BRI-Related Disputes: Broader Access to Interim Relief and Enforcement in Mainland China

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In 2018, the Supreme Peoples' Court established a "one-stop" international commercial dispute resolution mechanism (the "Mechanism"). The Mechanism, in short, allows parties to bring their commercial disputes before the China International Commercial Court (the "CICC"), which is capable of facilitating dispute resolution through litigation, mediation and arbitration. The CICC is thus thought of as a "multi-door courthouse,"1  offering an array of services for dispute resolution. Building on this, more recently, the Supreme Peoples' Court issued a notice on July 22, 2022 to expand the scope of the Mechanism by extending its application to an additional group of arbitral institutions in Mainland China, as well as to the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre ("HKIAC").

To recall, the Mechanism aims to complement the legal landscape around the Belt and Road Initiative to provide parties with effective options to resolve disputes. It intends to cater to the multiplicity of laws and legal cultures across a range of potentially relevant jurisdictions. Shortly after the establishment of the Mechanism, the CICC was put into operation to facilitate the "one-stop" strategy (see also The China International Commercial Court). The CICC quickly sought to collaborate with several institutions in the field of mediation and arbitration (e.g., the Mediation Center of China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, the Shanghai Commercial Mediation Center, the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission and the Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration, to name only a few). The resulting ties aim to provide broad access to judicial assistance in Mainland China.

The Mechanism now extends to the Guangzhou Arbitration Commission, the Shanghai Arbitration Commission, the Xiamen Arbitration Commission, the Hainan International Arbitration Court and, as mentioned above, the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre ("HKIAC"). This will give parties involved in disputes concerning the Belt and Road Initiative more access to interim relief and enforcement in Mainland China. It is also noteworthy that the HKIAC is the first arbitral institution outside Mainland China to be included in the Mechanism. Parties to cases administered by the HKIAC with an amount in dispute exceeding RMB 300 million or with particular significance may apply for interim relief and/or enforcement of arbitral awards directly to the CICC.

1 Erie, Matthew, The China International Commercial Court: Prospects for Dispute Resolution for the ‘Belt and Road Initiative,' ASIL Insights, August 31 2018.

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