4 Pump Court silks target Hong Kong with arbitration launch

Six silks from commercial set 4 Pump Court are to launch a new venture in Hong Kong aimed at attracting arbitration specialists from around the globe.

The new structure, Arbitration Chambers Hong Kong, is being put together by Australian arbitration specialist Gavin Denton.

Christopher Moger QC explained: “It will be for arbitration and only arbitration. The idea is that we’ll draw in members from more than one jurisdiction.”

The six silks will be joined by seven juniors from the set. They will all be based in London but by banding together in Hong Kong aim to attract a fresh wave of instructions.

It follows an expansion drive by the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC) in 2011 in which it doubled the size of its premises and ploughed investment into facilities.

Moger said Denton was currently in talks with a firm in South Korea with a view to adding more arbitrators from the jurisdiction after which it would look to the US and Australia for further additions.

“I hope our success will encourage other chambers members to become associates of the office at a later stage,” he added.

Moger said it was a “forward looking” decision taken by barristers who wanted to grow their practices internationally.

Competition to attract international arbitration between Hong Kong and Singapore has become fierce in recent years. Many believe the decision to plough investment into the HKIAC came in response to Singapore’s Maxwell Chambers.

Only two sets have so far looked to move into the South East Asia market by establishing a presence in the region. Essex Court Chambers and 20 Essex Street broke with tradition in 2009 by opening offices in Singapore (19 October 2009).

Arbitration Chambers Hong Kong is expected to go live in the summer, although the opening date is not set in stone. Moger said premises were currently being fitted out and there will be room for expansion. It is anticipated that growth will initially be cautious while the silks test appetite for their presence in the region.

The six silks are:
Christopher Moger QC. Year of call: 1972; Silk: 1992
Jeremy Nicholson QC. Year of call 1977; Silk 2000
Nicholas Vineall QC. Year of call 1988; Silk 2006
Alex Charlton QC. Year of call 1983; Silk 2008
Andrew Neish QC. Year of call 1988; Silk 2009
Sean Brannigan QC. Year of call 1994; Silk 2009