Escalation (or multi-tier dispute resolution) clauses are commonly found in commercial contracts. For example, an agreement may require the parties to enter into good faith negotiation, mediation, conciliation and/or adjudication before an arbitration can be commenced. In the case of C v D, the Hong Kong Court of Appeal confirmed that, subject to the contrary agreement of the parties, alleged non-compliance with preconditions to arbitration is a matter of admissibility for an arbitral tribunal. The decision will be welcomed by parties agreeing to arbitrate their disputes in Hong Kong. It confirms that Hong Kong law is clearly aligned with the prevailing position internationally that a tribunal should decide on the admissibility of all claims before it, with narrow grounds for interference by national courts. This briefing also discusses the position in England and Australia.