Resolution of Commercial Disputes in China Vivienne Bath Senior Lecturer and Director of

Resolution of Commercial
Disputes in China
Vivienne Bath
Senior Lecturer and Director of
the Centre
Commercial Disputes in China
Four levels of people’s courts: basic;
intermediate; high; supreme
 Foreigners involved mainly at intermediate
level and higher
 Rules of civil procedure call for cases to
be heard in domicile of defendant
 Parties may choose governing law (except
for joint ventures and resource
development projects)
Commercial Disputes in China
Parties may exclude jurisdiction of courts
in favour of arbitration
 Parties may choose a Chinese or foreign
court in cases “involving foreign interests”
(but enforcement a problem)
 Parties may NOT choose a foreign court
for cases involving JVs or natural resource
development or exploration contracts
Commercial Disputes in China
Historical lack of confidence in Chinese courts
 Availability of arbitration (inside and outside
 Perceived availability of enforcement of
arbitration awards (local and foreign)
Commercial Disputes in China
More, better-trained Chinese lawyers
 Judges Law – better qualified Chinese judges
 Increase in litigation by Chinese citizens,
necessarily involves foreigners
 Improved credibility of litigation as opposed to
Commercial Disputes in China
Considerable variation in quality of judges and
courts on a regional basis
 Proliferation of legislation
 Heavy case load for judges across China
 Local protectionism?
 Uneven benefits of litigation
Commercial Disputes in China
Increased use of litigation generally
 Use of litigation strategically
 Use of litigation as a means of intimidation
 Litigation in domain disputes and IP cases
 Litigation in connection with arbitration
 Litigation by foreign investment