At present, Hong Kong lawyers are prohibited from charging outcome related fees in arbitration. Lawyers in some jurisdictions could offer flexible fee structures to clients in arbitration.
In view of Hong Kong's status as a leading centre for arbitration services, the Law Reform Commission sees the value in studying this topic in respect of arbitration.
In October 2019, a sub-committee co-chaired by Ms Kathryn Sanger and Ms Briana Young was established. The Sub-committee will review the current position relating to outcome related fee structures ("ORFSs") for arbitration, consider whether reform is needed to the relevant law and regulatory framework and, if so, make such recommendations for reform as appropriate.
The members of the Sub-committee (in alphabetical order) are:
|Co-chairs:||Ms Kathryn Sanger, Partner, Herbert Smith Freehills
Ms Briana Young, Foreign Legal Consultant (England & Wales)/Professional Support Consultant, Herbert Smith Freehills
|Members:||Mr C M Chan, Consultant, Anthony Siu & Co.
Mr Matthew Gearing, QC, Barrister (England & Wales) and Solicitor-Advocate (Hong Kong)
Dr Benny Lo, Barrister and Chartered Arbitrator
Mr José-Antonio Maurellet, SC, Barrister
The Sub-committee’s secretary is Ms Kitty Fung, Acting Deputy Principal Government Counsel.
The Sub-committee published a Consultation Paper in December 2020 proposing that the law in Hong Kong should be amended to permit lawyers to use ORFSs for arbitration taking place in and outside Hong Kong. It also made recommendations on the operation of individual regimes relating to ORFSs.
The Commission published a Report in December 2021 recommending that the law in Hong Kong be amended to lift the prohibitions on the use of ORFSs by lawyers in arbitration taking place in and outside Hong Kong. It also made recommendations on the appropriate form of regulation and the specific safeguards relating to ORFSs.