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Wang Shumei: Building Capacity of the China International Commercial Court & Forming New Heights of International Commercial Law in Practice

From:          Updated: 2020-12-23   

Editor's Note: The Second Seminar of the International Commercial Expert Committee of the Supreme People's Court and the Appointment of New Members of the International Commercial Expert Committee has concluded 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, discussed 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 speeches of the participants would be posted on the CICC's website. 

Building Capacity of the China International Commercial Court Forming New Heights of International Commercial Law in Practice

Chief Judge of the Civil Division No.4 of the Supreme People's Court, 

Judge of the China International Commercial Courts  Wang Shumei

Dear members of the International Commercial Expert Committee, guests and colleagues.

First of all, I would like to extend my sincere congratulations to the newly appointed international commercial expert committee members. At the same time, I would like to extend a warm welcome and thanks to the expert committee members and guests who have long supported the foreign-related commercial and maritime adjudication.

At present, the covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the world's major change, meanwhile international rules and order are undergoing significant reforming. President Xi Jinping proposed to coordinate domestic and foreign-related rule of law and firmly maintain the international system with the United Nations as the core and the international order based on international law. President Xi Jinping also proposed to promote the reform of global governance, accelerate the construction of the China International Commercial Courts (“CICC”), and enhance the capacity of research and application of international law.

I would like to have a brief exchange with you on the latest progress of the construction of the CICC, as well as the path for the future development and work of CICC.

1.The latest situation of the establishment of the CICC.

The establishment of CICC is a significant reform in keeping with the development of the international rule of law, meeting the growing demand for international commercial dispute resolution, strengthening international cooperation in rule of law, and promoting high-quality joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative. In the past two years, the CICC has adopted a series of measures in terms of system innovation, mechanism construction, adjudication work, and international cooperation, and rich fruits have been achieved.

(1) A standardized, professional, and international operating mechanism has taken shape.

To promote the construction of CICC, the Supreme People's Court established the International Commercial Court Coordination and Guidance Office, which is responsible for coordination of adjudication management, foreign-related communication, and the daily work of members of international commercial committee. Based on the Provisions of the Supreme People’s Court on Several Issues Regarding the Establishment of the International Commercial Court and the Procedural Rules for the China International Commercial Court of the Supreme People’s Court, the Supreme People's Court formulated the Regulations on Case Management of International Commercial Courts to optimize case management procedures and clarify the division of responsibilities. These regulations provide institutional rules for the adjudication work of the CICC. For example, recently, the Second International Commercial Court inquired about a newly accepted stand-by letter of credit fraud dispute and held a case management meeting. During that meeting, the opinions of all parties were solicited one by one on procedural issues such as notarization and certification of the power of attorney of foreign parties, exchange of evidence, pre-trial meetings, and hearing schedule, and the timetable for the case trial process was determined. At the same time, the Consultation Letter on the Pretrial Trial Diversion delivered to the parties, the opinions of parties on whether to mediate was consulted. Chinese and foreign parties truly feel fairness, standardization, and high-efficiency in these innovations and procedural rules implemented by the CICC.

(2) The international influence and credibility of judicial decisions are gradually increasing.

The CICC has accepted 18 international commercial cases and concluded 6 cases. Among them, the case of Guangdong Bencao Medicine Group Co., Ltd v. Bruschettini S.R.L., which was about product liability, was the first substantive judgment of the CICC. This judgment clarified the rules that allow seller who has fulfilled their recall obligation but did not sign a contract with the producer to seek relief in accordance with the relevant provisions of product recalls. The decision on the case confirming the validity of the arbitration agreement effectively regulated the approach that the parties list third parties of the arbitration agreement as co-defendants in order to avoid arbitration clause. Therefore, this decision unified the ideas and standards for handling such cases.

The trial and adjudication of these cases fully demonstrated the adjudication capabilities of the CICC and clarified the adjudication rules for similar disputes, which is of strong guiding significance.

(3) The “one-stop” international commercial dispute resolution mechanism that organically connects litigation, mediation, and arbitration is steadily progressing.

