Editor's Note: The Second Seminar of the International Commercial Expert Committee of the Supreme People's Court and Appointment of New Members of the International Commercial Expert Committee was held successfully on December 8, 2020. The theme of this seminar is the Latest Developments of International Commercial Dispute Resolution Mechanism and the Research on Relevant Issues on International Law. The participants, on site or virtually, had discussions on the two topics, the Development of International Commercial Dispute Resolution Mechanism: New Situation and New Challenges and the Research and Application of International Law Related Issues in the Post-Pandemic Era, respectively. The texts of speeches delivered by the participants would be posted on the CICC's website.
China’s Practice of Developing An International Commercial Dispute Resolution Mechanism
President of Shanghai University of Political Science and Law Liu Xiaohong
Honorable Chief Justice Zhou Qiang, Justices, Members of the International Commercial Expert Committee, Colleagues,
It is my great honor to be appointed as a member of the International Commercial Expert Committee and to share with you my points of view on the development of the international commercial dispute resolution mechanism. Following the inspiring speeches of five expert committee members on the same topic,the views of whom I deeply agree with, and as the only scholar from the Chinese mainland in this panel, I would like to speak about the development of the international commercial dispute resolution mechanism from the perspective of China's practice. At the same time, as an educator, I also plan to touch upon the cultivation of legal talents in the development of the international commercial dispute resolution mechanism in my speech.
As the world is undergoing momentous changes unseen in a century, Xi Jinping Thought on the Rule of Law stresses the coordinated promotion of both domestic and global governance, and the role of the rule of law, in building a community of shared future for mankind. The settlement of international commercial disputes plays a key part in the modernization of the system and the capacity of governance of the Chinese government, in the role of China in the global governance, and in the elevation of the judicial competitiveness of Chinese courts.
Based on the relevant practices of China in recent years, I think the position of China in participating in the development of international rule of law, especially in the settlement of international commercial disputes, has been made clear and can be highlighted as follows.
First and foremost, promoting globalization is the unwavering commitment of China. In recent years, the rising trend of anti-globalization, due to multiple reasons including economic and political ones, has caused damage to the international rules. However, in the unstoppable wave of globalization, anti-globalization has made nothing but a few splashes. In response to this global context, Chinese leadership has made it clear on many diplomatic occasions that China has all along been a staunch defender of globalization and a facilitator of globalization.
In terms of international commerce, without globalization the modern international commercial rules wouldn't have been set up in an all-around way. A strong international commercial dispute resolution mechanism is integral to promote global business relations and maintain international commercial rules. As a result, it stands to reason that the international commercial dispute resolution mechanism ought to be emphasized and promoted, in an effort to deepen globalization.
In this regard, the Supreme People's Court of China has issued a series of judicial documents to promote and safeguard opening-up in recent years. It was in this context that the China International Commercial Court was established and gradually became a brand-new highlight to exemplify the Chinese judiciary's efforts in promoting opening-up. In September 2020, the Supreme People's Court issued "Guiding Opinions on the People's Court Service to Guarantee Further Expanding the Opening-up (2020)" ("Guiding Opinions"), giving more emphasis to the establishment of the international commercial dispute resolution mechanism. The "Guiding Opinions" stresses the specialty and professionalism of the dispute resolution mechanism, and support the branch offices set up by foreign arbitration institutions in certain areas upon registration and record-filing to provide arbitration services to international commercial cases based on arbitration agreements.
Secondly, promoting diversified dispute resolution is an important goal of China to develop the international commercial dispute resolution mechanism. In recent years, with the adoption of the 2019 HCCH Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Civil or Commercial Matters and the United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation, and as more states have joined the New York Convention, a diversified dispute resolution mechanism with its pillars as litigation, arbitration and mediation has been formed. More options are available for the parties as international commercial courts are established in many countries.
In the face of a diversified demand for dispute resolution, the Supreme People's Court of China has in recent years made great efforts to promote the construction of a "one-stop" dispute resolution platform, so as to facilitate the fast and efficient resolution of domestic and international disputes. On the basis of this "one-stop" dispute resolution platform, the China International Commercial Court (CICC) is working on the inclusion of well-known commercial arbitration and mediation institutions from China and abroad in the platform. Going forward, how to give full play to the "one-stop" platform, while promoting fair and efficient resolution of disputes without breaking party autonomy, deserves our attention.
