I am prefacing this blogpost with a statement that nothing in it (or future blogposts, for that matter) represents the Supreme People’s Court (SPC), the China International Commercial Court (CICC), or the International Commercial Expert Committee (Expert Committee).
On the afternoon of 21 August, Professor Liu Jingdong of the International Law Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (pictured below) and I spoke at the SPC, invited by the #4 Civil Division. Ms. Long Fei, Deputy Director (Person in Charge) of the CICC Coordination and Guidance Office. chaired the proceedings and Judge Wang Shumei, head of the #4 Civil Division, gave concluding remarks. Professor Liu had previously been a guazhi scholar (seconded/temporarily assigned) in the #4 Civil Division (appointed as a deputy division chief, as is the practice). He felt the event was a reunion with his former colleagues. This was the first event to involve lectures by CICC Expert Committee members to judges and other staff at the SPC, including several members of the CICC. I trust that other Expert Committee members will have the same opportunity in the future. I am grateful to all those involved in making all the arrangements needed for the event to take place and to all of those who took time away from dealing with difficult cases and other work to listen to and interact with Professor Liu and me.
The audience of about 40 people (pictured below) included Hu Shihao, head of the Judicial Reform Office, Li Xiao, deputy director of the Research Office, Judge Guo Zaiyu (of the CICC), and many others, including a group of students interning in the #4 Civil Division (seated in the back row). After the formal part of the lecture (and a question and answer session), I was very happy to be able to take a few minutes to share with the students some of my thoughts about takeaways from their internships.
I spoke about the impact of the Belt and Road on the Chinese courts (about which I have previously spoken), market reaction outside of China to the CICC, and some modest suggestions relating to the Expert Committee. I gave my presentation in Chinese, as I knew some in the audience would have difficulty understanding English, although my “foreigner’s Chinese” (洋式中文) may have been a challenge to understand. Professor Liu spoke on the “legalization” of the Belt & Road” (the subject of his 2017 article in 政法论坛). One of my suggestions was that this not be a one-off event. The official report on the event (in People’s Court Daily), is also on the Chinese version of the CICC website.