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Justice system reviews new practices at Shanghai’s FTZ

Wednesday, 5th May 2016

"A pool of jurors drawn from the financial sector and a corporate mediation system have been highlights in the last two years of handling legal disputes at Shanghai's Pilot Free Trade Zone, the court tasked with handling the cases noted at a press conference last week.

Through the end of March, the Shanghai No.1 Intermediate People's Court handled 765 cases at the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone (FTZ). The cases cover criminal, civil and corporate laws, and intellectual property rights, the court said. Tang Liming, the deputy head of the court, said that more than 75 percent of the cases involved contractual disputes. The bulk of those cases - nearly half - concerned sales (18.6 percent), real estate (18.3 percent) and labor (10.8 percent). 

Financial experts as juries 

Since April 2015, nine financial professionals have served as expert jurors whose rulings are binding. Drawn from the city's regulatory commissions for banking, securities and insurance, as well as universities and research institutes, the expert jurors adjudicate cases that the court finds "highly professional in terms of finance." 

Each juror was appointed by the Pudong New Area's People's Congress on a five-year term, and has so far participated in at least one case. Their job is to make sure that the facts are clear, the law is appropriately applied and the policy is understood.

One juror, Song Xiaoyan, a law professor with the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, praised the court for its specialized handling of FTZ cases. After all, she said, it is a procedure that the court volunteered to undertake.

Tang agreed, noting that the court is not among the 50 pilot courts nationwide for a jury system.

Shan Suhua, who is the head of the 6th Civil Court with the court, said the jurors are not only experienced in law, but in finance and business, especially conflicts that rise from structural upgrades of financial products.

"We will expand the number of jurors if we need to. It's very possible," Shan said.

A new resolution

The court also introduced a mediation system that it calls Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), involving the Shanghai Commercial Mediation Center.

Through April 26, the mediators saw nearly 30 corporate and IP cases being mediated, and six of them reached settlements. The settlements in this regard totaled 1.2 billion yuan. Tang said there are a few characteristics of Chinese business people that make ADR, which can be introduced before a legal case is filed as well as during the litigation, particularly desirable for them.

"First, they are more sensitive to the length and cost of litigation. Secondly, they value confidentiality more, while nowadays the great extent of legal transparency means that a lot of their paperwork can be directly found online. This is something even the plaintiffs do not like to see. Third, they believe in the long-held Chinese idea that 'harmony brings wealth', so they wish to avoid cases if they could, and put it away as quickly as possible," Tang said."

Read further: 


Web-link: http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/981569.shtml
Language: English
Contact: Liao Fangzhou


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