Hong Kong's Financial Dispute Resolution Scheme will be expanded with effect from January 1 2018 and July 1 2018 by amending the jurisdiction and terms of reference of the Financial Dispute Resolution Centre. Alongside the recent changes to allow third-party funding in arbitration, the changes to the scheme show that alternative dispute resolution is coming of age for financial disputes in Hong Kong where there is an imbalance of power between parties.
The Arrangement on Reciprocal Recognition and Enforcement of Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters by the Courts of the Mainland and of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) was recently signed by the Supreme People's Court and the HKSAR government. This is the sixth arrangement with the mainland on mutual legal assistance in civil and commercial matters and the third arrangement providing for recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters.
Defendants should welcome the recent judgment in Fiscalink International Ltd v Yiu Yu Sum Alex, in which the court struck out the plaintiffs' claims against a majority of the defendants on the basis that the lack of progress over many years was an abuse of process such that the entire action against those defendants should be dismissed. The court's judgment is another example at first instance of a pragmatic application of the relevant principles concerning dismissal for abuse of process.
The High Court recently provided another landmark judgment reaffirming the narrow scope of legal professional privilege. In proceedings between the Serious Fraud Office and Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation Limited (ENRC), ENRC unsuccessfully attempted to protect documents created during internal investigations into suspected bribery and corruption, claiming legal professional privilege.
The High Court recently rejected a claim by RBS that interview notes taken by the bank and its external lawyers in the course of two internal investigations were privileged, finding that neither legal advice privilege nor lawyers' working papers privilege applied. In doing so, it confirmed the narrow approach taken to the definition of a 'client' in Three Rivers (No 5).
The High Court recently clarified what constitutes a warranty, including its ability to be construed as a representation of fact for the purposes of bringing a claim under Section 2(1) of the Misrepresentation Act 1967. It found that the plaintiff's claim that the defendant had induced it to enter into a share purchase agreement by making false representations contained in certain warranties in the agreement had no prospect of success.
The High Court has struck out a number of claims brought by shareholders in what was, in 2008, Lloyds TSB against its directors. The claims alleged that the directors owed fiduciary and tortious duties in the context of providing information to shareholders and in seeking their approval of a transaction which resulted in Lloyds TSB's takeover of HBOS in November 2008.