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The need for speed delivery in Hong Kong

27 January 2014
Following the enactment of the new Arbitration Ordinance in Hong Kong in 2012, the Rules of the High Court, were amended to provide that any application to challenge and arbitral award on the ground of serious irregularity under s 4 of Schedule 2, and any application for leave to appeal on a question of law arising out of an arbitral award under s 6 of Schedule 2, must be made, and the originating summons served, within 30 days after the award is “delivered”. Previously the Rules had provided that the summons must be served within 30 days after the award has been “made and published” to the parties.  It was suggested that this change was made to overcome the difficulty where the parties are slow to collect an award.

In Po Fat Construction Co Ltd v The Incorporated Owners of Kin Sang Estate, unreported, 6 November 2013, the Hon Mimmie Chan J considered that the word “delivered” had the same meaning as “made and published to the parties”.  She therefore adopted the interpreted given to this term by the Court of Appeal in Kwan Lee Construction Co Ltd v Elevator Parts Engineering Co Ltd [1997] 1 HKC 97 to mean when the date when the arbitrator informs the parties that the award has been made and is ready for collection, with or without the prior payment of fees.

It follows that where parties are slow to collect an award, after being notified that it has been made and is ready for collection their rights of redress may be lost.

It is noted that, in the absence of the parties' express agreement, the rights of redress are only available in a limited class of cases.

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