Hong Kong—litigation and arbitration compared
Produced in partnership with Amanda Lees and Tiffany Lee of Simmons & Simmons (Hong Kong & Singapore)
Hong Kong—litigation and arbitration compared

The following Arbitration guidance note Produced in partnership with Amanda Lees and Tiffany Lee of Simmons & Simmons (Hong Kong & Singapore) provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Hong Kong—litigation and arbitration compared
  • Choosing between arbitration and litigation
  • Litigation or arbitration?

Choosing between arbitration and litigation

Sophisticated commercial parties commonly include in their commercial agreements a clause to arbitrate tier disputes: such an arrangement is known as an arbitration agreement. If drafted correctly, the arbitration agreement can provide parties with greater control over how their disputes are resolved and, significantly, who will be appointed to determine the dispute.

The arbitration agreement invokes a private dispute resolution mechanism, which is capable of ousting the jurisdiction of the courts in respect of any disputes that may arise. If the arbitration is seated in, for example Hong Kong, the Hong Kong courts retain certain supervisory powers that can be invoked to support the arbitral process. These powers may be exercised by the courts at various stages: before the arbitration process has commenced; during the proceedings or even after the award has been rendered; and the arbitral proceedings have been closed.

Litigation before the Hong Kong courts provides a reliable and robust system for resolving commercial disputes. It is, however, a more formal process than arbitration and the parties are subject to a comparatively strict and rigid set of rules. In contrast, arbitration can offer a more flexible approach for resolving disputes according to the needs of the parties. The key differences between the two methods of dispute resolution are explored in further detail in the