Shanghai International Arbitration Commission: Shanghai International Arbitration Contributes to the Building of "One-Stop" Diversified International Commercial Dispute Resolution MechanismFrom: 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.
SHANGHAI INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION CONTRIBUTES TO THE BUILDING OF "ONE-STOP"DIVERSIFIED INTERNATIONAL COMMERCIAL DISPUTE RESOLUTION MECHANISM
Shanghai International Arbitration Commission
Shanghai International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (also known as "Shanghai International Arbitration Center", hereinafter referred to as "SHIAC") is one of the first batch of arbitration institutions selected into the "One-Stop" Diversified International Commercial Dispute Resolution Mechanism (hereinafter referred to as "One-Stop" mechanism or "One-Stop" platform) in December 2018. Since then, under the guidance and support from the Supreme People's Court and the "One-Stop" Platform, SHIAC has carried out fruitful work in the areas of providing arbitration services to Chinese enterprises "going global", exploring the innovation of the "One-Stop" working mechanism, strengthening the publicity of China's international arbitration, and developing China's international arbitration cooperation, etc.
1. Improving the quality and efficiency of arbitration services for Chinese enterprises to "go global"
From 2019 to 2021, SHIAC accepted 463 foreign-related cases with the aggregate dispute amounts of RMB 15.18 billion, among which the dispute amount in 13 individual cases exceeded RMB 300 million. Since its establishment, cases accepted by SHIAC have involved parties from 85 countries and regions around the world, including 46 foreign countries along the "Belt and Road" and 14 RCEP signatories. In addition to the parties' performance, the arbitration awards rendered by SHIAC have been recognized and enforced in 50 countries in accordance with the New York Convention.
With the improvement of China's comprehensive strength, the bargaining power of Chinese enterprises has also been continuously improved, which leads to an increasing number of contract negotiations choosing Chinese arbitration institutions as the forum. This is directly reflected in the arbitration cases accepted by SHIAC. In the past three years, the number of SHIAC arbitration cases involving Chinese enterprises "going out" has grown annually, including the cases in which the parties are Chinese but the disputes involve overseas projects. These cases involve countries such as the United States, Spain, Brazil, Japan, Brunei, Bolivia, Laos, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Zambia, Guyana and other countries. The disputes involve projects such as Brunei petrochemical project, India large-scale power facility project, Bolivia oil exploration project, Bangladesh power plant project, Pakistan photovoltaic power station project, Zambia mining development project, etc. Some of the projects were in the first batch of the "Belt and Road" projects.
In the procedural management of these cases, SHIAC adhered to the commercial nature and openness of arbitration, respected the autonomy of the parties and the independent decision-making of the arbitral tribunal, managed the arbitral procedures with efficiency and safeguarded the quality of the arbitration awards. In the past three years, SHIAC has accepted 92 cases in which the procedural language was English or both Chinese and English. In addition to the arbitration rules of SHIAC, SHIAC also managed arbitration cases applying the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules or the Bylaws of the International Cotton Association pursuant to the parties' agreements. In addition to the laws of Mainland China, SHIAC also managed arbitration cases applying the laws of other jurisdictions as well as the international conventions, such as the laws of the Hong Kong SAR, Japan, Singapore, Italy, Germany, the United Arab Emirates, or the ICC Uniform Rules for Demand Guarantees, the Uniform Customs and Practices for Documentary Credits, the INCOTERMS, and the Bylaws of International Cotton Association, etc.
2. Exploring the innovation of "One-Stop" working mechanism
The "One-Stop" Platform is a beneficial and innovative arrangement. Under the guidance of the basic concept of the "One-Stop" mechanism, SHIAC has made useful explorations in promoting the combined working mechanism featuring "litigation, arbitration and mediation". Since 2019, SHIAC has signed cooperation memorandums with the Pilot Free Trade Zone Court of Shanghai Pudong New Area People's Court, the Hainan First Intermediate People's Court, and the Hainan Higher People's Court, and established a viable cooperation mechanism.
In October 2021, the Shanghai Council for the Promotion of International Trade, which is the main body in establishing SHIAC, signed the Cooperation Memorandum with the Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People's Court and the Shanghai Federation of Industry and Commerce. The idea of the cooperation memorandum is to put the non-litigation dispute resolution mechanism in the front and make good use of commercial mediation. Under the cooperation memorandum, the courts may select qualified cases to commercial mediation. If the parties reach a mediation agreement, they can choose to submit their mediation agreements to SHIAC for confirmation through arbitration procedures, or they can submit the mediation agreements to the Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People's Court for judicial confirmation or obtaining a civil verdict for the same purpose. Relying on this mechanism, the courts, the arbitration institutions and the mediation institutions have formed cooperation in entrusted mediation, organizing seminars and professional training, etc. The efforts have successfully created a "One-Stop" mechanism for civil and commercial cases in which litigation, mediation, and arbitration are inter-connected and integrated, while performing their own duties in accordance with the laws.
