On the afternoon of May 29, 2019, the Second International Commercial Court of the Supreme People's Court of China held a public hearing in Xi'an concerning the dispute of shareholder qualification confirmation between Ruoychai International Group Co.,Ltd. ("the Plaintiff"), Red Bull Vitamin Drink Co.,Ltd. ("the Defendant") and Inter-Biopharm Holding Limited ("the Third Party"), which is the first case heard by the China International Commercial Court of the Supreme People's Court ("the CICC").
As one of a series of cases involving Red Bull that has been accepted by the Second International Commercial Court, this case concerns the confirmation of Red Bull's shareholder qualification. According to the Civil Procedure Law of the People's Republic of China, Provisions of the Supreme People's Court on Several Issues Regarding the Establishment of the International Commercial Court, Procedural Rules for the China International Commercial Court of the Supreme People's Court and relevant judicial interpretations, the Second International Commercial Court accepted five cases involving Red Bull. This case is heard by a collegial panel of five CICC judges: Wang Shumei, Sun Xiangzhuang, Zhang Xuemei, Ding Guangyu and Guo Zaiyu.
Previously, the collegial panel has held two pretrial conferences on May 15 and May 27, during which the parties to this case exchanged the evidence and determined relevant procedural matters. Today's hearing lasted for about 4 hours, and the parties fully debated on the following five issues:
1) who is the actual contributor of the 7% shares in dispute;
2) who actually performs shareholder duties and exercises shareholder rights of the 7% shares;
3) whether the parties have reached a proxy agreement concerning the 7% shares;
4) whether the Plaintiff should be registered as the shareholder of the 7% shares;
5) whether the limitation period for the Plaintiff's requests has expired.
Since the official establishment of the CICC on June 29, 2018, the Supreme People's Court has formulated procedural rules for the CICC, working rules of the International Commercial Expert Committee, rules of the "One-stop" Diversified International Commercial Dispute Resolution Mechanism, marking a good start and the smooth operation of the CICC. By the end of last year, the CICC had accepted several cases involving parties from Japan, Italy, Thailand, etc. Some cases have already entered pretrial procedures. With China's continuous Reform and Opening-up and the construction of the Belt and Road Initiative, China's economic ties with countries around the world have become increasingly close, and the demand for effective and timely resolution of international commercial disputes has also increased accordingly. The establishment of the CICC not only conforms to the trend of international rule of law development, but also has a major significance for equally protecting of the legal rights and interests of Chinese and foreign parties, for creating a stable, impartial, transparent and predictable business environment under the rule of law, and for serving and safeguarding the construction of the Belt and Road Initiative through its fair, professional, convenient and cost-effective international commercial dispute resolution mechanism.
Today's court hearing has received extensive public attention. Reporters from home and abroad attended and gave coverage of the hearing. The hearing was also broadcast live at Chinacourt.org. More than 80 people including representatives of the National People's Congress, members of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, foreign ambassadors, special supervisors of the Supreme People's Court, members of the CICC International Commercial Expert Committee, representatives from international commercial arbitration and mediation institutions, and university teacher and student representatives attended the hearing.
The court will render the judgement at a later date.
(Reporter: Long Fei)
*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.