Court's HK people’s assessor system yields fruitful results

Hong Kong people’s assessors with the Qianhai Cooperation Zone People’s Court have been playing an increasingly important role in resolving business disputes involving Hong Kong-funded companies in Qianhai since the first batch of 13 Hong Kong people’s assessors were sworn in three years ago.

With their professional expertise, they had helped handle 386 disputes for which Hong Kong laws were applicable as of June this year, eliminating the negative impacts of the Chinese mainland’s judiciary system that have arisen from different social backgrounds and enhancing the judicial credibility of the international cooperation area. 

Law Wai-hung was one of the first 13 Hong Kong people’s assessors at the Qianhai court. He helped handle the Qianhai court’s first case involving a Hong Kong-funded company for which Hong Kong laws were applicable after the first batch of Hong Kong people’s assessors was sworn in. The case grabbed wide attention and recognition.

Most of the 13 Hong Kong people’s assessors in the first batch were recommended by Hong Kong-funded enterprises and joint-venture law firms in Qianhai. The candidates were required to have expertise or experience in finance, insurance, intellectual property rights, the Internet, modern logistics or finance and leasing.

“I am honored to be one of the Hong Kong people’s assessors at the Qianhai court,” Law said. “And I feel motivated to devote more passion and expertise to this job.” Law is the chairman of Hong Kong Mediation Centre and president of the Academy of International Dispute Resolution & Professional Negotiation. He is an experienced consultant in international business and an expert in international dispute resolution.

Law has been involved in a number of cases in which the two parties chose to apply Hong Kong laws over the past few years. “In addition to providing advice to the collegiate panel on Hong Kong laws and trading practices, I also use my mediation expertise to help clients choose better dispute resolution methods. I have a profound understanding of the open trial system of the Qianhai court and the professionalism, fairness and efficiency of the dispute resolution mechanism of the Qianhai court,” Law said.

Currently, there are 32 Hong Kong people’s assessors aged between 30 and 66 at the Qianhai court, with 20 of whom having expertise in sci-tech consultancy, finance, investment, logistics, public affairs, the cultural industry, intellectual property rights, accounting or medicine. The other 12 are ordinary people’s assessors. Most of the people’s assessors are university-educated.

The Qianhai court has seen an increasing number of cases related to Hong Kong/Macao/Taiwan-funded companies over the past few years, and the Hong Kong people’s assessors have played an important part in resolving the cases.

The appointment of Hong Kong assessors by the Qianhai court is an important institutional innovation that the court has made to deepen the comprehensive reform of the judicial system. It fully demonstrates the self-confidence and openness of the socialist judicial system with Chinese characteristics and strengthens Shenzhen-Hong Kong judicial exchanges and cooperation. It is conducive to promoting the construction of the pilot demonstration area of socialism with Chinese characteristics in Shenzhen and creating a fair and just international business environment for the development of Qianhai and the whole of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.