With the decline in commercial litigation in Hong Kong and the shifting focus of the litigation departments in many international law firms in Hong Kong from doing actual litigation work to other types of disputes-like work, such as FCPA and other investigations, financial regulatory work and arbitration, it is worth considering where all the commercial cases are going. Are contracting parties identifying other jurisdictions in their exclusive jurisdiction clauses of their commercial contracts? Is Singapore’s much-hyped International Commercial Court seen as a more attractive option? Or perhaps commercial parties are more often opting to resolve their disputes through arbitration or other forms of ADR instead of turning to the Hong Kong court system?
While it is difficult to identify the precise cause for this shift, given the substantial rise of arbitration in Hong Kong and recent legislative developments on this front, it may be helpful to reassess the relative advantages of litigation and arbitration in terms of the ways in which each is best suited to help parties achieve their objectives relatively quickly. In the Disputes feature, the author contrasts the beneficial features of each dispute resolution process, noting advantages of litigation that may occasionally be overlooked – including the right to appeal and the summary judgment procedure. The discussion in this timely contribution contrasts well with the President’s Message, which highlights two new Amendments to Hong Kong’s Arbitration Ordinance, which many believe will further boost the popularity of arbitration and mediation in Hong Kong as a means to resolve commercial disputes.
Elsewhere in the July issue, is the second instalment of the Corporate Activism series. Building upon the analysis in the first article, which focused on strategies and tactics shareholder activists employ in controlled or blockholder-influenced companies in Hong Kong and Germany, this instalment drills down to assess further similarities and differences between the hedge fund activist experiences in both markets. The Regulatory article discusses the CITIC case before the Market Misconduct Tribunal, identifying some of the more important issues raised by the Tribunal’s findings and the SFC’s decision not to appeal.
Also of interest, may be a new series we are running in the Practice Skills section, which will provide practical tips and advice on how to improve essential skills you need as a lawyer. The article in our last issue provided tips on improving “writing processes”, while the one in this issue takes a closer look at “writing products”.