The Respondent’s challenge against the Mainland Award
The court granted the applicant (Applicant) leave to enforce a mainland Chinese arbitral award (Mainland Award) in Hong Kong under the Arbitration Ordinance (Ordinance). The respondent (Respondent) applied to set aside leave for enforcement on procedural and public policy grounds (Setting Aside Application). The Respondent claimed, inter alia, that he had not been validly served with documents and submissions in the arbitration, that he was not given the opportunity to nominate an arbitrator of his choice and that he could only appoint a lawyer to attend the second (but not the first) hearing of the arbitration (Hearing).
Further, the Respondent claimed that one of the three members of the arbitral tribunal (Arbitrator) was not physically present at the Hearing. Instead, the Arbitrator attended the Hearing remotely, but was seen moving from place to place in public throughout the proceedings and using only his mobile phone without any earphones. The Respondent argued that it was against public policy to enforce the Mainland Award when the Hearing was conducted in such a manner (Hearing Complaint).