Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, General Secretary Xi Jinpin and other central leaders have made significant statements regarding developing foreign-related legal service industry. The Decision of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on Several Major Issues on Fully Developing the Rule of Country by Law, passed in the 4th Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, has also made some important arrangements as to strengthening foreign-related legal work. In order to echo the calls of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the needs of society, Wuhan University School of Law, in coordination with Hubei Provincial High People’s Court,established Wuhan University Center of Ascertainment of Foreign Law (hereinafter referred as the Center) in 2016,with Professor Yongping Xiao serving as its Director. The Center is intended to provide services of ascertaining foreign laws for people’s courts and government departments, ensuring the correct application of foreign laws so as to promote the public trust to China’s judiciary. It is also aiming at becoming the center of training foreign-related intellects and researching and teaching of foreign laws. The Center is characterized by its deep strength, long history, affluent practices, clear specialty and good reputation.
The Center is founded on Wuhan University School of Law which is hailed as the Main Force of the Luojia Hill and Wuhan University Institute of International Law which is a National High-end Think Tank. A group of jurists emphasizing the comparative law study early in China, such as Han Depei, Li Shuangyuan, Yao Meizhen, laid a deep academic foundation for the Center. Nowadays, the Center has as its researchers well-known jurists such as Huang Jin, Wan Exiang, Zeng Lingliang, Xiao Yongping who have in-depth research in private international Law and comparative law, as well as academic leaders such as De La Rasilla, Xiao Jun, Xiong Qi, Li Chengliang, Zou Guoyong,Liang Wenwen, Gan Yong, Zhu lei, Kuang Zengjun, Nan Yumei, Xu Jia, Peng Qinxuan who have a good command of foreign languages such as Spanish, German, English, Russian, Korean, Dutch, etc. The researchers have professional skills of high-level in field of ascertainment of foreign laws.
Although the Center was set up in 2016, Wuhan University School of Law and Wuhan University Institute of International Law, as one of the main institutes teaching and researching international and comparative law in China, has provided a large number of legal advice for China’s government agencies and people’s courts since 1980s when China started its reform and opening-up. For instance, in 1981, Professor Han Depei and Professor Li Shuangyuan were invited by related government agencies to provide legal advice regarding contractual dispute between Baosteel, which was then one of the major steel manufacturers in China, and a Japanese company and a German company, helping Baosteel avoid huge compensation to foreign companies. Nowadays, Professor Huang Jin, Professor Xiao Yongping, Professor Guo Yujun, Professor Zhang Hui, Professor Qi Tong and other scholars have also been commissioned by the Supreme People’s Court and other lower levels of people’s courts, making outstanding contributions to improving the application of foreign laws in China’s judicial practice.
Before the set-up of the Center, as mentioned before, legal scholars of Wuhan University School of Law and Wuhan University Institute of International Law have already taken part in the ascertainment of foreign laws in the judicial practice. After the foundation of the Center, legal scholars of the Center have provided related government agencies, Hubei Provincial Higher People’s Court, Wuhan Municipal Intermediate People’s Court, Wuhan Maritime Court and other courts with abundant legal advice as to the application of foreign laws in foreign-related cases.
The Center can ascertain a wide range of foreign countries’ laws, such as English speaking countries, it also can ascertain the laws of countries such as German, French, Spanish.
Because of the deep strength, long history, affluent practices of the Center, the Center has established cordial cooperative relationships with many domestic courts and arbitration institutes,as well as international organizations and institutes such as UNIDROIT,Hague Conference on Private International Law, and has played an important part in the work of ascertainment of foreign laws in many foreign-related cases, achieving good social effects, which brings the Center good reputation in the field of ascertainment of foreign laws.
Appendix: Introduction to the Researchers of the Center
XIAO Yongping, Cheung Kong Scholars Distinguished Professor, received his bachelor’s degree and PhD in law in 1988 and 1993 respectively from Southwest University of Political Science and Law and Wuhan University School of Law, did research as visiting scholar at Groningen University Faculty of Law in 2013, at Birmingham University School of Law in 2006, at Temple University School of Law in 2005, at Max-Planck Institute of Foreign Private and Private International Law in 2000, at Harvard-Yenching Institute of Harvard University in 1998. Now he acts as Cheung Kong Scholar distinguished professor, director of International Law Institute (the China Top Think Tank) at Wuhan University, and holds as Standing Vice-chairman of China Society of Private International Law, Standing director of China Law Society, Member of International Law Committee of Ministry of Foreign Affair of PRC, Member of Advisory Committee of Supreme People’s Procuratorate of PRC, and Member of Advisory Committee of Supreme People’s Court of PRC. He was elected Top Ten Nationally Distinguished Young Jurists by the China Law Society in 2010, and the “Outstanding Teacher of China” by Baosteel Education Foundation in 2015.
