain a provision for joinder of parties by consent, but no provision for consolidation of proceedings. There are provisions for confidentiality as well as an expedited procedure for claims under US$250,000.