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SPC’s Report on Mainland-Hong Kong Judicial Assistance Released

Tue, 30 Mar 2021
Categories: China Legal Trends

On the morning of 22 Jan., the Supreme People's Court (SPC) held a press conference to publish the Report on the Practice of Judicial Assistance in Civil and Commercial Matters between the Mainland and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (关于内地与香港特别行政区民商事司法协助实践的报告) (hereinafter referred to as "the Report").

The Report reviews the development process of the inter-regional judicial assistance system with Chinese characteristics and analyzes the implementation of inter-regional judicial assistance arrangements, said Shi Yanli (司艳丽), Deputy Director of the SPC Research Office.

Since the return of Hong Kong, the SPC has concluded eight arrangements for judicial assistance in civil and commercial matters with relevant authorities of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. To be more specific, the Arrangement on Reciprocal Recognition and Enforcement of Civil Judgments in Matrimonial and Family Cases by the Courts of the Mainland and of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (关于内地与香港特别行政区法院相互认可和执行婚姻家庭民事案件判决的安排) and the Arrangement on the 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 (关于内地与香港特别行政区法院相互认可和执行民商事案件判决的安排) are subject to the joint announcement of effective date by both sides after the relevant procedures such as the legislation of Hong Kong are completed; other six arrangements, including the Arrangement on Reciprocal Service by Entrustment of Civil and Commercial Judicial Documents by the Courts of the Mainland and of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (关于内地与香港特别行政区法院相互委托送达民商事司法文书的安排), the Arrangement on Reciprocal Obtaining of Evidence by Entrustment in Civil and Commercial Cases by the Courts of the Mainland and of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (关于内地与香港特别行政区法院就民商事案件相互委托提取证据的安排), 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 Pursuant to Choice of Court Agreements between Parties Concerned (关于内地与香港特别行政区法院相互认可和执行当事人协议管辖的民商事案件判决的安排), the Arrangement on Reciprocal Enforcement of Arbitral Awards by the Mainland and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (关于内地与香港特别行政区相互执行仲裁裁决的安排), the Arrangement on Reciprocal Assistance to Preservation in Arbitration Proceedings by the Courts of the Mainland and of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (关于内地与香港特别行政区法院就仲裁程序相互协助保全的安排) and the Supplementary Arrangement on Reciprocal Enforcement of Arbitral Awards by the Mainland and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (关于内地与香港特别行政区相互执行仲裁裁决的补充安排), have all come into effect and are being well implemented.

These arrangements reduce the procedural obstacles in cross-jurisdiction civil and commercial cases between the Mainland and Hong Kong, promote the circulation of civil and commercial judgments, and support arbitration to play a role in resolving cross-jurisdiction disputes.

In particular, the Arrangement on the Reciprocal Recognition and Enforcement of Civil Judgments in Matrimonial and Family Cases is hailed as a pioneering measure in the realization of judicial assistance between the two sides. According to statistics, of nearly 70,000 divorce cases filed by the parties with Hong Kong’s family court in the past three years, about 18% involved marriage that took place on the mainland. After the entry into force of this Arrangement, most of the judgments in cross-jurisdiction marriage and family cases are mutually recognized and enforced on both sides, thus providing more legal certainty for the relevant family members, especially for minor children.

Contributors: CJO Staff Contributors Team

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