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.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Gearing QC

Other key lawyers:

Matthew Hodgson

Key clients

Nissan

Reliance Industries

Telenor

Goldman Sachs

BG Exploration and Production India

Carlyle Group

Clifford Chance

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'.

Practice head(s):

Cameron Hassall

Other key lawyers:

Thomas Walsh; Tania Tse

Testimonials

Thomas Walsh is an exceptional lawyer; he has an infectious passion for arbitration and is incredibly grounded‘.

Work highlights

  • 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'.

Practice head(s):

Simon Chapman

Other key lawyers:

May Tai; Justin D’Agostino

King & Wood Mallesons

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.

Practice head(s):

Paul Starr

Other key lawyers:

Barbara Chiu; Edmund Wan

Work highlights

  • 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.

Latham & Watkins LLP

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.

Practice head(s):

Ing Loong Yang

Key clients

Glory Empire Global

Shenzhen Yihua Computer

Pegatron Corporation

Lansha Information Technology (Shanghai)

Work highlights

  • 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.

Practice head(s):

Rory McAlpine

Other key lawyers:

Wilfred Ho

Deacons

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'.

Practice head(s):

Joseph Kwan

Dentons Hong Kong

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.

Practice head(s):

Keith Brandt

Other key lawyers:

Robert Rhoda; Richard Keady

Work highlights

  • 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

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'.

Practice head(s):

Timothy Hill; James Kwan

Testimonials

The team is very professional and the response time is quick‘.

 

Mayer Brown

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.

Practice head(s):

Menachem Hasofer; John Hickin

Other key lawyers:

Thomas So

Norton Rose Fulbright

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.

Practice head(s):

Camille Jojo

Other key lawyers:

Alfred Wu; Philip Nunn

Shearman & Sterling

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.

Practice head(s):

Nils Eliasson

Other key lawyers:

Kitty Zheng

Key clients

Kot Addu Power Company (KAPCO)

The People’s Republic of China

CMS

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.

Practice head(s):

Nicolas Wiegand

Testimonials

CMS’ team has excellent knowledge of the industry, and is very hands-on’.

Nicolas Wiegand is diligent and a quick thinker’.

DLA Piper

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.

Practice head(s):

Kevin Chan; Ernest Yang

Other key lawyers:

Satpal Gobindpuri; Andrew Chin

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'.

Practice head(s):

John Rhie

Other key lawyers:

Duncan Watson

Testimonials

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‘.

Key clients

Faraday Future

Schindler Group

Samsung Electronics

Work highlights

  • 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.

Practice head(s):

Asha Sharma; Lianjun Li; Jason Toms

RPC

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.

Practice head(s):

Charles Allen

Other key lawyers:

Jonathan Crompton

Testimonials

RPC’s team is pro-active and always on top of the issues at hand‘.

Squire Patton Boggs

At Squire Patton Boggs, regional arbitration head Peter Chow leads the practice. The team counts oil and gas, energy, construction and infrastructure sector disputes as core areas of instruction.

Practice head(s):

Peter Chow