Articles: Class action rights
Webb on "Backchat" re policy address
With Starry Lee (Executive Council, LegCo, DAB), Albert Ho (LegCo, DP) and Nick Brooke (Harbourfront Commission, Science and Technology Parks Corp).
Working group to study class action proposals
HK Government, 27-Nov-2012
A day before the 6-month deadline for a response from Government to the Law Reform Commission's recommendations, Government defers the issue by announcing that it will set up a working group (to be appointed) to study and consider the proposals, which will hold its first meeting some time before 1-Apr-2013. They could have done that 6 months ago.
LRC proposes class action mechanism for HK consumers.
The full report
HK Government, 28-May-2012
But not for investors, and litigation funding companies will not be permitted. Champerty and maintenance will continue to be illegal - no reform there. Instead the LRC proposes that the Consumer Council should have a monopoly on funding class actions, beefing up the legal aid fund which takes up to 50% of the winnings. Overall, a huge disappointment, and even then, the Government might decide not to adopt the recommendations. HK deserves better.
Multiple statutory derivative actions
David Webb responds to the Legislative Council's invitation for comments on proposed amendments to the statutory derivative actions regime. In its current form it is unlikely to be useful to public shareowners of listed companies, but we suggest how to improve it. We also call on the Administration and Legislators to get behind class actions, litigation finance and contingent legal fees. Justice is the friend of fair societies, and litigation is the path to it. (18-Apr-2010)
Class actions for HK
In a potentially huge step forward for access to justice, the Law Reform Commission proposes a class action system for HK. The key issue is litigation funding. Rather than a government-sponsored gatekeeper fund, we need a free-market approach, with contingent legal fees and the abolition of archaic laws against champerty and maintenance, to allow self-funded lawyers and third party funders to bear the risks of loser-pays-costs. Take our opinion poll and tell them what you think! (17-Mar-2010)
Suitability in a disclosure-based market
SEHK has announced possible waivers of the profit criteria. We don't object, but the profit test should be scrapped. It has no place in a disclosure-based market, and is no substitute for better accounting disclosure requirements and effective legal remedies and deterrents, all of which HK still sorely lacks. We make proposals for those. (8-Jun-2009)
Building a Value Proposition for HK
HK Chief Executive Donald Tsang recently convened an Economic Summit of 33 people, which spawned 4 focus groups, including one on financial services, which in turn produced 3 working groups, one of which, headed by HKEx government-appointed director and Chairman Ronald Arculli, has sought submissions on the markets. This is our submission. (4-Oct-2006)
Government Rejects HAMS Proposal
In a dark day for corporate governance reforms, the Hong Kong Government has rejected the HAMS Proposal to establish an investor representation group. Without enabling legislation for a levy on investors' trading, there will be no funding and no HAMS. The news comes despite widespread endorsement from market participants who want investor representation, rights enforcement, and a higher quality market. (24-Apr-2002)
HAMS - Representing Minority Shareholders
Webb-site.com outlines our proposal for filling the vacuum of shareholder activism in Hong Kong. Investor rights are only of value if shareholders exercise them, and we explain how HAMS - the Hongkong Association of Minority Shareholders, would lobby for those rights, exercise them on members' behalf in quasi-class actions, and through Corporate Governance Ratings, incentivise good governance and deter shareholder abuse. Hong Kong can only maintain its regional financial market status and economic competitiveness if this void is filled. We'll also tell you how you can help. (4-Mar-2001)