Top court: Resolving international disputes key

2024-03-11 08:48:49China Daily Editor : Mo Honge ECNS App Download

By offering equal protection to domestic as well as overseas litigants, Chinese courts have given full play to the role of mediation in solving commercial disputes. This has helped create a market-oriented and law-based first-class business environment, China's top court said.

In 2023, courts at all levels across China concluded 24,000 commercial cases involving foreign litigants, up 3.6 percent year-on-year, according to the annual work report of the Supreme People's Court.

The average time taken to solve such lawsuits has been reduced by nearly 10 days, said the report, which was submitted on Friday to the second session of the 14th National People's Congress, China's top legislature, for review.

"In the face of the increasing number of disputes, improving the professionalism and efficiency of case hearings is important, as it's related to promoting our high-quality opening-up, our judicial credibility and the investment environment of the market," the top court said.

Over the past few years, Chinese courts have stepped up efforts to improve their efficiency, with more international judiciary exchanges and optimized measures for foreign litigants.

In August 2018, for instance, the top court established an international commercial expert committee as a think tank for tackling foreign-related disputes.

So far, the committee has invited 61 experts from 24 countries and regions to participate, mainly to help solve international commercial cases through mediation and provide opinions in the identification and application of foreign laws, as well as in the studies of foreign-related judicial interpretations and policies.

While requiring every court to offer equal protection to all litigants, regardless of whether they are domestic or foreign, the top court has also encouraged judges to mediate between two sides, taking the mediation as a good remedy in resolving international commercial disputes.

In one case, an Indian national signed up for medical insurance with a Chinese company in 2020. He spent more than 60,000 yuan ($8,350) on surgery and medical treatment in February 2021, but when he turned to the company for compensation, he was turned down. He then sued the insurer in Beijing Chaoyang District People's Court.

During the trial, the court found that the source of the conflict between the litigants was the language barrier. When the insurance contract was signed, the company did not clearly introduce the content to the Indian in a language he could understand, causing him to receive medical treatment beyond the coverage of the policy.

Given the flaws on both sides and to equally protect their legitimate interests, the court organized communications between them, comforting the Indian litigant while urging the company to regulate its interpretation of insurance-related information to applicants.

The communication made the two sides understand each other. Thanks to the mediation of the court, the company eventually agreed to compensate the foreigner.

Furthermore, the court contacted the Beijing Insurance Association, asking it to optimize workflows of the industry and increase explanations of insurance content to customers to prevent similar disputes.

"This successful mediation is an example of contribution of judicial efforts to enhance the international influence of Chinese justice and facilitate the healthy development of China's insurance industry," the top court said.

In addition to efficiently solving international commercial cases to help build a sound business environment, the top court provided opportunities for exchanges among judicial officials from home and abroad last year.

For instance, it held the Maritime Silk Road International Forum on Judicial Cooperation in Quanzhou, Fujian province, and a forum for judges from Shanghai Cooperation Organization countries.


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