HUANG Jiefang, graduated from Wuhan University, McGill University, Canada and Leiden University, the Netherlands, PhD. Professor, Institute of International Law, Wuhan University. Expert of 1000Plan. Senior Legal Officer, International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO); member of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Task Force. Previous positions: Dean of the Law School, Civil Aviation University of China; Vice President of the International law Association (Canadian Branch); Senior Teaching Fellow, Institute of Air and Space Law, McGill University; Member of PhD Opposition Committee, Institute of International Air and Space Law, Leiden University; Chief and Best Judge of International Air Law Moot Court. Delivery of lectures in more than 20 countries. Representing ICAO in various meetings of the United Nations. Served as one of the three members of ICAO Appeals Board. In 2010, prepared, coordinated and organized the Diplomatic Conference in Beijing with the participation of nearly 80 countries, at which the first Beijing Convention in aviation history was adopted.
Nie Jianqiang, Professor of law and Doctoral Supervisor of Wuhan University Institute of International Law, Vice-Director of Wuhan University Institute of International Law, Senior Researcher of University of Melbourne School of Law. Doctor Iuris of Bern University, Switzerland, visiting Scholar of Swiss Institute of Comparative Law, Columbia University School of Law. Served as visiting Professor of Rome I University, Swiss World Trade Institute, University of Monash, Australia.
Professor of law and Doctoral Supervisor of Wuhan University Institute of International Law, the Director of Wuhan University Art Law Center, the Vice-President and Secretary-General of China Society of Private International Law, the Secretary-General of HAN Depei Jurisprudence Foundation of Wuhan University, the Vice-President of Association of Hubei Province Urban-Rural Construction and Environmental Resource Protection, the Specialist of Legal Committee in Chinese Museums Association, the Specialist of Legal Committee in Cultural Relic Academy China, the member of International Law Association, the associate member of International Academy of Comparative Law, the Deputy Secretary-General of the Standing Committee of People’s Congress of Hubei Province, the member of the 12th People’s Congress of Hubei Province.
De La Rasilla
Prof. Dr. Ignacio DE LA RASILLA is the Han Depei Chair Professor at Wuhan University Institute of International Law. He was educated in Spain (LLB, University Complutense of Madrid); Switzerland (MA and PhD, The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva), The United States of America (LLM, Harvard Law School; Fellow in Global Governance, Law and Social Thought, Brown University) and Northern-Italy (Post-Doctoral Max Weber Fellow in Law, European University Institute, Florence). Prof. Dr. de la Rasilla is the author of two research monographs published by Cambridge University Press (2020) and Brill / Nijhoff (2017). He is the co-editor of three edited volumes published by Cambridge University Press (2019) Brill/Nijhoff (2017) and Thompson Reuters, (2013) respectively and the editor of four international law journal symposia. Prof. Dr de la Rasilla has published more than sixty journal law articles and book chapters in international law subjects including in world leading SSCI journals such as the European Journal of International Law, International Journal of Constitutional Law, Leiden Journal of International Law, Law and History Review, Human Rights Law Review.
Zheng Tang received her BA degree in International Law from the Wuhan University, LLM from Manchester University and PhD from Birmingham University. She was a Professor at the Newcastle University; British Barister, she was Senior Visiting Scholar at the Duke University and Max Planck Institute in Comparative and International Private Law; and external expert in European Commission Civil Justice Program External Expert, British Academy Global Challenging program and Poland National Science Centre.
Professor Tang’s research areas include private international law, cross-border e-commerce and consumer protection, international commercial law and cross-border IP law. She is one of the Advisory Board members of the Journal of Private International Law; editor of the Chinese Journal of Comparative Law; and editor of conflictoflaws.net. She published four English monographs and over 30 articles in peer-reviewed journals. She is one of the authors of Cheshire, North and Fawcett: Conflict of Laws (15th ed).
Professor in the Institute of International Law of Wuhan University where he has been a faculty member since 2003. He holds the Professorship for International Law since 2012.Prof. Qi is currently the executive director of Centre of Wuhan University Oversea Investment Law, standing director of Chinese Society of International Economic Law, vice dean of Wuhan University Law and Policy Research Institution, and Deputy Chief Editor of Wuhan University International Law Review, the head of the teaching and research section of International Economic Law.He completed his Ph.D. at Wuhan University in 2003. Before that, he has a colorful working experience in different type enterprises in China, including State-owned bank, large-scale securities company and private listed business.
