Cross-Border Commercial Dispute Resolution joint workshop held by GBCC and the Centre for Common Law

Ccl March Photo

On 20th March 2018, the Great Britain-China Centre (GBCC) and the Centre for Common Law (CCL) at Renmin University of China held a joint workshop on “Cross-Border Commercial Dispute Resolution: Trends, Risks and Opportunities for Businesses, Lawyers and States”.  The event was hosted by the CCL, a joint initiative between Renmin University Law School, GBCC and the University of Oxford, the only research centre and platform providing common law expertise, policy research, training and teaching in China.

The workshop focused on the exchange of technical and practical expertise, following on from the high-level conference organised by GBCC and the CCL in November 2016 on International Dispute Resolution on the Belt and Road, attended by former Lord Chief Justice and first President of the UK Supreme Court, Lord Phillips. It sought to address some of the trends and issues emerging from the rise in cross-border disputes particularly in response to increasing levels of Chinese outbound investment along the Belt and Road. The UK, as a global leader in providing dispute resolution services is keen to understand developments in China and contribute to innovative approaches to dispute resolution that provide fair, efficient access to justice for all in line with rule of law principles.

Institutions represented at the event included the China Foreign Affairs University, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, China University of Political Science and Law, Beijing Arbitration Commission, China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, and several major private law firms, including Zhonglun and Broad & Bright. International participants included the British institute for International and Comparative Law Investor treaty Forum, University of Oxford, Chinese University of Hong Kong, the Bar Council of England & Wales, the Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank and law firms including King & Wood Mallesons and Berwin Leighton and Paisner LLP.

Adrian Hughes QC, barrister at 39 Essex Chambers and arbitration panellist in the UK and China who has been working on UK-Chinese arbitration training and cooperation for three decades, highlighted the benefits of continued legal cooperation between the UK and China, with initiatives including GBCC’s judicial training and the Bar Council’s China Training Scheme for young lawyers. This opened discussion to common issues in dispute resolution from a practitioners’ perspective and suggestions going forward in relation to improving commercial dispute resolution on the Belt and Road.

Other speakers included Professor Xi Chao of the Chinese University of Hong Kong who presented his index of legal and regulatory risks of countries participating in the BRI, and Meg Utterback, Shanghai and London-based partner at KWM, who discussed how disputes arise, how companies can ensure they are well prepared for disclosure requirements, and the challenges of transnational award enforcement. Professor Yarik Kryvoi, senior research fellow at the British Institute of International and Comparative Law, analysed China’s bilateral investment treaties and the increasing salience of investor state dispute settlement mechanisms, and Dr Mimi Zou, fellow at the University of Oxford, concluded with a presentation on future trends in commercial dispute resolution, considering social and environmental factors.

During the workshop, participants engaged in robust debate concerning dispute resolution procedures, such as disclosure requirements and examination of witnesses; discussed differentiation in common law and civil law approaches; and examined common perceptions and misperceptions of commercial dispute resolution. Participants also raised the possibility of a more prominent role for dispute avoidance mechanisms, and ensuring internationalisation of and greater diversity in arbitration panels. The workshop concluded with participants keen to undertake more future research collaboration and continued exchanges of expertise, which are essential for maintaining international best practice and the rule of law. GBCC have been working with experts to develop a series of recommendations to take this work forward.

Ccl March Docs

For more information on this event or GBCC’s wider Rule of Law for Business programme work, please contact GBCC’s Rule of Law for Business team at

Date posted: 16 April 2018

Categories: Rule of Law and Business Environment, Centre for Common Law

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