Business Litigation

Business litigation lies at the very heart of Gall’s day-to-day practice. Our practitioners have extensive experience in dispute resolution through the mediums of litigation, arbitration and mediation gained in all forums in Hong Kong.

Our litigation practice includes:

  • Cross border litigation
  • Recovery of sovereign debt
  • Contractual disputes
  • Debt recovery
  • Professional negligence
  • Insurance
  • Shareholder and partnership disputes
  • Defamation
  • Commodities and trading disputes
  • Judicial review
  • Trust and probate claims
  • Land disputes

Frequently asked questions

The claimant (the ‘plaintiff’) commences an action by issuing either a writ of summons or an originating summons to the appropriate court. Most civil actions are commenced by a writ. Where the action is commenced by a writ, a Statement of Claim, setting out the details of the plaintiff’s claim, can be served together with the writ or alternatively at a later date (after the defendant acknowledges service of the writ and disputes the claim). If the plaintiff decides to file and serve the Statement of Claim at a later date, the writ must be indorsed with an Indorsement of Claim. It is important to note that the Statement of Claim, like all pleadings, should be verified with a statement of truth, which may be filed at a later date but as soon as possible.

Limitation periods stipulated under the Limitation Ordinance (Cap. 347) apply. The actual limitation period depends upon the type of case:

  1. For contract claims (except where the contract is under seal): 6 years from the date of breach of contract.
  2. For contract under seal claims: 12 years from the date of breach of contract.
  3. For personal injury claims: generally 3 years from the date of the accident, or the date of knowledge of the injury by the Plaintiff, whichever is the later.
  4. For fatal accident claims: 3 years from the date of death or the date of knowledge of the death by the deceased’s dependent, whichever is the later.
  5. For other tort claims: 6 years from the date of the tort.

Under exceptional circumstances, the above limitation periods may be extended. For instance, time does not begin to run for a disabled claimant until he ceases to be under a disability or has died. Similarly, where the action involves an element of fraud or concealment, time does not begin to run until the plaintiff has discovered the fraud, concealment or mistake, as the case maybe.

Parties are encouraged to engage in mediation. If a party unreasonably refuses to attempt mediation, that court can make an adverse costs order against that party. Even if settlement is not reached during a mediation, parties can still agree to settle at any time up to the conclusion of the trial.

Mediation is a voluntary dispute resolution process conducted by a mediator. The mediator is usually legally qualified and he/she assists and encourages the parties to reach a settlement.

He/she cannot compel a settlement, rather the parties retain control of the process and the decisions. The mediation is informal and the process is confidential. A mediation typically lasts for a half-day or a full day, depending upon the complexity of the matter.

Judgments of the High Court, Court of Appeal and Court of Final Appeal can be enforced (a) inmost common law jurisdictions, and (b) in a number of countries including Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Austria, the Netherlands and Israel due to international agreements and arrangements.

Pursuant to the Foreign Judgments (Reciprocal Enforcement) Ordinance (Cap. 319A), an application can be made to the Hong Kong Court to register a foreign judgment for the payment of debt obtained in the superior court of a country specified in the Ordinance. Once leave is granted to register, the foreign judgment can be enforced in the same way as a Hong Kong judgment. Under the Ordinance, there are 15 designated countries, namely Australia, Bermuda,Brunei, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Austria, the Netherlands and Israel.

Whilst costs (for example, solicitor’s and barrister’s fees) can be awarded at any stage of the proceedings, usually costs are awarded to the winner at the conclusion of the matter. Note however that, in reality, the winning party will only recover between 40% to 60% of the actual costs incurred after taxation.

Their litigation strategy is strong; they’re quite flexible in terms of arrangements and providing a step-by-step approach. They will follow up regularly and are proactive in terms of thinking about what’s coming next.

Dispute Resolution – Chambers Asia Pacific 2020

Tier 1, Commercial and Transaction Disputes

Benchmark Litigation Asia-Pacific, 2020

“Extremely professional, concise, timely and creative.”
“Gall is a first-class firm, offering practical and cost-effective advice”

Outstanding Firm, Dispute Resolution – Asialaw Profiles 2020

Winner, Firm of the Year – Hong Kong

Benchmark Litigation Asia-Pacific Awards 2019

Tier 1 Firm, Commercial and Transactions Hong Kong Domestic Firms

Benchmark Litigation Asia-Pacific 2019

A boutique practice that ‘provides great technical advice and is sensitive to commercial issues’.

Leading Firm, Dispute Resolution – Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2019

Winner, Dispute Resolution Firm of the Year

The Asian Legal Awards 2019

Interviewees highlight the team’s timeliness and the quality of its advice. “They always come back to us quickly. They provide clear advice and understand what we are talking about very quickly,” a client reports. Further sources concur by saying that the team is “always on time” and “gives strong advice.”

Leading Firm, Dispute Resolution – Chambers Asia Pacific 2019

All the solicitors I have worked with at Gall are extremely competent, hard-working and demonstrate the ability to ‘think outside of the box’ in solving problems and issues that arise during the course of the litigation.

Outstanding Firm, Dispute Resolution – Asialaw Profiles 2019

Finalist, Hong Kong Firm of the Year

China Law & Practice Awards 2018