The Outcome Related Fee Structures for Arbitration Sub-committee of the Law Reform Commission (“Sub-committee” *) published a consultation paper on December 2020, proposing that the law in Hong Kong should be amended to permit lawyers to use outcome related fee structures (“ORFSs“) for arbitration taking place in and outside Hong Kong. In the consultation paper, ORFS refers to an agreement between a lawyer and client, whereby the lawyer receives a financial benefit as agreed if the case is won. It includes several types of agreements, namely conditional fee agreements (“CFAs“), damages-based agreements (“DBAs“) and hybrid damages-based agreements (“Hybrid DBAs“). Read more on The Law Reform Commission website.
On 19 May 2022, the seminar “A New Chapter to Arbitration in Hong Kong: Outcome Related Fee Structures for Arbitration (“ORFSA”)” was jointly organized by the Department of Justice The Government of the HKSAR, In-House Lawyers Committee of the Law Society of Hong Kong, The Hong Kong Chinese Enterprises Association Legal Affairs Steering Committee and China Legal Service (H.K.) Ltd at the South China International Arbitration Center (HK) (“SCIA(HK)”). The seminar invited members of the sub-committee and arbitration experts to focus on the ORFSA. DVC member Dr Benny Lo was also invited to join the Panel Discussion of the seminar as a member of the Sub-committee.
Dr Anthony Neoh, QC, SC, JP, Chairman of SCIA (HK) and Mr Chen Jun Sheng, Chairman of China Legal Services (HK) Ltd, officiated the seminar with an opening speech, followed by a brief introduction by Ms Kathryn Sanger, Co-chair of the Subcommittees about the report of ORFSA. The panel discussion session was moderated by Mr Huen Wong, BBS, JP, the Executive Chairman of SCIA(HK), and joined by Dr Benny Lo, Ms Kathryn Sanger, Mr C. M. Chan and Mr Nick Chan, MH, JP to share their insights regarding the following 2 aspects:
- How will ORFSA change the arbitration landscape in Hong Kong?
- As arbitration users, how can clients and lawyers make the best use of the ORFSA?
The seminar was concluded by the closing remarks by the Secretary for Justice, Ms Teresa Cheng, GBM, GBS, SC, JP. In her speech, SJ addressed that Hong Kong Judiciary has been dedicated to enhancing Hong Kong’s leading position as an international arbitration centre. ORFSA is an innovative proposal supported by the detailed study and recommendations of the Law Reform Commission of Hong Kong. It enables Hong Kong’s arbitration services to advance with the times and keep up with international arbitration practice and attract more parties to choose Hong Kong as a seat of arbitration and to use the services of Hong Kong lawyers in Hong Kong as well as abroad. Meanwhile, the legislative process has been kick-started to lay the legal framework for ORFSA and to open a new chapter for Hong Kong arbitration.
For more details, please refer to details posted on SCIA(HK)’s website .
*Remarks: The Outcome Related Fee Structures for Arbitration Sub-committee of the Law Reform Commission of Hong Kong was functus officio.