Training the future generation of international arbitration in China and beyond...

40513048 - traditional qintai road district in chengdu, china

Dr Fan Yang, scholar-in- residence at WilmerHale, discusses a need in China to train lawyers and arbitrators in international arbitration law and practice and an initiative designed to address this.

According to the Chinese government's official data, in 2015 the total number of arbitration cases processed by the 244 arbitration commissions in China reached 136,924, a 20% increase from 2014. The total value of disputes in arbitration in China reached 4,112 billion Renminbi, a 55% increase from the previous year.

Since the introduction of the PRC Arbitration Law in 1995, there has been on average an annual 30% increase in the number of arbitration cases and the value of disputes in arbitration in China. This trend is likely to continue, if not increase in future years.

In 2015, there were 60,000 empanelled arbitrators and 5,000 secretariat staff employed in arbitration commissions in China. The majority of those arbitrators and secretariat staff have received limited training on international arbitration. Any they receive is generally provided by their respective arbitration commissions. Some preliminary research suggests that no more than 2,000 arbitrators have undertaken professional training on international arbitration in China. Further, less than 10% of those arbitrators are generally recognized by the international arbitration community as competent to deal with international commercial arbitrations.

The Chinese higher education system does not currently recognize arbitration as an independent subject; nor is arbitration studied as a secondary law subject. Most law graduates in China have very limited understanding or experience of basic arbitration theory and principles, far less international arbitration law and practice.

With the continued increase in Chinese outbound investment as well as the further development of the Chinese government's "Belt and Road" initiative, the Chinese government has flagged the need for professionally trained lawyers and arbitrators who can competently deal with international disputes. Recognizing this, the first arbitration school was established in Chongqing in June 2016.

Against this background, the International Dispute Resolution Academy (IDRA) was established in Hong Kong and incorporated in the UK. It is dedicated to providing a wide range of individuals across the globe with access to educational resources in the areas of international contracts and dispute resolution. The IDRA's mission is to support and complement the goals of its global partners by facilitating the delivery of professional training courses on international arbitration and dispute resolution in China and other emerging markets in Asia and across the globe.

Dr. Michael Hwang SC is the President of the IDRA and Gary Born serves as the Head of the Faculty. Other honorary and founding faculty members include Professor Wang Guiguo, Professor Neil Andrews, Professor Dr. Maxi Scherer, Anthony Houghton SC, Albert Monichino Q.C., Paul Barrette, Steven Finizio, Peter R. Day and Ariel Ye.

Dr. Fan Yang is the Director of the Academy. She is supported in her role by a team of experts as Fellows of the Academy, including Andrew Aglionby, Philip Bambagiotti, Louise Barrington, Timothy D. Castle, Helena Chen, Peter Scott Caldwell, David Fong, Sir Bernard Eder, Ben Giaretta, Dominique Hogan-Doran SC, Matthew Hodgson, Brenda Horrigan, Nigel Li, Angela Yao Lin, Jeremy Nicholson Q.C., Mauricio Gomm Santos and Dr. Rajesh Sharma. Many more internationally recognized individuals are being invited to join this endeavour and it is anticipated that the team will continue to expand.

The next IDRA Masterclasses will take place in Shanghai on 26 and 27 September 2016. Following that event, the IDRA are in Beijing to deliver another masterclass from 24 to 28 October 2016. IDRA's website (www.idracademy.org) is under construction

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