HK courts continue to support independence of arbitration

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Hong Kong’s judiciary has an established reputation of supporting arbitration proceedings. That it supports the independence of arbitral proceedings is proven through numerous reported decisions. Recently, in the case of Gong Ben Hai v The Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre, the Hong Kong Court of First Instance considered a claim against the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC) regarding its decision to reject an application to challenge two arbitrators in an arbitration governed by the 2008 HKIAC Administered Arbitration Rules.

While this case represents the first time a claim has been made against the HKIAC directly, the decision serves to strengthen the Hong Kong judiciary’s support for arbitration proceedings.

Some background

Gong was the claimant in a HKIAC arbitration regarding a dispute as to the repayment of a loan and associated interest owed to Gong by a Chinese tyre factory. The arbitration commenced in September 2012, and the underlying arbitration agreement provided for disputes to be referred to a three-member tribunal in a HKIAC arbitration, seated in Hong Kong.

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The author, John Zadkovich, is a senior associate at Vinson & Elkins in Hong Kong