THINK GLOBAL,THINK Hong Kong Huen Wong Immediate Past President The Law Society of Hong Kong Tokyo and Osaka 15 & 17 May 2012
(b) Hong Kong has been named as the world's freest economy for the 17th year in the Index of Economic Freedoms created by The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal. The Index ranks economies on a scale of one to 100 according to 10 economic measurements of openness, the rule of law and competitiveness. • The assessment has been made annually since 1995, to measure the freedom of the world's economies. 2010’s index took into consideration 183 economies' policy developments since the second half of 2009. Singapore came second, Australia was third and New Zealand came fourth.
Hong Kong has recently reformed its arbitration law. Hong Kong now adopts a unitary regime of arbitration on the basis of UNCITRAL Model Law for all types of arbitration, abolishing the distinction between domestic and international arbitrations. The Model Law is widely accepted by many jurisdictions around the world and is familiar to practitioners from civil law as well as common law jurisdictions. This further reinforces Hong Kong as a leading centre for international arbitration and dispute resolution.
Further, under the Mainland Judgments (Reciprocal Enforcement) Ordinance, by the choice of the parties, certain commercial judgments by either the Mainland Chinese courts or the Hong Kong courts may be enforced reciprocally by the other court.
As a world-class and well-established legal services provider, Hong Kong is fully capable to provide quality legal support to the demands of international businesses. • Currently, there are 1,266 registered foreign lawyers from 28 different jurisdictions and 72 foreign law firms, out of which more than 35% have US as their home jurisdiction. Ten Mainland law firms have registered offices in Hong Kong offering Mainland legal services and four of them practise in association with Hong Kong solicitors’ firms.
For the past 5 years, the number of registered foreign lawyers and foreign firms are steadily increasing at an average annual rate of 11% and 15% respectively. • There are 7,986 Hong Kong solicitors, out of whom 6,782 are holding a practising certificate. There are 764 Hong Kong law firms.
With the increasing opportunities arising from the opening up of the legal services market in the Mainland, 52 local firms (representing more than 6% of all local firms) have set up 67 representative offices across Mainland China, including all the major cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. • Besides, there are 23 Hong Kong solicitors’ firms which have set up a total of 39 Mainland representative offices in Beijing and Shanghai registered at the Ministry of Justice as representative offices of law firms from foreign countries.
Of The Am Law Global 100 law firms ranked by revenue (published in the October 2009 issue of The American Lawyer), 57 have establishments in Hong Kong, and 33 of them are practising as local Hong Kong firms of solicitors.
(i) Having a comprehensive international network and an excellent arbitration framework, Hong Kong is capable of providing high-end legal services to Japanese and international enterprises advising on different aspects of their businesses.
Hong Kong lawyers are internationally recognised for their skilled performance in resolving cross-boundary disputes. • Law firms in Hong Kong have hands on experiences in handling complex commercial deals in the world, including the recent well known global offering by the Agricultural Bank of China.
We are confident that our Hong Kong legal capabilities are able to effectively and efficiently service the needs of Japanese clients for relevant legal services when the opportunities come.