Introduction In October 1865, Sir Robert Hart, a former British diplomat and by then an official in the Qing Chinese Government, wrote to Empress Dowager Cixi expressing his opinion that China should desperately seek progress through investments in mining, the telegraph, the telephone and especially in railways. The reaction of Empress Cixi’s closest advisors was…

Witness evidence is an integral part of international arbitration, but challenges can arise from the interaction of different legal cultures, norms and languages.  Although issues can arise with any testimony given through an interpreter, Mandarin-speakers are more challenged, and challenging, because of 1) the stark differences between Mandarin and English (the lingua franca of IA);…

In June 2018, China launched its first and second International Commercial Courts (the “CICC”). The advent of them represents a prolonged attempt of China to upgrade its judicial system by transplanting the advanced international practices to, according to the Supreme Court of China (the “SPC”), “provide services and protection for the “Belt-and-Road” construction (the “BAR”)”….

The Inauguration On 2 July 2018, CIETAC established its second arbitration centre outside mainland China – the North America Arbitration Center in Vancouver, Canada. Co-organised by CIETAC and the Vancouver Economic Commission, the inauguration ceremony was graced by the presence of the Honourable Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology of the Government of…

Last year, I was appointed by Beijing Arbitration Commission (“BAC”) as the emergency arbitrator in an emergency arbitrator proceeding (“EA proceeding”), the first EA proceeding ever requested by the claimant in mainland China. Since the entire arbitration procedure has recently been concluded, I am delighted to share some of my thoughts on how to conduct…

Under the current Chinese legal framework, while PRC Courts are granted exclusive power to grant interim relief measures in support of arbitration 1) Chinese courts are granted the exclusive power to grant interim relief measures pursuant to the following provisions under PRC law: Article 28 of the PRC Arbitration Law (hereinafter “Arbitration Law”) provides that:…

On 29 June 2018, the Supreme People’s Court of China (the “SPC”) launched its First International Commercial Court in Shenzhen, Guangdong, and Second International Commercial Court in Xi’an, Shaanxi (the “Courts”). Correspondingly, the Regulations of the Supreme People’s Court on Certain Issues Concerning the Establishment of International Commercial Courts (the “Regulation”) has just taken effect…

On 5 March 2018, the ICC Court announced the establishment of a commission to address dispute resolution in relation to China’s Belt and Road Initiative. The commission will drive the development of ICC’s existing dispute resolution procedures and infrastructure to support Belt and Road disputes. The Belt and Road The Belt and Road is China’s…

The Belt-and-Road Initiative (“BRI“) is a grand vision about connectivity, infrastructure, trade and unimpeded foreign direct investment (“FDI“) flows. It is a path to China’s largest export market  – the European Union – which does not only propose to ‘transit’ Eurasia (and coastal East Africa), but to radically transform it. And, thus, mere construction and…

The Prior Reporting System, established in August 1995 (see SPC Notice on Prior Reporting System (1995)), has been the most notable intervention of the Supreme People’s Court (“SPC”) in the area of arbitration since the PRC Arbitration Law (1994) was enacted. During the China Arbitration Summit held in Beijing on 20 September 2017, Justice Xuefeng…

When applicants seek recognition and enforcement (“R&E”) of foreign arbitral awards in PRC courts, a challenge often raised by respondents is the non-existence of the main contract between the parties, where the arbitration agreement is contained. Respondents contend that the contracts provided by the applicants as the basis for arbitration are not authentic or duly…

On 30 December 2016, the Supreme People’s Court of China (“SPC”) released Opinion on Providing Judicial Protection for the Development of the Pilot Free-Trade Zones (“Opinion”), which was regarded as allowing ad hoc arbitration in China. On 23 March 2017, the Management Committee of Hengqin New Zone and Zhuhai Arbitration Commission (“ZAC”) jointly published the…

There have been a number of recent developments in Chinese judicial practice. These include the first known enforcement of foreign court judgments in China on the basis of reciprocity,1)References to the enforcement of foreign court judgments are generally intended to include recognition and enforcement of those judgments. as well as China’s signing of the Hague…

Debates about the propriety of investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) were revived by a recent letter by U.S. academics, which urged the abandonment of ISDS in the renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). This letter repeated arguments that are familiar from prior ISDS debates, such as that ISDS “grants foreign corporations and investors rights to skirt domestic…

Recent political developments have resulted in considerable geopolitical uncertainty and presented challenges to the international order. With the UK’s vote to exit the European Union, the election of Donald Trump as US president, the Western sanctions against Russia, and the rising North Korea nuclear tensions, 2017 ushers in a turbulent time where commercial parties’ usual…

With Manuel Castelo-Branco, Carlos Aguiar, Francisco Prol, Paula Costa e Silva, Carlos Alberto Carmona, Duarte G. Henriques, Sofia Vale, João Ribeiro-Bidaoui, and João Vilhena Valério The massive programme of investments that will take place under the “One Belt, one Road” (OBOR) initiative of the People’s Republic of China leaves no one indifferent. With the aim…

On March 9, 2017, a three-person ICSID Tribunal rendered an Award in Ansung Housing Co., Ltd. v. People’s Republic of China.  The case marks the second time where China appears as a Respondent before an ICSID tribunal.  The first case was brought by a Malaysian company in May 2011, but that case was discontinued on…

On December 30, 2016, the Supreme People’s Court (“SPC”) issued a set of new Opinions. It covers an array of matters relating to legal measures to expedite the development of Free Trade Zones. (Opinions on Providing Judicial Protection for the Construction of Pilot Free Trade Zones, December 30, 2016). Among other matters, the SPC sought…

Part I of this two-part blog post summarized the recent judgment of the Singapore Court of Appeal (“SGCA” or the “Court”) in Sanum Investments Ltd. v Government of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (“Sanum v Laos”). This Part II provides some comments on that judgment and its significance, including its impact on future Singapore court…

On 29 September 2016, the Singapore Court of Appeal (“SGCA” or the “Court”) released its much-anticipated judgment in Sanum Investments Ltd. v Government of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (“Sanum v Laos”). In a carefully reasoned decision, Singapore’s apex court reversed a decision of the Singapore High Court, which had previously held that an UNCITRAL…

Introduction On 12 July 2016, a five-member arbitral tribunal (the Tribunal) constituted under Annex VII of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) issued its long-awaited award on the merits in an arbitration brought by the Philippines against China. The tribunal’s jurisdiction is derived from UNCLOS; all State parties to UNCLOS…

Introduction As noted this firm’s previous post on the Chaolaixinsheng case (see Cao Lijun & Lu Leilei, To Be or Not to Be? The Practical Implications of Choosing Foreign Arbitration for Domestic Contracts, 6 March 2015), the Supreme People’s Court of China (the SPC) expressly ruled that foreign arbitral awards made in relation to purely…

Under Chinese law, disputes may only be submitted to arbitration outside China and/or under the auspices of foreign arbitral institutions if the dispute is “foreign related.”1)Chinese arbitration law adopts a two-track approach, applying different rules to domestic arbitrations and “foreign” or “international” arbitrations. This is consistent with the New York Convention and most national arbitration…