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In A and Others v Housing Authority [2018] HKCU 432, HKCFI 147 , the plaintiffs sought leave to appeal against an arbitral award in relation to a contractual dispute. The dispute concerned the construction of a contractual provision regarding the valuation of the services provided by the plaintiff to the defendant. The plaintiff sought leave after the arbitral tribunal accepted the defendant’s construction as correct. However, the Court reaffirmed the high threshold for leave to be granted under section 6(4) of Schedule 2 to the Arbitration Ordinance (Cap. 609) (“Ordinance”), elaborating that “what has to be demonstrated to the Court, quickly and easily, without meticulous legal argument, is that the decision of the tribunal simply cannot be right, or that there are serious doubts as to the correctness or reasoning of the Award”. This high threshold reflects the reluctance of Hong Kong courts to interfere with decisions reached through arbitration.

Regarding the legislative history of the relevant section, upon the enactment of the Ordinance, it incorporated Part 11 which states that certain provisions may be expressly opted for or automatically applied. The opt-in provisions include section 6 of Schedule 2 to the Ordinance, which sets out the criteria which must be satisfied in an application to appeal against an arbitral award on a question of law. It was based upon the consideration of the Report of the Committee on Arbitration Law that a unitary regime of arbitration based upon the UNCITRAL Model Law should be adopted for all types of arbitration.

Find out more in:

Butterworths Hong Kong Alternative Dispute Resolution Handbook – Second Edition

Halsbury’s Laws of Hong Kong on Arbitration

Hong Kong Civil Court Practice 2018

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