Hong Kong Court Considers Arbitrability Of Lawyer-Client Fee Disputes

Hong Kong court considers nature and arbitrability of lawyer-client fee disputes

Herbert Smith Freehills review a January 2018 Hong Kong High Court decision where the Court stayed its proceedings in favour of arbitration under an arbitration agreement between a firm of solicitors and its former clients, holding that there is nothing in Hong Kong law or public policy to indicate that a dispute between a solicitor’s firm and its client over fees is not arbitrable. The authors observe that the Hong Kong Court has reiterated that a party challenging the validity of an arbitration agreement must approach the courts only in exceptional situations and if parties take the risk of challenging an arbitration agreement, they must be prepared to bear the financial brunt, including payment of indemnity costs if their challenge fails.

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About Phillip Rompotis

Phillip practices as a barrister and arbitrator in Hong Kong. He has over 25 years’ litigation and arbitration experience in commercial disputes relating to construction & engineering, financial services, joint venture & shareholders agreements, technology, trusts, property and landlord & tenant. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, the Singapore Institute of Arbitrators, the Malaysian Institute of Arbitrators, and a member of various lists/panels of arbitrators.

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