Hong Kong—appointing the arbitral tribunal
Produced in partnership with Shaun Wu of Kobre & Kim (Hong Kong)
Hong Kong—appointing the arbitral tribunal

The following Arbitration guidance note Produced in partnership with Shaun Wu of Kobre & Kim (Hong Kong) provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Hong Kong—appointing the arbitral tribunal
  • Determining the number of arbitrators
  • Appointment procedure for arbitrators
  • Circumstances in which the HKIAC appoints under the AO
  • Procedure for requesting the HKIAC to appoint an arbitrator
  • Other related appointment procedures

Appointing the tribunal is arguably the most important consideration in any arbitration. Not only does the tribunal rule on the substantive merits of the dispute, it typically decides the procedure for the arbitration. This Practice Note sets out the procedures for appointing the tribunal under Hong Kong law. For guidance on the actual selection of arbitrators, see Practice Note: Hong Kong—selecting the arbitrators.

The parties are free to agree on the appointment procedure either in the arbitration agreement or by incorporation of arbitral rules. However, in the absence of such agreement, especially in ad hoc arbitration, the default appointment procedure is governed by the Arbitration Ordinance, Chapter 609 (AO), which incorporates with modifications the United Nations Commission for International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration (the Model Law).

Determining the number of arbitrators

Generally, the appointment procedure depends on the number of arbitrators. This number is typically one or three but can occasionally be even numbers or uneven numbers greater than three. The number of arbitrators is generally determined in the following order:

  1. how many arbitrators will there be?

    1. have the parties agreed in the arbitration agreement or otherwise on the number of arbitrators?

      1. if yes, such agreement shall determine the number of arbitrators

    2. if no, have the parties agreed in the arbitration agreement or otherwise for a