Dispute resolution: international arbitration in Hong Kong
Allen & Overy
Matthew Gearing QC heads the team at Allen & Overy which is representing Nissan as a claimant in an arbitration commenced against the government of India, concerning an investment treaty dispute over unpaid incentives regarding the client setting up a manufacturing plant in the state of Tamil Nadu. Matthew Hodgson is highly experienced in handling investment treaty arbitrations.
Matthew Gearing QC
Other key lawyers:
BG Exploration and Production India
Viewed by some as 'a go-to firm for high-value, complex arbitration disputes', Clifford Chance stands out for its 'deep bench' of 'tenacious, efficient and very results-focused' practitioners. Private equity-related disputes form the backbone of the practice, and the team is equally adept at handling contentious work for clients in the technology, finance, infrastructure and aviation sectors. Cameron Hassall heads the team, splitting his time between Sydney and Hong Kong. Thomas Walsh was promoted to partner in May 2019. Senior associate Tania Tse is singled out for her 'outstanding work ethic'.
‘Thomas Walsh is an exceptional lawyer; he has an infectious passion for arbitration and is incredibly grounded‘.
- Acting for a Chinese technology company in a $500m dispute arising from a master purchase agreement.
- Represented the founder of an Asian private equity fund in HKIAC arbitration proceedings and Hong Kong court proceedings relating to alleged fraud and the ownership and control of a fund.
- Defending a global private equity firm in HKIAC proceedings against fraud claims of over $100m.
Herbert Smith Freehills
Herbert Smith Freehills' team houses 'excellent lawyers', who continue to represent SIPC and Addax as claimants in arbitration proceedings brought against a significant upstream business in the North Sea concerning a complex fraud claim arising from the 2012 purchase by the clients of a 49% stake in the business. The 'calm and confident' Simon Chapman leads the practice. Key names include May Tai, who has extensive expertise in China-related disputes, and Justin D’Agostino, noted for his 'endless energy and vision'.
According to one client, King & Wood Mallesons' practice is 'quick to grasp the core issues and understand the commercial drivers behind the legal advice required, and the team offers proactive, strategic advice in managing arbitration matters'. Practice head Paul Starr is well known for his extensive expertise in infrastructure disputes. Barbara Chiu handles shareholders and directors' disputes, and Edmund Wan is noted for acting in construction and commercial-related disputes.
- Acting alongside the London office as co-counsel to the Kyrgyz Republic concerning claims arising out of a series of government measures, which allegedly prevented activities at the Stans Energy mine to be carried out.
- Acting as co-counsel with the London office in defending Naftogaz in a $5.5bn claim in LCIA arbitration by minority shareholders of Ukrnafta in a dispute over natural gas resources.
Ing Loong Yang leads the team at Latham & Watkins LLP, which has been kept busy handling cross-border shareholder and investment disputes. In January 2019 Simon Powell left the firm to become an independent practitioner.
Ing Loong Yang
Glory Empire Global
Shenzhen Yihua Computer
Lansha Information Technology (Shanghai)
- Representing Pegatron Corporation in arbitration against a Swiss and a Canadian company concerning a dispute regarding the design and manufacture of a commercial product.
- Advising the special purpose vehicle (SPV) of a world-leading private equity firm in a CIETAC arbitration concerning an investment dispute regarding the potential acquisition of three buildings in China.
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Rory McAlpine leads the team at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. The practice has been particularly busy acting for clients in complex international arbitrations in the private equity space. Associate Wilfred Ho is also singled out.
Other key lawyers:
Joseph Kwan heads up the practice at Deacons, which fields a team of 'hardworking partners who bring a wealth of experience' and 'specialises in construction cases and arbitration'. Robert Clark is noted for his expertise in commercial disputes; Joseph Chung is 'very personable and great with clients'; and Kwok Kit Cheung provides 'balanced and sound advice'.
Dentons Hong Kong's practice, led by Keith Brandt, houses a team of 'very good practitioners', which counts the technology, energy, aviation, life sciences, and financial services sectors among its areas of expertise. Disputes concerning trade secrets have been prominent in the group's recent workload. In December 2018 Robert Rhoda and Richard Keady joined from Bird & Bird.
- Advising online marketing and apps company Intellita in arbitration proceedings brought by its joint venture partners concerning an alleged breach of a shareholders’ agreement and a licence agreement.
- Acting for a US manufacturer in an HKIAC arbitration brought against its former supplier in China concerning alleged misappropriation of trade secrets.
