Consultation, Cooperation and Common Development
- LUO Dongchuan, Justice of the Supreme People’s Court of China (the SPC)
Keynote Speech at the First Seminar of the International Commercial Expert Committee
26 August 2018
Distinguished members of the International Commercial Expert Committee, guests and colleagues:
Good morning, everyone!
First of all, I would like to warmly congratulate the first group of experts of the International Commercial Expert Committee of the SPC! I would also like to express my sincere welcome and heartfelt thanks to all the guests attending the seminar today!
With the continuously deepening process of China's reform and opening up as well as the implementation of the “Belt and Road,” the economic connection between China and countries all around the world is getting much closer. Thus, the demand for resolving international commercial disputes is also increasing.
It is against this context that the SPC establishes the China International Commercial Court to provide parties engaging in international commercial transactions with another method for dispute resolution. The establishment of the China International Commercial Court has borrowed experience from the Singapore International Commercial Court and the Dubai International Financial Centre Court, with adaption and innovation reflecting China’s system and characteristic. In accordance with the reform plan, we have established the International Commercial Expert Committee consisting of legal experts from different jurisdictions, with the hope to create an international commercial dispute resolution platform with the help of wisdom of legal experts from various jurisdictions. The China International Commercial Court and the International Commercial Expert Committee are both unprecedented. This seminar will be brainstorming, inviting experts here to share constructive and inspiring ideas and suggestions regarding the development of the China International Commercial Court. Here, I will firstly share some of my understanding on how the international commercial court should be developed.
1. Creating a business environment under the rule of law with a fair, transparent and efficient judicial system
The rule of law requires not only a comprehensive legal system, but also to achieve fairness and justice through such system. The establishment of the international commercial court is an effective complement to the current international commercial dispute resolution mechanism. The China International Commercial Court adheres to the following basic principles: the first is the principle of justice, efficiency and convenience. The construction of the China International Commercial Court reflects the new approach of how China's justice system pursues justice and efficiency. The Provisions of the Supreme People's Court on Several Issues Regarding the Establishment of the International Commercial Court clearly states that a dissenting opinion by minority of the collegial panel can be kept in the judgments, which is to ensure transparency and justice. The China International Commercial Court adopts the “First Instance being Final” approach, which is to ensure efficient proceedings. The second one is the principle of planning together, building together and benefiting together. The China International Commercial Court has attached importance to internationalization and established within it the International Commercial Expert Committee. It consists of a group of legal experts all over the world specializing in international laws and different national laws, who would jointly participate in the resolution of international commercial disputes. The first 32 experts of the International Commercial Expert Committee come from 15 jurisdictions, which represent a high degree of diversity. The third one is the principle of parties' autonomy. The China International Commercial Court legally guarantees the right of parties to choose the manner, venue, and governing laws to resolve their disputes, which reflects a high degree of flexibility and autonomy. The legitimate rights and interests of Chinese and foreign parties will be equally protected. At the same time, the court will actively fulfill the obligations under applicable international treaties, to which China is a signatory, and will accurately apply international treaties and conventions and respect international customary laws. The fourth is the principle of diversified methods of dispute resolution. International commercial mediation and arbitration have their own advantages. The China International Commercial Court will make effective use of them, and support the establishment of a diversified dispute resolution platform integrating litigation, mediation and arbitration, so as to offer "one-stop" judicial services with quality and efficiency to Chinese and foreign parties.
2. Developing the international commercial court system through innovation
With regard to the basic system of the International Commercial Court, after the discussion within the Adjudication Committee, the SPC has issued a judicial interpretation, i.e. Provisions on Several Issues Regarding the Establishment of the International Commercial Court, which regulates the scope of jurisdiction of the China International Commercial Court, the qualification of judges, and the procedure of the court etc. The enactment of normative documents, such as the Guidelines for Procedures of the China International Commercial Court and the Working Rules of the International Commercial Expert Committee, is ongoing now. I am looking forward to receiving valuable suggestions from you. The China International Commercial Court will further improve the relevant content considering opinions from different parties and form a solid foundation for the scientific and effective operation of the court. Meanwhile, we are also deliberating on how to build such “one-stop” dispute resolution platform that effectively integrates various dispute resolution mechanisms by supporting international commercial mediation and arbitration. Today's seminar will help us to develop ideas and further improve the relevant plans.
The construction of the China International Commercial Court has just started. We will utilize our own experience in establishing samrt courts, and borrow successful experience and practices from other countries, in order to make use of information technology in all aspects of the adjudication work of the international commercial court. For example, we are to establish an independent electronic case registration system, digitalized courtrooms and conference rooms to facilitate online mediation, evidence exchange, examination, and online trial, and to create a special case database and create unified standards for judgment-making based on analysis of relevant and comparable cases with the use of big data.
3. Promoting the enforcement of international commercial judgments through international cooperation
Enforceability of decisions is an important consideration for parties when choosing dispute resolution mechanisms. As you know, the New York Convention has successfully promoted the rapid development of international commercial arbitration in the world. The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law is promoting the introduction of an international convention on the enforcement of international commercial mediation agreements, which will also greatly accelerate the development of international commercial mediation. The issue of mutual recognition and enforcement of court judgments has received a lot of attention by the international community. The Hague Conference on Private International Law has restarted the negotiation of the Judgments Project while promoting the Convention on the Choice of Court Agreements. The international community has a clear and common goal - the effective way to resolve various disputes.
With regard to the recognition and enforcement of court judgments, the Chinese Civil Procedure Law provides that courts may recognize and enforce civil and commercial judgments made by foreign court in accordance with international treaties or reciprocal principles. By now, China has signed 39 bilateral treaties on judicial assistance in civil and commercial cases with other jurisdictions, 37 of which have already been effective. Most of these bilateral treaties contain mutual recognition and enforcement of civil and commercial judgments. Regarding multilateral treaties, China has signed the Convention on the Choice of Court Agreements. China also actively participates in the negotiation on the Judgments Project restarted by the Hague Conference on Private International Law. In judicial practice, Chinese courts have recognized and implemented several foreign commercial judgments in accordance with the principles of reciprocity, such as those made in Italy, Singapore and the United States. It has made positive contributions to the recognition and enforcement of civil and commercial judgments at the international level. In addition, the Supreme People's Court of China actively promotes mutual recognition and enforcement of civil and commercial judgments by signing memorandums of cooperation and memorandums guidance on recognition and enforcement of civil and commercial judgments with supreme courts from other jurisdictions. We hope that, with this platform of the China International Commercial Court and the International Commercial Expert Committee, we could further strengthen the cooperation and exchanges with other countries to provide a more efficient channel for the recognition and enforcement of civil and commercial judgments through.
Dear members of the Expert Committee, distinguished guests and colleagues, China International Commercial Court is an important symbol that the foreign-related commercial judicial system in China is developing with the times. We will continue to carry forward the spirit of the Silk Road - "peaceful cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning, mutual benefits" to continuously innovate and expand international cooperation and exchanges in the judicial field, and jointly provide parties engaging in international business with more high-quality and efficient judicial services. Let us work and make progress together!
*The original text is Chinese and has been translated into English for reference only. If there is any inconsistency or ambiguity between the Chinese version and the English version, the Chinese version shall prevail.