Expedited HKIAC Arbitration

HomeArbitrationThe ProcessExpedited HKIAC Arbitration

Arbitration on an expedited basis is not a new concept under the HKIAC Rules. First introduced in 2008, the HKIAC Administered Arbitration Rules have always provided an Expedited Procedure according to which arbitrations would be resolved within 6 months from the constitution of the tribunal.

In 2013, three salient new features were introduced to offer a real advantage to parties wishing to achieve a swift determination of their dispute and particularly to claimants wishing to overcome delay caused by recalcitrant defendants.

1. The application of the procedure under the New Rules is elective (rather than automatic as it had been in the past);

2. The circumstances in which it may be applied for have been broadened:

  • The applicable monetary threshold – the traditional condition of application – been raised from US $250,000 to HK $25,000,000 (over US $3 million);
  • Parties may apply for their proceedings to be conducted on an expedited basis where both parties agree or, importantly, in situations of exceptional urgency.

If applicable, the expedited procedure will result in a presumption that the proceeding is to be heard by a sole arbitrator.

The steps in an expedited arbitration administered in accordance with Article 41 of the 2013 HKIAC Administered Arbitration Rules are set out below. (PDF version available here)


Unless the parties agree otherwise, the expedited procedure will not apply to any consolidated proceedings under Article 28 or to any arbitration commenced on the basis of multiple contracts under Article 29 (see Art. 41.3). Other procedures, such as for the joinder of additional parties and the appointment of an Emergency Arbitrator, outlined in the flowchart “The Steps in an HKIAC Administered Arbitration", apply to an expedited HKIAC arbitration, unless otherwise stated.

  1. Art. 4: the Notice of Arbitration must be submitted to HKIAC and also served by Claimant on all other parties; it should have certain content (see Art. 4.3) and be accompanied by payment of the Registration Fee (see Art. 4.4, Sch. 1 and the Schedule of Fees); it may include the Statement of Claim (see Art. 4.6 and 16).
  1. Art. 5: the Answer to the Notice of Arbitration must be submitted to HKIAC and also served by Respondent on all other parties within 30 days from Respondent’s receipt of the Notice of Arbitration; it should have certain content (see Art. 5.1) and may include the Statement of Defence (see Art. 5.3 and 17). Any counterclaim or set-off defence must, to the extent possible, be raised with Respondent’s Answer to the Notice of Arbitration (see Art. 5.4).
  1. Art. 40 and the Practice Notes on Arbitral Tribunal's Fees, Expenses, Terms and Conditions Based on Schedules 2 and 3 Para. 7.1: as soon as practicable, and in any event within 15 days, after receipt of the Notice of Arbitration by Respondent, HKIAC will request Claimant and Respondent to deposit an advance for costs; in principle this will be an equal amount, however, where a Respondent submits a counterclaim, or it otherwise appears appropriate in the circumstances, HKIAC may request separate deposits. HKIAC may request further deposits from each party within 15 days from receipt of a counterclaim or set-off defence (see Practice Notes on Arbitral Tribunal's Fees, Expenses, Terms and Conditions Based on Schedules 2 and 3 Para. 7.2). Supplementary deposits may be requested during the course of the arbitration.
  1. See Art. 41.1(b).
  1. See Art. 41.1(a).
  1. See Art. 41.1(c).
  1. Art. 41.1: a party’s application for the proceeding to be conducted in accordance with the expedited procedure must be made in writing.
  1. In determining whether or not to accept an application, HKIAC will consider the views of the parties (see Art. 41.2). Unless the parties agree otherwise, the expedited procedure will not apply to any consolidated proceedings under Article 28 or to any arbitration commenced on the basis of multiple contracts under Article 29 (see Art. 41.3).
  1. Proceedings to which the expedited procedure apply are conducted in accordance with the provisions of the HKIAC Administered Arbitration Rules, subject to certain changes outlined in Art. 41.2.
  1. See Art. 41.2(f). In exceptional circumstances, HKIAC may extend this time limit.
  1. See Art. 41.2(c).
  1. Art. 41.2(a): the case will be referred to a sole arbitrator, unless the arbitration agreement provides for three arbitrators.
  1. Art. 41.2(b): if the arbitration agreement provides for three arbitrators, HKIAC will invite the parties to agree to refer the case to a sole arbitrator.
  1. Art. 41.2(b): if the parties do not agree to refer the case to a sole arbitrator, the case will be referred to three arbitrators.
  1. See Art. 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11. See also flowchart “The Steps in an HKIAC Administered Arbitration” where the expedited procedure does not apply.
  1. Art. 5.6: once the Registration Fee has been paid and the Tribunal confirmed, HKIAC will transmit the case file to the Tribunal.
  1. Art. 13.2: at an early stage of the arbitration and in consultation with the parties, the Tribunal will prepare a provisional timetable for the arbitration. It will be provided to the parties and to HKIAC.
  1. Art. 16: unless the Statement of Claim was contained in the Notice of Arbitration (or Claimant elects to treat the Notice of Arbitration as the Statement of Claim), Claimant must communicate its Statement of Claim in writing to all other parties and to each member of the Tribunal within a period of time to be determined by the Tribunal. Claimant must annex to its Statement of Claim all documents on which it relies (see Art. 16.3).
  1. Art. 17: unless the Statement of Defence was contained in the Answer to the Notice of Arbitration (or Respondent elects to treat the Answer to the Notice of Arbitration as the Statement of Defence), Respondent must communicate its Statement of Defence in writing to all other parties and to each member of the Tribunal within a period of time to be determined by the Tribunal. Respondent must annex to its Statement of Defence all documents on which it relies (see Art. 17.4).
  1. See Art. 41.2(e).
  1. Art. 30.1: when it is satisfied that the parties have had a reasonable opportunity to present their case, the Tribunal will declare the proceedings closed. Thereafter, no further submission or argument may be made, or evidence produced. The Tribunal may re-open the proceedings before the award is made in exceptional circumstances (see Art. 30.2).
  1. See Art. 10.3 and Schedule 1. HKIAC and the Tribunal have a lien over any awards issued by the Tribunal to secure the payment of their outstanding fees and expenses, and may accordingly refuse to release any such awards to the parties until all such fees and expenses have been paid in full (see Paragraph 7 of Schedules 2 and 3).
  1. The award will be made within six months from the date when HKIAC transmits the file to the Tribunal. In exceptional circumstances, HKIAC may extend this time limit (see Art. 41.2(f)). Awards will be in writing and are final and binding on the parties (see Art. 34.2); by agreeing to the HKIAC Administered Arbitration Rules parties undertake to comply without delay with any award or order of the Tribunal (see Art. 34.3). The Tribunal will state the reasons upon which the award is based in summary form, unless the parties have agreed that no reasons are to be given (see Art. 41.2(g)).

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