HK law push for bay disputes

Top News | Wallis Wang 27 Oct 2020

The Department of Justice is exploring allowing Hong Kong invested-enterprises in the Greater Bay Area to use our laws for arbitration, Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah said yesterday.

In her online blog, Cheng said the department hopes Hong Kong enterprises in the Greater Bay Area "choose the law of Hong Kong as the applicable law when entering into civil and commercial contracts, and choose Hong Kong as the seat of arbitration when disputes arise" in the absence of any foreign-related elements.

According to Chinese law, a case is "foreign related" if one or both parties of the dispute are foreign citizens, or the subject-matter is located outside China.

Currently, foreign-invested enterprises in China cannot adopt foreign law or ask a foreign institution for arbitration without "foreign-related elements."

Cheng said the department may allow Hong Kong companies to be exempted from these requirements.

Cheng also urged young lawyers take the exam for mainland qualification so they can then provide legal services in nine mainland cities in the area, including Shenzhen, Zhuhai and Guangzhou.

Cheng said Hong Kong permanent residents who are Chinese nationals with five-year experience as a solicitor or barrister can sit for the examination after taking the training course organized by the ministry of justice.

"It will help the expansion of our professional legal services and further identify business opportunities," she said.

Cheng added that the new measures would attract more investment in the bay area, creating a "win-win situation."

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