He also has rich experience with his academic career. He had been invited by the US Department of State to join its International Visiting Leadership Program (IVLP). He was engaged as a research fellow of International Law in North East Asia Forum. He had visited the University Van Amsterdam in 2006 for one year, and visited the Erasmus University Rotterdam for half a year in 2016. Prof. Qi has collaborated actively with China’s Judicial and Arbitral institutions. Since 2015, he was employed as a Specialist Expert of China Foreign-Related Commercial & Maritime Trial of the Supreme People’s Court of China, and worked as a part-time Specially Engaged Expert of the Forth Civil Division of the Supreme People’s Court of China.
Zhang Hui is a Professor of Law at Wuhan University School of Law and Institute of International Law. After studying in this School for ten years, he was awarded a doctorate of law and joined the faculty in 2003. As a visiting scholar, he studied European Law in University of Paris 1 from 2005 to 2006, and received a diploma of French University (third stage). He is the deputy editor-in -chief of Wuhan University International Law Review. He published articles in International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law, Journal of International Maritime Law, Journal of East Asia and International Law, International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, and books(monographs): Maritime Liens(in Chinese, 2005), The Hierarchy in International Law (in Chinese, 2013; Higher Institution Research Achievement Award-Humanities and Social Science, Ministry of Education of China, 2015).
Xiaojing Cui, born in May 1975, is a professor of law and doctoral supervisor at Wuhan University, and serves as the Vice President of the Fiscal and Tax law Research Association of the Hubei Law Society. She has been a Fulbright senior visiting scholar in Georgetown University in the United States, a visiting scholar in Paris I University (Panthéon Sorbonne) and a Post-doctoral fellow in Paris XI University. Professor Cui is mainly engaged in the research of basic theory and frontier issues of international taxation law. She has managed and completed the National Social Science Fund Major Project and Youth Project, Humanities and Social Sciences Youth Project and Major Project of the Ministry of Education, as well as further projects entrusted by the Ministry of Finance and the State Administration of Taxation. She has published in excess of thirty academic articles in Chinese and English with authoritative and high-profile journals, such as the "Chinese Journal of Law", "China Legal Science", "Peking University Law Journal", "Studies in Law and Business", "Modern Law Science", "Law Review" and "Law Science". Several of these contributions have been republished by reputable journals including "Xinhua Digest", "Chinese Social Science Digest" and "Information Center for Social Sciences of Renmin University of China". A number of her personal monographs have also appeared works by an authoritative publishing house.
Liu Ying, Huizhou descent, doctor in law, Professor, doctoral supervisor, University of Oxford academic visitor, Luojia Youth Scholar, leader of Youth Academic Group of Wuhan University. Professor Liu mainly focuses on International Trade Law, International Commercial Law and International Financial Law research, having deep insight in WTO law, FTA and FTZ rules, international uniform substantive business law and financial supervision law. Professor Liu has Published several monographs，nearly a hundred article in SSCI and CSSCI journals, and taken charge of almost 20 projects. Professor Liu also works as an arbitrator, a part-time lawyer, and governmental authority counsel.
Dr. Xiao Jun holds a PhD degree of law from University of Saarland. He is currently an Associate Professor of Law at Wuhan University School of Law and Wuhan Institute of International Law, director of China International Economic Law Society and WTO seminar of China Law Society, associate general secretary of Permanent Forum on China International Investment Arbitration. He has published treatise such as Das Prinzip der Nichtdiskriminierung in einem künftigen multilateralen Investitionsabkommen, and has published papers at home and abroad in English, German, Chinese, such as How can a prospective China-EU BIT contribute to sustainable development (Journal of World Energy Law & Business). He has taken charge of projects such as China National Funding for Social Sciences.
Dr. Kuang Zengjun holds a PhD degree of law from Lomonosov Moscow State University. He is currently professor of Wuhan University China Institute of Boundary and Ocean Studies, Member of Russian Association of International Law, Member of the Editorial Board, Moscow Journal of International Law, Member of the Editorial Board, State and Law (Russia), Vice Chief Editor of Journal of Boundary and Ocean Studies.
