The Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (“HKIAC“) has published the 2013 revisions to the HKIAC Administered Arbitration Rules (“2013 HKIAC Rules“). Justin D’Agostino and Briana Young of Herbert Smith Freehills in Hong Kong have been on the HKIAC Rules Revision Committee and involved in the revision process from beginning to end. The new 2013 HKIAC Rules will come into force on 1 November 2013.

After a major review of its Administered Arbitration Rules, the HKIAC has introduced significant changes aimed at creating greater efficiency and bringing the HKIAC to the forefront of modern arbitral practice. Many of the changes clarify, but do not modify, the substance of HKIAC administered arbitration. Some of the key changes in the 2013 HKIAC Rules include:

  • Improved provision for joinder by expanding the Tribunal’s ability to join additional parties to an arbitration upon the request of one of the existing parties and also allowing third parties to submit requests to join an arbitration. In both cases the additional parties must be bound by a valid arbitration agreement under the 2013 HKIAC Rules giving rise to the arbitration. The HKIAC also obtains a prima facie power to join an additional party if a request for joinder is submitted prior to the Tribunal’s constitution. Under the current Administered Arbitration Rules, there is a limited joinder provision, where the Tribunal could join an additional party to an arbitration only with the consent of both parties.
  • New provisions to allow the HKIAC, in certain circumstances, to consolidate two or more arbitrations at a party’s request or to allow claims arising out of or in relation to multiple contracts to be raised in a single proceeding. Under the current Administered Arbitration Rules, there is no express provision on consolidation.
  • New provisions on emergency arbitrators.
  • An arbitrator’s agreed hourly rate shall not exceed a fee cap (HKD 6,500 per hour) established in the Rules, subject to a contrary agreement by the parties.

By building upon the success of the current Administered Arbitration Rules, the 2013 revisions ensure that they continue to be modern and reflective of best practice in international arbitration, in keeping with HKIAC’s status as one of the world’s pre-eminent arbitration institutions. Along with the continued support of parties and professionals, the 2013 HKIAC Rules should also ensure that arbitration in Hong Kong continues to thrive.

A copy of the 2013 HKIAC Rules are now available on the HKIAC’s website (click here for a copy).