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COVID-19 – Hong Kong Courts handling urgent and essential matters

09 April 2020. Published by Charles Allen, Partner & Head of Hong Kong office

On 8 April 2020, the Hong Kong Judiciary announced that the general adjourned period ("GAP") for court proceedings will continue until at least 3 May 2020.

During the GAP, court registries and offices are, for the most part, closed.  However, the GAP does not apply to "urgent and essential court hearings and/or matters".

What "urgent and essential" hearings and matters can still be handled during the GAP?

The list of urgent and essential hearings and matters includes:

• Filing: 
 - writs and other originating documents where a limitation period may expire during the  GAP;
 - documents where a time limit imposed by an "unless" order may expire during the GAP;
  - applications for leave to apply for judicial review where the time limit may expire during the GAP;
 - applications relating to urgent winding up and bankruptcy-related proceedings; and   
 - applications seeking leave to serve proceedings outside Hong Kong (including the PRC).

 • Hearings of "urgent matters" before the Duty Judge, e.g. applications for mareva injunctions and anton piller orders, or the appointment of provisional liquidators, in which case documents may be filed through one-way "no-reply" email accounts and, in some circumstances (in the case of submissions, authorities and hearing bundles), via a new e-Lodgement Platform.

This list may be "subject to change at short notice" so we will keep a close eye on any developments and provide relevant updates.

Need more clarification?

Please speak with us if you have any queries regarding the above. If you wish to make an urgent application to the Courts or are contemplating legal proceedings, the Courts may still be able to deal with your case.

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