Dr. Xiong Qi holds a PhD degree of law from University Freiberg, Germany. He is Associate Professor of School of Law, Wuhan University, Guest Researcher of Comparative Law Institute, Waseda University, Japan, Guest Researcher of Center of Consumer Protection, Wuhan University, Council Member of Criminology Research Society of Chinese Law Society. He has won Price for Excellent Paper in Chinese Law Society and Hubei Province Law Society for several times, and has taken charge of several research projects of national level or provincial level.
Dr. Gan Yong is currently an Associate Professor of Law at Wuhan University School of Law and Wuhan Institute of International Law. He acquired his Ph.D. degree in Law from Wuhan University, and conducted post-doctoral research at University of Pittsburgh School of Law, Pennsylvania, the United States. He is a practicing lawyer in mainland China and is also admitted to New York Bar in the United States. He served as an exchange expert at the Department of Treaties and Law of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the People’s Republic of China, and a legal consultant for the case team specializing in pursuit of the red wanted at the Wuhan Municipal Supervisory Bureau. Professor Gan visited the Paris Arbitration Association in 2011, and Max Plank Institute of International Private and Comparative Law at Hamburg in 2013. He published extensively in both Chinese and English on private international law and other legal topics.
Dr. Zou Guoyong holds a PhD degree of law from Wuhan University. He visited University of Trier. He’s currently a Associate Professor of Law. He wrote extensively on private law and international law.
Liang Wenwen holds a PhD degree of law from the University of Manchester. She is associate professor of School of Law, Institute of International Law, Wuhan University, English law expert with the Supreme People’s Court Fourth Tribunal Centre for the Ascertainment of Foreign Law, communicating scholar of the Department of Treaties and Law, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, visiting scholar to the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law, UNIDROIT, and Geneva University, academic observer of UNIDROIT diplomatic conferences on intermediated securities (2008, 2009), Chinese government expert of UNIDROIT meetings of government experts on close-out netting (2012). She has taken part in projects such as China National Funding for Social Sciences on “US court jurisdiction over Chinese enterprises”(2017) and Ministry of Justice grant on “Coordination of Jurisdiction in International Civil and Commercial Matters”, Ministry of Education grant on “Mandatory rules in international privatelaw”(2015). She has published treatise such as Title and Title Conflicts in respect of Intermediated Securities under English Law（Cambridge Scholar Publishing 2013）.
Dr. Lei Zhu is a Research Associate at the Institute of International Law of Wuhan University. After receiving his LLB degree in Wuhan University, he studied comparative law at the Bergen University in Norway. He obtained his PhD degree from the University of Bangor in Wales. His research dealt with the application of EU competition law to state monopolies and public services. His dissertation will be published as a monograph by Springer early next year. His research interests include private international law, EU law and competition law. He was granted research funding by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Justice and the Supreme People’s Court in China. He has published articles in journals such as Asia Pacific Law Review, Hong Kong Law Journal and International Journal of Law, Policy and Family.
Dr. Nan Yumei holds a PhD degree of law from Korean University, a post-doctor researcher at Wuhan University School of Law. She is currently serving as vice-president of Wuchang District People’s Court. She wrote extensively on Chinese corporation law, both in Korean and Chinese.
Dr. Xu Jia holds a PhD degree of law from University of Göttingen. She is Research fellow of Institute of International Law, Wuhan University. She was Visiting Scholar of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of PRC, Research associate of Institute for International Law and European Law of University of Göttingen, associate of the chairman of Interest Group of International Economic Law in European Society of International Law (ESIL). She has published papers such as Freihandelsabkommen und ihre Umweltschutzregelungen (with Peter-Tobias Stoll and Hagen Krüger, Zeitschrift für Umweltrecht (ZUR), 2014, 387-395), and has taken part in a project of Ministry of Commerce as to state-owned business.
Dr. Peng Qinxuan holds a PhD degree of law from Utrecht University, with intermediate level of Dutch language and with native fluency of English (IELTS 8.0). She is associate researcher at the China Top Think Tank Wuhan University International Law Institute, editor of Wuhan University International Law Review(Wuhan), Vice-Chair of the Association for Post-doc Researchers at Wuhan University(Wuhan), Secretary General to the Wuhan University Alumni Association Benelux (Kvk-registered, the Hague), part-time researcher at the Human Rights Research Centre of Central South University (Changsha) and at the Cross-Cultural Human Rights Centre of Free University of Amsterdam(Amsterdam). She was visiting scholar to Peking University, Cologne University and Oslo University. She as published dozens of academic articles in both English and Chinese on international law and joined many funded research programs.
*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.