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Three's a crowd? Hong Kong publishes Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Bill

Overview

The Department of Justice of Hong Kong has recently prepared the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Bill which, if enacted, will significantly change the law relating to privity of contract in Hong Kong.


It is presently the case that only a party to a contract can enforce rights under that contract. This is known as the doctrine of privity of contract, a doctrine which has been at the heart of the law of contract at common law since its foundation. The effect of the Bill, if enacted, would be to alter this doctrine, so that a third party to a contract could enforce rights under that contract subject to being able to demonstrate that it was the manifest intention of the actual contracting parties that the third party should have the right to do so.


This briefing summarises the proposed exceptions to the scope of the Bill; and how the Bill differs materially to the English Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999.