Below is a report from CIArb about assisting Shanghai in becoming an attractive arbitration destination. It is quite interesting to note that increasing number of nations are taking keen interest in developing their cities into attractive arbitration destination and are therefore seeking help from expert organisations such as CIArb.

 

The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) held a meeting early this week organised by Ruby Zhang, Economic Officer with the British Consulate-General Shanghai, to assist the Shanghai Municipal Commission in identifying what is required to make the Free Trade Zone a more attractive venue for international arbitrations. 

 

CIArb Member Simon Maynard (Allen & Overy), Paul Brumpton (White & Case) and Bing Yan (Skadden) provided insight into three key issues: the success of the English arbitration model, competition between key institutions and the perspective of foreign parties on arbitration in China. 

 

The success of the English arbitration model

 

Simon Maynard initiated the discussion by considering the success factors associated with the English arbitration system. The Arbitration Act 1996 and its relationship with the UNCITRAL Model Law, autonomy of the parties, supportive courts, competitive institutions, adherence to the principles of separability and competence-competence, as well as the assurance of confidentiality throughout the arbitral process were all mentioned as key aspects which attracted users both at home and abroad. 

 

Competition between key institutions

 

Paul Brumpton examined the role of competition between both institutions and seats (including the UK, France, Switzerland, the US and Singapore). Using interim measures as an example, healthy rivalry was put forward as a key component in developing the responsiveness of arbitration services to the needs of users. 

 

Perspective of foreign parties on arbitration in China 

 

Bing Yan considered the lack of confidence on behalf of non-Chinese parties in light of the limits on party autonomy under the Arbitration Law of the PRC, and possible amendments that could be made to the PRC Arbitration Law in order to meet the accepted international practices. Subsequently, the main conclusions touched on the need for a straightforward, liberal, confidential and transparent arbitration process to attract international arbitrations. Successful arbitration practices in Singapore and Hong Kong were listed as potential prototypes for reform. 

 

Members of the Delegation included: Ms. Lu Zheng, Deputy Director, Fair Trade Division, Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce; Ms. Yan Bei, Deputy Director, Service Trade Division, Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce; Mr. Xia Yongzheng, Officer, Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce; Ms. Zhou Jiepu, Professor, Law School, Shanghai University of Finance and Economics; Ms. Shang Shu, Executive Director, Free Trade and ADR Development Center, Shanghai University of Finance and Economics and Ms. Ruby Zhang, Economic Officer, British Consulate-General Shanghai. 

 

The group will be visiting other arbitral institutions in London, including the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) during its trip.

Ashutosh Ray is a lawyer based in New Delhi, currently assisting a former Chief Justice of India in high value international and domestic arbitrations, and opinions. He was part of the expert committee constituted by the Law Commission of India in drafting its report on amendments to the Indian arbitration law. He has published in reputed international journals, newspapers and blogs on arbitration issues. He also runs a popular arbitration blog http://lexarbitri.blogspot.in/.