Dispute Resolution

Overview

Hong Kong is a leading centre for dispute resolution in the Asia-Pacific Region. The city is often chosen as the venue for resolving disputes given its unique geographical and historical circumstances. It is part of the People's Republic of China ("PRC") but operates a common law legal system inherited from England. This system is both distinct from that of the PRC and familiar to international businessmen. Hong Kong enjoys the rule of law, including a strong and independent judiciary, and an abundance of legal expertise.

We have substantial experience in the resolution of a broad range of disputes. Our lawyers have represented clients in arbitral proceedings, in proceedings before administrative tribunals and regulatory bodies and in proceedings at all levels of the superior courts in Hong Kong. As a firm, we have a strong appellate practice, having appeared on multiple occasions before the Court of Appeal and the Court of Final Appeal. At the same time, we enjoy a strong reputation in regulatory enforcement matters, having represented a number of clients in proceedings before the Securities and Futures Commission, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and the insurance regulators.

We have particular strengths in disputes involving financial market transactions or financial services. We have acted for a number of clients in respect of claims by clients against financial institutions as well as employees or former employees of financial institutions advancing claims against their current or former employers. We have represented clients in respect of allegations of the commission of white collar crimes. Our strong focus on the financial markets gives us in depth knowledge to tackle the most complicated disputes involving participants in these markets. We are experienced in balancing the needs of clients in resolving liability issues arising from competing civil, criminal and disciplinary proceedings.

Experience

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  • Advising a portfolio manager of a listed People’s Republic of China based financial services firm with a market capitalization of over USD16 billion in respect of managing liability exposure as a result of portfolio losses of as much as USD130 million in connection with a complex derivatives trading strategy

  • Advising a private wealth management group in Asia in connection with an SFC investigation regarding suitability and record keeping

  • Representing the non-executive chairman of AcrossAsia before the MMT regarding late disclosure of price sensitive information

  • Representing a private fund manager and its director in respect of an appeal to the Court of Final Appeal in respect of the proper interpretation of the provisions of Hong Kong securities laws governing offers of investments to professional investors

  • Representing a high profile activist short seller before the Court of Appeal in respect of the proceedings which the SFC commenced before the Market Misconduct Tribunal

  • Representing a private company valued at USD2 billion in connection with a contractual dispute with a counterparty with PRC operations, the provisional liquidation of that counterparty and the enforcement of judgment

  • Representing a stock brokerage firm regulated by the SFC in connection with an arbitration regarding claims by a client for restitution based on allegations of fraudulent and unauthorized loss of client assets

  • Advising a managing director at one of the largest banks in Hong Kong in connection with the potential termination of his employment as a result of allegations of breaches of internal compliance requirements

  • Advising a portfolio manager of a listed People’s Republic of China based financial services firm with a market capitalization of over USD16 billion in respect of managing liability exposure as a result of portfolio losses of as much as USD130 million in connection with a complex derivatives trading strategy

  • Advising a private wealth management group in Asia in connection with an SFC investigation regarding suitability and record keeping

  • Representing the non-executive chairman of AcrossAsia before the MMT regarding late disclosure of price sensitive information

  • Representing a private fund manager and its director in respect of an appeal to the Court of Final Appeal in respect of the proper interpretation of the provisions of Hong Kong securities laws governing offers of investments to professional investors

  • Representing a high profile activist short seller before the Court of Appeal in respect of the proceedings which the SFC commenced before the Market Misconduct Tribunal

  • Representing a private company valued at USD2 billion in connection with a contractual dispute with a counterparty with PRC operations, the provisional liquidation of that counterparty and the enforcement of judgment

  • Representing a stock brokerage firm regulated by the SFC in connection with an arbitration regarding claims by a client for restitution based on allegations of fraudulent and unauthorized loss of client assets

  • Advising a managing director at one of the largest banks in Hong Kong in connection with the potential termination of his employment as a result of allegations of breaches of internal compliance requirements

Insights

  • Hong Kong Judicial Assistance to Foreign liquidators: Ripe for Appeal?

    Though Hong Kong has yet to enact legislation to deal with cross-border insolvency, the Court of First Instance has taken the pragmatic position that it has the jurisdiction to assist liquidators appointed under a winding-up in a foreign jurisdiction by making orders to recognize those liquidators in Hong Kong and to require persons in Hong Kong to produce documents to those liquidators, to submit to examinations by those liquidators and to stay proceedings. This is so even though the Hong Kong statutory provisions governing these matters in a winding-up in Hong Kong have not been invoked through a winding-up in Hong Kong. The absence of legislation providing jurisdiction for this position raises an issue as to whether persons in Hong Kong who are subject to such orders by a foreign liquidator may wish to consider challenging such orders.

  • Freezing Assets in Cases of Suspected Money Laundering: Constitutionality and Civil Liability

    A recent decision of the Court of Appeal rejected a constitutional challenge against the “no-consent” regime under the Organised and Serious Crime Ordinance. The regime prohibits a person including a financial institution from dealing with property which the person knows or has reasonable grounds to believe are proceeds of crime unless the Joint Financial Intelligence Unit (JFIU) consents to such dealing. Though the consequences for a bank account holder can be a catastrophic loss of liquidity where consent is refused and that illiquid situation can persist indefinitely with no transparent process to hold the JFIU accountable, the court declined the opportunity to require greater safeguards. However, the court left open the possibility of a future constitutional challenge on the question of whether the regime was sufficiently certain and seemed to suggest that a heavier burden rests on financial institutions and other persons to ensure that they are not too aggressive in refusing access to accounts.