China's New Arbitration Law - WAMR 1995 Vol. 6, No. 1
Originially from: World Arbitration and Mediation Review (WAMR)
China’s New Arbitration Law
By Michael J. Moser. Mr. Moser is a partner in the international law
firm of Baker & McKenzie. He divides his time between Hong Kong and
Beijing. Mr. Moser is a member of the Panel of Arbitrators of the China
International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC) and
is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.
On August 31, 1994 the National People’s Congress promulgated the
Arbitration Law of the People’s Republic of China. Slated to come into
effect on September 1, 1995, the Arbitration Law has been more than five
years in the making. While its enactment is expected to introduce farreaching
changes to China’s domestic arbitration regime, it will likely
have little impact on the conduct of international arbitrations in China.
The new Arbitration Law is a substantive piece of legislation consisting
of 80 articles divided into eight chapters. The law deals with both
domestic and “foreign-related” or international arbitrations. The
arbitration of labor disputes and disputes relating to domestic agricultural
contracts, however, are specifically excluded from its purview.
Among the topics addressed by the new law are arbitrability, arbitration
agreements, domestic arbitration bodies and proceedings, international
arbitration, enforcement of arbitral awards, and other matters. A summary
of some of the key features of the law is set out below.
Prior to the passage of the Arbitration Law, no Chinese law contained a
clear statement as to what kinds of disputes could be dealt with through
arbitration in China. The new law fills the gap by providing that the scope
of arbitration shall include contractual and non-contractual disputes over
“rights and interests in property between citizens, legal persons and other
organizations that are equal subjects.” Specifically excluded from the
scope of arbitrability are two categories of disputes: (1) disputes involving
marriage, adoption, guardianship, support and succession; and (2)
administrative disputes that are required by law to be handled by
administrative authorities in China.