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On 18 January 2019, The Secretary for Justice, Ms Teresa Cheng, SC and the Vice-president of the Supreme People’s Court, Mr Yang Wanming, signed an Arrangement on Reciprocal Recognition and Enforcement of Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters by the Courts of the Mainland and of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (the “Arrangement”). This is the sixth arrangement made between Hong Kong and the Mainland on mutual legal assistance in civil and commercial matters. It includes both monetary and non-monetary relief.
The Arrangement covers legally enforceable Mainland judgments given by the Primary People’s Courts or above in the following circumstances:
(a) any judgment of the second instance;
(b) any judgment of the first instance from which no appeal is allowed, or the time limit for an appeal has expired and no such appeal has been filed; and
(c) any judgment of (a) or (b) above made in accordance with the procedure for trial supervision.
As for Hong Kong, legally enforceable Hong Kong judgments given by the following courts are covered by the Arrangement:
(a) the Court of Final Appeal;
(b) the Court of Appeal and the Court of First Instance of the High Court;
(c) the District Court;
(d) the Labour Tribunal;
(e) the Lands Tribunal;
(f) the Small Claims Tribunal; and
(g) the Competition Tribunal
However, Hong Kong courts have the right to refuse recognition and enforcement of a judgment given by a people’s court of the Mainland if it conflicts with the basic principles of law or the public policy of Hong Kong. Likewise, Mainland courts also adopt a similar approach with regards to Hong Kong judgments.
This will provide greater clarity and certainty for parties litigating in Hong Kong or Mainland China, and will benefit investors in Belt and Road Initiative and the Greater Bay Area. Apart from reducing the time and cost in re-litigation of the same disputes in both places, the Arrangement would strengthen Hong Kong’s position as an international legal and dispute resolution services centre.