CPPCC calls for amending the Arbitration Law

Amending the Arbitration Law will advance China’s status as an international dispute resolution center, and help align such activities in the country with global practice, said foreign arbitrators and legal experts. They made the remarks after many members of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), China’s top political advisory body, called for improvements to China’s legal system regarding arbitration, noting that revisions should combine China’s real-time circumstances with international practice. China’s Arbitration Law, which came into force on September 1, 1995, is being discussed by the public after the Ministry of Justice presented a draft revision to the legislation for public consultation on July 30, 2021 in order to update the basic framework and bring it more closely in line with well-recognized international practice.

Mark Feldman, Law Professor at the School of Transnational Law of Peking University and Arbitrator of the Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration in Guangdong province, said many provisions in the draft reflect policy shifts that, if adopted, will help remove existing legal obstacles to China’s continued development as an international dispute resolution hub. CPPCC Members suggested that the jurisdiction of China’s arbitration authorities should be further expanded to include more disputes such as those involving intellectual property rights, international investment, sports and anti-monopoly cases. Sports-related and international disputes should likewise be fully included within the permissible scope of arbitration. Specialized arbitration rules and panels should be systematically studied and considered by working groups composed of experts from various jurisdictions, said Peter Neumann, Arbitrator of the Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration and Adjunct Professor of Law at California-based Pepperdine University.

China’s arbitration system has made outstanding and commendable progress in recent years. In particular, the Supreme People’s Court, through various judicial interpretations, policies and reforms, has taken meaningful steps to bring the nation’s arbitration and legal systems more closely in line with international practice, Neumann said.

“While the Arbitration Law provides an effective framework for domestic and foreign-related arbitrations where awards are to be enforced in China, supported by decisions of the courts among others, there are some gaps in the Arbitration Law as regards cross-border and international arbitration,” said Kim Rooney, Arbitrator of the Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration and a Hong Kong-based barrister. Rooney said that filling these gaps is likely to enhance China’s attractiveness to foreign businesses, the China Daily reports.

China’s 270 arbitration institutions handled over 415,000 cases in 2021, involving a record of over CNY850 billion. China has become one of the leading countries to use arbitration to resolve civil and commercial disputes, the CCPIT said.