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Address by Rimsky Yuen at the Third Seminar of the International Commercial Expert Committee of the Supreme People's Court of China

From:          Updated: 2022-09-21   

Editor's Note: The Third Seminar of the International Commercial Expert Committee of the Supreme People's Court and Reappointment Ceremony of the First Group of Expert Members was held successfully on Augest 25, 2022. Over 40 experts from more than 20 countries and regions focused on the theme of the Development, Challenges and Countermeasures of Cross-Border Commercial Disputes during the seminar. Extensive and in-depth discussions were held within the framework of four specific issues. The texts of speeches delivered by the participants would be posted on the CICC's website. 


Rimsky Yuen

Co-Chair of the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre,

 Chairman of the Hong Kong Mediation Association Ltd

Chief Justice Zhou Qiang, Honourable Judges of the Supreme People's Court, Fellow Members of the International Commercial Expert Committee, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen:

First of all, may I express my gratitude to the Supreme People's Court ("SPC") for re-appointing me as a Member of the International Commercial Expert Committee ("Committee") of the China International Commercial Court ("CICC"). To me, this is a great honour and privilege. Further, may I also thank SPC for giving me this opportunity to participate in this seminar.

The setting up of CICC in 2018 is definitely a significant milestone in the legal and judicial history of China. Although only around 4 years have lapsed since the setting up of CICC and although 4 years is not a long period in terms of the development of a judicial institution, we have in the past 4 years witnessed the initial success of and contributions made by CICC.

First, from the domestic perspective, CICC is a specialist court within China's existing judicial hierarchy with an international element. Not only does CICC sit well with the existing domestic judicial structure, it has proved itself to be a creative addition which enhances the overall functions and image of the China Judiciary.

Second, from the international dimension, the setting up of CICC showcases the international community China's commitment to the rule of law and a rule-based legal regime for commercial activities. This aspect has particular importance when viewed in the context of international trade and the Belt and Road Initiative. Of all people, the business community places great importance on legal certainty as well as an effective and fair dispute resolution mechanism. Further, the setting up of CICC facilitates stronger interflows between the Chinese Judiciary and judiciaries of other jurisdictions. One of the examples is CICC's active participation in the activities of the Standing International Forum of Commercial Courts through the past 4 years. In a globalized commercial world, the importance of dialogues amongst the world's international commercial courts hardly requires further emphasis. 

Third, taking a macro view of the international dispute resolution landscape, the 'One-Stop' Platform for Diversified International Commercial Dispute Resolution ("One-Stop Platform") set up within CICC's regime is a uniquely innovative feature which distinguishes CICC from other international commercial courts.

In the dispute resolution context, there is neither panacea nor magic design that suits all forms of disputes. Different disputes in different contexts involving different people call for different means of dispute resolution. The parties are usually in the best position to decide which means, of dispute resolution works best for their purposes. Not only does this mean full respect for parties' autonomy, the One-Stop Platform is consistent with the growing preference for hybrid means of dispute resolution at the international level as reflected by, among others, the rising popularity of different forms of multi-tier (or multi-staged) dispute resolution mechanism in different areas.

In this regard, allow me to say a few words in my other capacity as the Co-Chair of the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre ("HKIAC"). Pursuant to SPC's decision made on 22 June 2022, HKIAC became the very first arbitral institution outside the Mainland to be included in the "One-Stop Platform". HKIAC is most grateful for this privilege, as this decision by SPC amounts to a vote of confidence in HKIAC and will further enhance Hong Kong's edges as a seat of international arbitration. 

As I said at the outset, 4 years is not a long period in the context of the development of a judicial institution like CICC. The road ahead is full of challenges and opportunities. A lot of works remains to be done so as to ensure that CICC can consolidate its unique strengths, so as to meet the ever-changing dispute resolution landscape as well as to stay in the forefront of the international commercial dispute resolution development. 

On my part, I would personally like to raise two main aspects (among others) for the purpose of attracting further discussion.

The first aspect is how to promote and enhance the international business community's proper understanding of the strengths and independence of CICC, and thereby encourage business people (and especially their in-house lawyers) to incorporate CICC in the jurisdiction or dispute resolution clauses in their international commercial contracts. In this regard, we as members of the Committee also have a role to play. In short, we should explain the situation of CICC to the international community as and when we have an opportunity to do so.

The second aspect concerns enforcement of judgments. International commercial courts and international arbitration should not be competitors. However, there are situations where the end-users would have to choose between going before CICC or opting for international arbitration. The ease and effectiveness of enforcing the judgment or the arbitral award remain an important consideration. To make CICC more popular among end-users, (whether generally or among the Belt and Road community) the question of enforcement merits further study and research.

To conclude, the experience as a member of the Committee is most enjoyable, educational and fulfilling. I thank SPC again for the re-appointment and look forward to working with other members of the Committee and also colleagues within CICC and SPC. It remains for me to wish this conference every success and every one of you an enjoyable day.

Thank You!

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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.