Thirdly, a dispute resolution mechanism enhanced by information technology is a new frontier for China in developing its international commercial dispute resolution mechanism. With the rapid advancement of communications technology, informatization has become a prominent feature and an important driving force of a new round of globalization, and the digital economy has increasingly become a new source of global economic development. After the outbreak of COVID-19, a dispute resolution mechanism enhanced by information technology has exhibited enormous potential for being put into practice, revealing the massive advantage of an online dispute resolution mechanism in uplifting efficiency, cutting down costs and providing convenience for the parties.
For a long time, the Supreme People's Court has devoted to promote the construction of a smart court and improve the information service. The informatization of Chinese courts has become a shining highlight of the ongoing judicial reform, which sets an example for courts around the world. Especially in dealing with the pandemic, the smart courts "have made a difference".
At present, as the prevention and control measures against COVID-19 have become normalized, we are confronting the challenge of how to further informatize the operation of CICC. For internal coordination among the international commercial courts, we should explore effective online methods to coordinate the case handling between the first and second international commercial courts and the headquarters of the Supreme People's Court, and set up online connectivity between the courts and their partner institutions. In terms of rule-making, we should, on the basis of the existing dispute resolution rules and the characteristics of online methods, consider to promote the formation of binding and exemplary guidelines in evidentiary rules, statutes of limitation, litigation costs, etc., so as to facilitate online litigation between Chinese and foreign parties.
Finally, strengthening international exchanges and cooperation in the judicial field and cultivating foreign-related legal talents serve as sustainable driving forces for the development of the international commercial dispute resolution mechanism in China. Indeed, the development of international commercial dispute resolution mechanism, including the CICC, necessitates international exchanges and cooperation and mutual learning. In recent years, the Supreme People's Court has attached great importance to and promoted international exchanges and cooperation in the judicial field in various ways. In April of last year, Shanghai University of Political Science and Law was honored to be entrusted by the Supreme People's Court to hold the first seminar for judges from member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) at the China National Institute of Judicial Exchange and Cooperation for SCO, which achieved sound international influence. On behalf of Shanghai University of Political Science and Law, I would like to extend our sincere thanks to the leadership of the Supreme People's Court for their trust. We will follow the key message of Chief Justice Zhou Qiang's speech at the 15th Meeting of the Supreme Court Chief Justices of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Member States on 30 October, 2020, and "create new ways of judicial exchanges and cooperation by taking advantage of the China National Institute of Judicial Exchange and Cooperation for SCO and other platforms", so as to make greater contributions to international judicial exchanges.
"The key to success lies in people." Strengthening the cultivation of foreign-related legal talents is an important aspect of promoting foreign-related legal work. As an educator, I also hope that the Supreme People's Court will continue to strengthen its cooperation with universities and institutions in the training of foreign-related legal talents. In recent years, People's Courts at all levels have rolled out legal internship programs and made great achievements. One of my students also had the honor to work as an intern at the Supreme People's Court, which greatly improved his ability to carry out research and practice. Therefore, I would suggest that on the basis of the existing court internship programs, excellent students with international law and foreign-related legal backgrounds could be selected to be interns in the China International Commercial Court, offering them a high-level platform to observe and learn. At the same time, young legal talents with relevant education background could be selected as members of foreign-related commercial trial teams, so as to foster the next generations of foreign-related legal talents.
Distinguished experts and colleagues, the world is undergoing momentous changes unseen in a century, which bring about an increasing number of new situations and new challenges for international commercial dispute resolution. Challenges and opportunities always go hand in hand. I sincerely believe that, with joint efforts and the strong support of legal experts from China and abroad, CICC is going to exert key influence and maintain great competitiveness globally, while making its due contributions to the development of international rule of law.
Related Links: 【研讨会主题发言五】刘晓红：国际商事纠纷解决机制发展中的中国实践
*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.