In addition, SHIAC also actively cooperated with the "One-Stop" Platform and launched the online case filing system and the online case management platform. SHIAC has accelerated the construction of the full-process online case management system. Furthermore, SHIAC has exchanged the opinions with the Shanghai Higher People's Court on cooperation projects such as the online transference of judicial review rulings for arbitration.
3. Promoting the building of China's arbitration communication capacity
As one of the arbitration institutions in Mainland China earliest carrying out foreign-related commercial arbitration, SHIAC has always attached great importance to cooperation and exchanges with the international arbitration community, and to expedite the introduction of China's arbitration legal culture to the world by telling the "China story" and spreading the "China voice" of international arbitration. In 2021, SHIAC completed the re-election of its committee, as well as the renewal of its panels of arbitrators and mediators. After the reelection, the committee recruited three overseas arbitration experts as committee members for the first time, including Dr. Michael Hwang and Prof. Susan Finder, members of the China International Commercial Court Expert Committee. After the renewal, there are 1,115 arbitrators in the new Panel of Arbitrators of SHIAC, with 361 arbitrators from Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, Taiwan region and foreign countries, accounting for 32.38%. The arbitrators come from 80 countries and regions around the world, including 38 "Belt and Road" countries. In the past three years, an average of 32 overseas arbitrators participated in the arbitration proceedings every year via appointment by SHIAC. By participating in the arbitration proceedings under the administration of SHIAC, these overseas arbitrators have personally experienced the international development of China's arbitration in recent years, and deeper understanding of China's legal culture including "combination of mediation and arbitration", "institutional arbitration", etc.
In addition, since 2019, SHIAC has initiated and co-organized the "Shanghai International Arbitration Summit" and "Shanghai Arbitration Week" as side events of the China International Import Expo for three consecutive years. SHIAC also hosted the "Shanghai International Aviation Law Forum", the "Shanghai-Hong Kong Arbitration Connect Forum", "Shanghai-Singapore Arbitration Forum" and other annual international dispute resolution events. Furthermore, SHIAC also organizes, supports, and co-organizes more than 50 professional seminars for domestic and foreign commercial entities and legal service institutions every year. SHIAC has been committed to building a bridge for cultural exchanges in dispute resolution between China and foreign countries.
4. Expanding China's international arbitration cooperation
Benefiting from Shanghai's functional positioning as a gateway in serving China's "Belt and Road" construction, SHIAC has continuously expanded its "friend circle" in the international arbitration community, and accelerated the "Go Global" of "China's solutions". At present, SHIAC has signed cooperation agreements with 23 international dispute resolution institutions and related organizations to carry out cooperation in arbitrator recommendation, arbitration mechanism exchange, and arbitration personnel training.
Focusing on the "Belt and Road" initiative, SHIAC has established a number of professional platforms for serving national economic and trade diplomacy strategies, including the China-Africa Joint Arbitration Center Shanghai and the BRICS Dispute Resolution (Shanghai) Center, to provide legal guarantees for cross-border economic and trade exchanges. Among them, the "China-Africa Joint Arbitration" mechanism initiated by SHIAC has become a model for Chinese arbitration institutions to explore a new path for international arbitration cooperation. In November 2015, SHIAC and the Arbitration Foundation of Southern African established the China-Africa Joint Arbitration Mechanism, and took the lead in establishing the China-Africa Joint Arbitration Center Shanghai.
In the past six years, under the promotion of SHIAC, the China-Africa Joint Arbitration Mechanism already has 6 members: Shanghai, Johannesburg, Beijing, Shenzhen, Nairobi, and Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa. The China-Africa Joint Arbitration Mechanism has been written into the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Beijing Action Plan (2019-2021) and the Dakar Action Plan (2022-2024).
So far, the parties in the cases handled by the China-Africa Joint Arbitration Center Shanghai have covered numerous African countries such as Uganda, South Africa, Egypt, Mauritius, Zambia, Chad, Seychelles, Ghana, Nigeria, Algeria, etc. In July 2022, as important achievement of the China-Africa Joint Arbitration Mechanism under the "Forum on China-Africa Cooperation-Legal Forum", the Constitution China-Africa Joint Arbitration Center and the China-Africa Joint Arbitration Center Rules jointly formulated by SHIAC were officially released, marking a new big step of China-Africa legal cooperation.
In the future, SHIAC will continue to cooperate with the China International Commercial Court and take advantage of its professional and international arbitration to promote the practical function of the "One-Stop" Platform, and create a stable, fair, transparent, reliable international business environment with rule of law. SHIAC will also rely on the resources of Shanghai as an international dispute resolution hub to jointly promote the publicity of the "One-Stop" Platform for expand its international influence, demonstrate China's achievements and innovations in foreign-related legal construction, and accelerate the construction of an international commercial dispute resolution mechanism with Chinese characteristics.
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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.