2010 CIETAC Seminar for Presiding Arbitrators

CIETAC Presiding Arbitrators’ Seminar was held on November 5-6 in Beijing East Garden International Conference Center. Around 50 academic, lawyers, in-house counsels and CIETAC staff took the shuttle bus and headed to the lakeside villa at the sunny noon of Friday.

This is the first seminar organized by CIETAC to brainstorm Presiding Arbitrators. Unlike ad hoc arbitration that is widely adopted around the world, Chinese Arbitration Law only allows for institutional arbitration.  The state-sanctioned institutions should guarantee the quality of arbitral awards. Presiding arbitrators are primarily responsible for fair and reasonable decisions. CIETAC has been emphasizing the responsibility and accountability in arbitral proceedings.

A couple of issues was discussed and hotly debated. For example, a couple of senior arbitrators (in their 70s or 80s) mentioned the divergence of international arbitration and domestic arbitration, which has always been a Chinese characteristic. However, after China becomes a WTO Member and complies with the National Treatment principle, it does not make much sense to segregate proceedings based on arbitrary judgment on “overseas” factors. There are more Chinese companies making Overseas Director Investment to other countries. It would be more controversial to draw the line.

There are other interesting discussions, such as how to handle the case when a persistent presiding arbitrator refuses to consult the co-arbitrators, how to define the relation among “arbitraral court, “expert advisory commitment” and Arbitration Commitment, etc.

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