China to create Belt & Road courts: report

Updated 2018-01-26 09:25:02

Mechanism to handle complex international legal disputes

China will establish courts in three Chinese cities to deal with Belt and Road initiative disputes in a move to benefit all participating countries while respecting their legal systems, experts said.

The Supreme People's Court will set up international courts in Beijing, Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi Province and Shenzhen, China Business News reported on Thursday.

The Xi'an court in Northwest China will serve the Silk Road, the paper said, while the Shenzhen court in South China handles Maritime Silk Road disputes. Beijing will be the headquarters.

The courts will weigh litigation, arbitration and mediation; providing legal support and solving initiative disputes, the Beijing-based paper reported, citing an anonymous source.

The plan to establish a mechanism to legally resolve trade and investment disputes arising from issues related to the Belt and Road initiative was approved during the second meeting of the Leading Group for Deepening Overall Reform of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on Tuesday, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

A dispute settlement mechanism will be created on the basis of China's current judiciary, arbitration and mediation agencies, and by absorbing and integrating legal service resources home and abroad, according to a statement issued after the meeting.

Members of the group called for equal protection for both Chinese and foreign parties' rights to create a stable, fair and transparent law-based business environment, Xinhua reported.

The current system to solve disputes was "complicated, time-consuming and costly," Wang Yiwei, director of the Institute of International Affairs, Renmin University of China, told the Global Times. "It applied laws from Western countries and used English as the common language."

China's new international mechanism would better serve participating countries, he said.

Building a dispute mechanism was "difficult," Bai Ming, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, told the Global Times, "as many countries that joined the initiative have different legal systems, social and cultural backgrounds."

China plans to build a mechanism for every country's benefit and based on respect for everyone's legal systems, he said.

The China Council for the Promotion of International Trade will work with other international commercial organizations to form a new non-governmental international organization that addresses disputes, an official with the council's legal department told the paper.

The council will expand Chinese arbitration and mediation agencies to enhance credibility in the international arena, the paper reported.

China will also send more arbitrators and mediators to work at international organizations, empowering Chinese legal personnel to gain more experience in international negotiations, the report said.

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