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SJ backs mutual legal assistance

(April 23, 2017)

Mutual legal assistance in civil and commercial matters between the Mainland and Hong Kong is becoming more important with the continuous development of the two jurisdictions.
 
Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen made the statement today at the opening ceremony of a legal conference in Xian co-organised by the Supreme People’s Court and the Department of Justice.
 
The conference gathered experts in the legal and arbitration sectors from the two jurisdictions to review the development of mutual legal assistance in civil and commercial matters between the Mainland and Hong Kong.
     
Mr Yuen said the Basic Law supports mutual legal assistance between the two jurisdictions.
     
“Article 95 of the Basic Law stipulates that the HKSAR ‘may, through consultations and in accordance with law, maintain juridical relations with the judicial organs of other parts of the country, and they may render assistance to each other’. This article provides a solid constitutional basis for mutual legal assistance between the two jurisdictions,” he said.
     
When reviewing the development of mutual legal assistance in civil and commercial matters, Mr Yuen said the two jurisdictions have attained three arrangements - mutual service of judicial documents, mutual enforcement of arbitral awards and mutual enforcement of court judgments from both sides pursuant to choice of court agreements between parties concerned.
   
"The three arrangements are working well and play a significant role, especially the arrangement on mutual enforcement of arbitral awards. Not only does it enhance exchanges between the arbitration and legal sectors of the two jurisdictions, the arrangement also helps the HKSAR consolidate its status as an international legal and dispute resolution centre in the Asia-Pacific region."
       
He said the Supreme People's Court signed minutes with the department last year, in which both sides agreed to work on the arrangement for mutual evidence-gathering in civil and commercial matters, as well as the arrangement for reciprocal judgment enforcement in matrimonial matters, and the arrangement for reciprocal judgment enforcement in civil and commercial matters involving situations other than the presence of choice of court agreements.
 
The arrangement for mutual evidence-gathering was signed at the end of last year and took effect on March 1. The work on the remaining arrangements is ongoing, he added.
 
      


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