5 international arbitration institutions, 2 international mediation institutions are included in the Supreme People’s Court’s “one-stop” international commercial dispute resolution mechanism, and members of the international commercial expert committee are engaged to serve as expert mediators. This is a major feature and highlight of the construction of the CICC. Within this mechanism, the CICC and the international commercial arbitration institutions have established the docking and information sharing mechanism between arbitration and judicial procedures. For cases where the parties are willing to mediate, an expert mediator or an international commercial mediation institution may been trusted in the first place. A "one-stop" dispute resolution mechanism that effectively links mediation, arbitration and litigation has been established. The platform of foreign law ascertainment services, established by the Supreme People's Court and five foreign law ascertainment service institutions last year, played an important role during the pandemic this year. The published research reports on the legal systems and cases related to force majeure in more than 60 countries and regions have provided references for all sectors of society and taken a solid step towards solving the problem of "difficulty in identifying extraterritorial laws."

2.The future development and ways of the CICC.

In the next step, we will follow Xi Jinping Thought on Rule of Law to promote the in-depth development of CICC in the direction of standardization, specialization, internationalization, diversification, and intelligence. We will turn the CICC into a new highland for the research and application of international law, and provide powerful judicial services and guarantees for implementing high-level opening-up and opening up a new situation of win-win cooperation.

Firstly, a new mechanism for international commercial dispute resolution will be innovated.

CICC will further optimize case handling procedures and working mechanisms and encourage and respect parties to international commercial disputes to choose the CICC. Members of chambers of commerce or industry associations would be guided through these organizations to give priority to the CICC in international trade disputes. The CICC will properly introduce well-known foreign commercial arbitration institutions and mediation institutions into the "one-stop" international commercial dispute resolution mechanism to further promote international judicial cooperation and enhance mutual trust in the international rule of law. At the same time, we will support the frontier regions of opening-up to develop international commercial dispute resolution mechanisms in an innovative manner. For example, the CICC strongly supports foreign arbitration institutions to establish in specific areas after registration, and the strengthening of international commercial adjudication forces in the Shanghai Lin-Gang Special Area, Hainan Free Trade Port and other places. We will also actively promote the establishment of online "one-stop" international commercial dispute resolution information platform as soon as possible, so as to provide domestic and foreign parties with full-process online dispute resolution services from case filing, evidence exchange, mediation, and court hearings, in order to provide litigation convenience for litigation participants .

Secondly, the new development of international commercial rules will be promoted.

The CICC will adhere to the high quality strategy of international commercial adjudication and adjudicate every case in a fair and efficient manner, to provide fair, efficient and convenient judicial remedies for Chinese and foreign parties. The CICC will provide rules and guidelines for the trial of similar cases by high-quality judgments, and risk alerts for Chinese and foreign investors. The CICC firmly supports economic globalization and actively participates in the formulation of international rules. The CICC sustains judicial services and guarantees to promote the liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment, as well as the opening-up of the global economy. The CICC strictly abides by international treaty obligations and promotes the unified development of international civil and commercial judicial assistance rules. The CICC committed to enhance the mutual recognition and enforcement of civil and commercial judgments and arbitration awards between different countries. The CICC will further cooperate with universities and research institutions on key issues in the field of international commercial rules and justice, in order to achieve a batch of high-quality research results. These provide intellectual supports for a good interaction between the international and domestic rule of law.

Thirdly, create a new platform for international judicial cooperation.

We will give full play to the International Commercial Expert Committee, a new model of cooperation in the international rule of law. We will extensively carry out international judicial exchanges. These exchanges will be the important bridge to properly resolve international commercial disputes and promote the coordination and integration of international commercial laws. We will strengthen the exchanges and cooperation with international commercial courts of other countries, and learn from the advanced experience of the rule of law from other countries, and deeply promote the construction of CICC in line with international standards.

Fourthly, build a new base for talents training in the international rule of law.

We will further improve the selection, training, and management mechanisms for the judges of CICC. We will cultivate a group of high level foreign-related legal talents who enjoy international perspective, and are familiar with international rules, and are able to participate in international legal affairs, and are good at safeguarding national interests, and have the courage to promote changes in global governance rules.

The construction of the CICC is a systematic project. We are willing to work together and move forward with all Chinese and foreign international commercial experts to promote the CICC to reach a new level, and promote the common prosperity of international rule of law and rule of law of China!

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*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.