- Assisting a prominent US chemicals company with enforcement proceedings following a successful trade secrets arbitration brought against a Chinese chemicals company regarding misuse of confidential information.
Hogan Lovells counts construction, engineering, energy, financial services, entertainment, life sciences, and leisure sector matters among its key strengths. The 'very professional' and 'detail-oriented' team is jointly led by Timothy Hill, who is highly experienced in acting for contractors and owners in engineering-related arbitrations, and the 'very hands-on' James Kwan, an 'expert in arbitration' with 'great analytical skills'.
Timothy Hill; James Kwan
‘The team is very professional and the response time is quick‘.
Menachem Hasofer and John Hickin head up the team at Mayer Brown. The practice is very well known for its expertise in construction-related arbitrations, and is also widely recognised for assisting Chinese state-owned enterprises with international disputes. Thomas So is a key name.
Menachem Hasofer; John Hickin
Other key lawyers:
The arbitration practice at Norton Rose Fulbright is led by Camille Jojo. The team is well known for acting for construction sector clients, and reports an uptick in work concerning disputes arising from infrastructure projects involving international contractors. Alfred Wu and consultant Philip Nunn are also key contacts.
At Shearman & Sterling, Nils Eliasson (who splits his time between the firm's Beijing and Hong Kong offices) leads the team. Recent work include Eliasson leading the advice to the Republic of China concerning an ICSID arbitration brought against the client by German company Hela Schwarz under the China-Germany bilateral investment treaty. Associate Kitty Zheng is another key name in the Hong Kong office.
Other key lawyers:
Kot Addu Power Company (KAPCO)
The People’s Republic of China
Nicolas Wiegand shares leadership of CMS' arbitration practice with Andrew Horton, who joined from RPC in 2018. The team continues to represent the Republic of Armenia in a construction-sector ICSID arbitration brought by a US citizen and a US company. Mariel Dimsey has been promoted to partner. Senior associate Sherlin Tung is also singled out.
‘CMS’ team has excellent knowledge of the industry, and is very hands-on’.
‘Nicolas Wiegand is diligent and a quick thinker’.
DLA Piper's 'client-oriented' team is jointly led by Kevin Chan and Ernest Yang. Recent work for the group includes handling international disputes for clients from the construction, retail, oil and gas, mining, energy, and financial services sectors, and is particularly experienced in both enforcing and resisting enforcement of arbitral awards. Satpal Gobindpuri is noted for his expertise in commercial disputes. Senior associate Andrew Chin is also a name to note.
Kevin Chan; Ernest Yang
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP's team is led by John Rhie, whose 'knowledge of cross-border issues, coupled with his keen intellect and judgement, make him ideal to handle any type of arbitration'. The practice counts contentious work in technology and intellectual property as core strengths, and has been handling disputes for clients from the agricultural, financial services and real estate sectors. Duncan Watson stands out as a 'very effective advocate'.
Other key lawyers:
‘Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP’s team is extremely well-organised and thorough; very creative, forceful and persuasive in presenting legal arguments; and effective and incisive in cross-examination of witnesses‘.
‘John Rhie and Duncan Watson share the following qualities: they are very intelligent, demonstrate solid mastery of the facts, and are quick thinkers on their feet‘.
- Acting as co-counsel to the Schindler Group and Schindler Management AG in a $300m arbitration against the South Korean government, concerning a dispute arising from an investment treaty.
- Acted as co-counsel to Faraday Future and its parent holding company in an HKIAC emergency arbitration against Evergrande Health Industry Group, concerning Evergrande Health’s withholding of a $2bn equity investment in the client.
Reed Smith Richards Butler
The arbitration practice at Reed Smith Richards Butler is widely recognised for its expertise in commercial disputes, and is frequently instructed in arbitrations regarding shipping, energy, M&A, and commodities disputes. Asha Sharma has broad experience in handling contractual and company-related issues, while Lianjun Li provides 'professional and practical advice' across a range of disputes, with a core focus on shipping matters.
Asha Sharma; Lianjun Li; Jason Toms
RPC's arbitration practice has undergone some changes of late, with Charles Allen joining as practice head from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP's Hong Kong office. Recent work for the team includes handling disputes for companies from the retail, technology and construction sectors. Jonathan Crompton has extensive experience advising clients in the financial services sector. In 2018 Andrew Horton moved to CMS; in 2019 Gary Yin and Ben Yates moved to Jingtian & Gongcheng's Hong Kong office.
Other key lawyers:
‘RPC’s team is pro-active and always on top of the issues at hand‘.