Shang­hai courts ap­ply more for­eign laws in in­ter­na­tional cases

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By ZHOU WENTING in Shang­hai zhouwent­ing@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

The Shang­hai High Peo­ple’s Court has at­tempted to ap­ply for­eign laws in more civil and com­mer­cial cases in­volv­ing par­ties from out­side the coun­try as part of the city’s ef­forts to cre­ate a fair and just le­gal en­vi­ron­ment as it goes ever more in­ter­na­tional.

The court said that more than 10 such cases have abided by for­eign laws for judg­ment since the end of 2014, and it is elab­o­rat­ing the rules of how to look for rel­e­vant pro­vi­sions in for­eign laws and adopt them in more cases.

Since 2014, the court has es­tab­lished a col­lab­o­ra­tion mech­a­nism with the Re­search Cen­ter for Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of For­eign Laws at the East China Uni­ver­sity of Po­lit­i­cal Sci­ence and Law based on the lat­ter’s ad­van­tages in teach­ing and re­search in this field. The court has also au­tho­rized the cen­ter to lo­cate proper pro­vi­sions in a for­eign law to abide by in cases when both par­ties agree on ap­ply­ing a par­tic­u­lar for­eign law in a dis­pute.

China’s law stip­u­lates that if both par­ties reach such a con­sen­sus or if the court be­lieves a for­eign law is more ap­pro­pri­ate in a dis­pute ac­cord­ing to the char­ac­ter of case and its de­tails, the court can ap­ply the for­eign law in the case.

Such an ef­fort came into be­ing in or­der to pro­vide more con­ve­nience for for­eign par­ties in­volved in law­suits as the coun­try be­comes more in­ter­na­tional, es­pe­cially since the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive was pro­posed in 2013, the court said.

“One key point is to cre­ate a fair and just le­gal en­vi­ron­ment in the de­vel­op­ment of the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive,” said Guo Weiqing, the di­rec­tor of the court’s ju­di­cial re­form of­fice.

More than 2,600 cases of var­i­ous kinds that in­volved a party from a coun­try or re­gion in­volved in the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive have been ac­cepted by courts in Shang­hai from Oc­to­ber 2013 to Septem­ber this year. South Korea, Sin­ga­pore and Malaysia were the top three coun­tries, ac­cord­ing to the court.

It said that so far the ap­pli­ca­tion of for­eign laws mainly ap­peared in dis­putes about mar­riage and fam­ily, in­her­i­tance, con­tracts, and com­pany and mar­itime af­fairs.

For ex­am­ple, Shang­hai’s Jing’an District Peo­ple’s Court once ap­plied a law in the State of Wash­ing­ton of the United States in a con­tract dis­pute over sav­ings de­posit be­tween an in­di­vid­ual from Tai­wan and a for­eign bank, and the Pudong New Area Peo­ple’s Court once ap­plied a law in Zug, Switzer­land, in a dis­pute over in­ter­na­tional sales con­tract, ac­cord­ing to the court.

Gu Quan, di­rec­tor of the re­search of­fice at the Shang­hai High Peo­ple’s Court, said Shang­hai courts are also con­sid­er­ing the estab­lish­ment of Chi­nese-English web­sites to of­fer more con­ve­nience for for­eign par­ties.

“For ex­am­ple, a bilin­gual web­site of the West Hongqiao (CIIE) Tri­bunal, which spe­cial­izes in deal­ing with pos­si­ble law­suits for the China In­ter­na­tional Im­port Expo (CIIE), be­gan op­er­a­tions in Oc­to­ber along with the estab­lish­ment of the tri­bunal,” he said.

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