Hong Kong—what disputes can be arbitrated?
Produced in partnership with Simmons & Simmons Hong Kong
Hong Kong—what disputes can be arbitrated?

The following Arbitration guidance note Produced in partnership with Simmons & Simmons Hong Kong provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Hong Kong—what disputes can be arbitrated?
  • Arbitration agreements
  • Scope of agreement to arbitrate
  • Validity of arbitration agreements
  • Disputes arising from criminal or illegal activity
  • International considerations in relation to criminality and illegality
  • Consumer contracts
  • Dispute between a solicitor’s firm and its lay client
  • Practical advice

This Practice Note considers arbitrability of disputes under the law of Hong Kong. For guidance on this topic under English law, see Practice Note: What disputes can be arbitrated? (England and Wales). Note: the Hong Kong judgments referred to in this Practice Note are not reported by LexisNexis® UK.

Arbitration is a contractual dispute resolution mechanism. It takes place when parties to a dispute agree to resolve it by means of an arbitration rather than through the court process or other means.

The object of the Hong Kong Arbitration Ordinance is to facilitate the final and speedy resolution of disputes by arbitration without unnecessary expense. Section 3(2) of the Arbitration Ordinance (AO) (Cap 609) states that it is based on the following principles:

  1. subject to the observance of safeguards that are necessary in the public interest, the parties to a dispute should be free to agree on how the dispute should be resolved, and

  2. the court should interfere in the arbitration of a dispute only as expressly provided for in AO

As a general rule, it is possible to submit any civil dispute to arbitration, provided that the parties agree to do so. However, national laws generally impose certain restrictions on what disputes can be submitted to arbitration. These may restrict either the ability of a dispute to be arbitrated at all or the