Richard leads the Corporate & Commercial Team in Kennedys Hong Kong, and is Managing Partner of the Hong Kong office.  He is qualified in England and Wales (1989) and Hong Kong (1995).

Richard has over 30 years’ experience advising on a wide range of corporate and commercial work, principally for a life, health and general insurers, brokers and other insurance intermediaries.  This includes advising on the sale and purchase of companies, businesses and assets, portfolio transfers, regulatory and compliance issues, bancassurance, licensing and registration, agency and distribution, product development, employment, information technology contracts, general commercial agreements, joint venture, shareholder and strategic alliance agreements, procurement and supply, surety business and the giving and taking of security. 

Richard is consistently recommended by the legal directories; he is A Recommended Lawyer (Corporate, Insurance, Labour and Employment and TMT) - Legal 500 Asia Pacific and a Leading Individual (Insurance – Non-contentious) - Chambers Greater China.  He has a particular interest in the plain language drafting of contracts and other legal documents to ensure these are clear, concise and understandable.

Richard is author of Insurance and Reinsurance in Hong Kong, Thomson Reuters Practical Law, and regularly shares his thought leadership on a wide range of corporate, commercial and regulatory subjects in Hong Kong.

He is an External Examiner for the Post Graduate Certificate in Laws (PCLL) at The University of Hong Kong, City University of Hong Kong and the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Notable Practitioner for 'Insurance Non-Contentious (International Firms) (China)'
"Richard Bates is well placed to advise on regulatory matters within the insurance sphere, with particular experience assisting with international insurer security matters. In addition to handling corporate insurance mandates, he is also accustomed to handling general corporate and commercial matters."

Chambers Asia Pacific 2021

Richard Bates is known for his expertise on the non-contentious front, frequently engaged by general and life insurers on various regulatory compliance and licensing matters. A client describes him as a "very smart lawyer with quick turnaround time."

Chambers Asia Pacific 2020

Market recognition

  • Ranked in Band 2 for ‘Insurance: Non-contentious (International Firms)’ (China) by Chambers Greater China Region 2022

    • “Richard Bates is the leading partner of the firm’s corporate and commercial group. His practice focuses on transactional and regulatory mandates for insurance companies and financial institutions, including the acquisition and disposal of assets and businesses.”
  • Ranked in Band 4 for ‘Employment (International Firms)’ (China) by Chambers Greater China Region 2022

    • “Richard Bates draws on over two decades of legal practice in Hong Kong. He handles employment matters as part of a broader commercial law practice, often advising on contract drafting, hirings and issues arising from employee termination.”
  • Richard Bates is continuously named as a Leading Individual for ‘Insurance Non-Contentious (International Firms) (China)’ by Chambers Asia Pacific 2013 - 2021

    • “Richard Bates is well placed to advise on regulatory matters within the insurance sphere, with particular experience assisting with international insurer security matters. In addition to handling corporate insurance mandates, he is also accustomed to handling general corporate and commercial matters.”
      Chambers Asia Pacific 2021

    • “Richard Bates is known for his expertise on the non-contentious front, frequently engaged by general and life insurers on various regulatory compliance and licensing matters. A client describes him as a ‘very smart lawyer with quick turnaround time.’”
      Chambers Asia Pacific 2020

    • “He is also able to advise on licensing and product development within the sector and is popular among his clients, with one noting: ‘He is my go-to for insurance regulatory work. He is very approachable and offers practical knowledge, strong relationships with regulators and a good breadth of experience in this market.’”
      Chambers Asia Pacific 2019
  • Richard Bates is continuously named as a Leading Individual for ‘Employment (International Firms) (China)’ by Chambers Asia Pacific 2013 - 2021

    • “Senior practitioner Richard Bates draws on over two decades of legal practice in Hong Kong. He handles employment matters as part of a broader commercial law practice, often advising on contract drafting, immigration issues, hirings and redundancies.”
      Chambers Asia Pacific 2021
  • Ranked in Tier 3 for ‘TMT (Hong Kong)’ practice by Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2022

    • “The team is well-equipped to handle cyber and privacy-related matters with knowledge and industry connections needed to be able to support the matter across the region."

    • "Always helpful and responsive. Very efficient in delivering comprehensive but succinct legal advice which can be easily understood."
  • Ranked in Tier 4 for ‘Labour & Employment (Hong Kong)’ practice by Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2022

  • Richard Bates is named as a Recommended Lawyer for ‘TMT (Hong Kong)’
    “Led by corporate and commercial head Richard Bates, Kennedys handles a significant amount of IT-related contractual and data privacy work for the firm's impressive roster of insurance clients…the team has a particular strength in relation to project managing the incident response process for corporates in the region following data breach incidents.”
    The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2021

  • Richard Bates is named as a Recommended Lawyer for ‘Labour & Employment (Hong Kong)’
    The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2018 – 2019, 2021

  • Richard Bates is named as a Recommended Lawyer for ‘Insurance (Hong Kong)’
    The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2018 – 2021

Work highlights

  • Representing Winterthur Life - Re Winterthur Life & Anor [2005] 3 HKC 34 – first reported case on insurance portfolio transfers in Hong Kong.
  • Representing QBE - purchasing of PMI Mortgage Insurance Asia Limited from PMI Group Inc.
  • Representing QBE – purchasing of Hang Seng General Insurance from HSBC.
  • Representing Dah Sing General Insurance – domestication of Authorised Insurer.
  • Representing RL360° - Hong Kong counsel for purchase of Clerical Medical International from Lloyds Banking Group.
Market recognition
  • APL 500 - 2020 Recommended lawyer.png

    Recommended Lawyer

    The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2020

  • Chambers 2020 - Leading individual logo (Richard Bates).jpg

    Leading Individual

    Chambers Asia Pacific 2020

  • ap-recommended-lawyer-2021.png

    Recommended Lawyer

    The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2021

  • ap_recommended_lawyer (002)

    Recommended Lawyer

    The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2019

  • Chambers 2019- Leading individual logo (Generic).jpg

    Leading Individual

    Chambers Asia Pacific 2019

  • Chambers 2018- Leading individual logo (Richard Bates).png

    Leading Individual

    Chambers Asia Pacific 2018

  • APL 500 - APAC 2018 Recommended Lawyer.png

    Recommended Lawyer

    The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2018