Experts on a new panel set up to advise courts on international commerce said they expect to play a major role in helping foreign and Chinese litigants solve business disputes as well as help improve the country’s judicial image.
The International Commercial Expert Committee was established on Aug 26 as part of efforts by the Supreme People’s Court to implement both the rule of law and the Belt and Road Initiative, which was put forward by the central leadership in 2013.
It also aims to enhance international exchanges and cooperation and help courts resolve the rising number of international commercial disputes through arbitration, mediation and litigation.
“The committee shoulders the responsibility of providing a better business and legal environment for foreign and domestic investors and litigants, and it will try to help solve business-related cases in an efficient and low-cost way,” said Zhang Yuejiao, a former judge with the World Trade Organization’s appellate body.
She was among 32 experts from home and abroad — including Russia, the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany — who were named as members of the committee on Aug 26.
The panel will assist in mediating between litigants involved in international commercial disputes and advise China’s two specialized courts — which opened in Xi’an and Shenzhen at the end of June — when they encounter difficulties with foreign laws, according to the Supreme People’s Court.
“We’re sometimes more experienced in business and legal aspects than judges, so we may find it easier building trust with litigants,” said Wang Liming, a law professor at Renmin University of China who is on the committee. “That trust will contribute to mediation efforts and help end disputes, and it will boost China’s legal credibility in the world.”
Fellow committee member Vladimir I. Kurilov, academic supervisor and CEO of Far Eastern Federal University in Russia, said he regarded the move as a key step to “help experts from different countries understand each other and find better solutions to accelerate economic developments”.
Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung, a former secretary for justice for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government who also sits on the panel, said there would be several challenges ahead for the committee and the specialized courts in Xi’an and Shenzhen.
“For example, we need to consider how best to gain the trust of the international community and make litigants willing to file their disputes with Chinese courts,” he said.
The enforcement of legal rulings is also important, as litigants will want to know that court judgments will be carried out, he said.