News Article

News Article

BritCham Shanghai signed an MOU with NBADR for diversified resolution of conflicts and disputes

13 Jun 2024

On the afternoon of 6 June, in collaboration with the North Bund Alternative Dispute Resolution Centre (“NBADR”) and the Shanghai Corporate Counsel Association, BritCham Shanghai hosted an innovative session on ‘Commercial Mediation and its crucial role in enhancing the business environment’.

At the event, BritCham Shanghai signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with NBADR, integrating the advantageous resources of both parties to form a strategic partnership and jointly build a platform for diversified resolution of conflicts and disputes.

The event commenced with a welcome remark from Mr. Fan MingChao, President of NBADR. Mr Fan introduced the concept of alternative dispute resolution, emphasising the various forms of mediation aimed at facilitating smooth business operations and mutual evaluation. He remarked that dispute resolution serves as more than just an alternative to litigation or arbitration; it is also a means to sustain business relationships. He concluded by highlighting the importance of international chambers of commerce in China, asserting that understanding one another through business fosters peace.

Following Mr. Fan’s remarks, Stuart Dunn, Executive Director of BritCham Shanghai, emphasised that commercial mediation is a crucial tool for resolving disputes and maintaining business relationships, highlighting its importance in both the dynamic global market and the evolving Chinese market.

In the presence of witnesses appointed by both organisations, Stuart Dunn and Ms. Wang Yiqun (Board Member and Director at NBADR) signed the MoU, marking the beginning of future cooperation between the two organisations. The witnesses included Mr. Fan MingChao, Prof Jiang Huiling (Chairman of the Steering Committee of NBADR, Dean of the Law School at Tongji University), Mr. Xiong Chenyao (Vice-Chair of the Shanghai Corporate Counsel Association), Mr. Alex Roberts (Consultant Director at BritCham Shanghai’s Executive Committee, Partner at Linklaters LLP), Dr. Adolf Peter (Co-chair of BritCham Shanghai’s Legal & Regulatory Committee, Professor at Shanghai University of Political Science and Law), Mr. Adam Davis (Business Development Manager at BritCham Shanghai).

To commence the knowledge-sharing session of the event, Prof Jiang Huiling, Dean of Law School of Tongji University, delivered the first keynote speech. Prof Jiang discussed the evolution of Chinese alternative dispute resolution and how Chinese law was influenced by the UK’s legal system during the reform of the Chinese courts. He emphasised the importance of incorporating commercial mediation into autonomous areas rather than public governance, highlighting the key characteristics that should underpin the mediators and the settlement agreements. He also explained the benefits of having dedicated centres for dispute resolution, especially citing professional advantages.

Ms. Guo Ruian, a Board Member of NBADR, delivered a keynote speech introducing the centre’s role and capabilities. Ms. Guo emphasised that, with skilled case management and experienced experts, the centre acts as both problem solvers and consultants, providing early intervention before disputes arise. Finally, she highlighted the significance of the partnership with BritCham Shanghai in advancing alternative dispute resolution.

The final presentation was delivered by Mr. Xiong Chenyao, Vice-Chair of the Shanghai Corporate Counsel Association.  Mr. Xiong introduced the background of Shanghai’s Business Environment Optimisation Action Plan 7.0 and compared it to version 6.0, highlighting a significant reduction in the number of items to 150. One notable improvement in version 7.0 is the enhancement of diversified commercial mediation. The plan proposes strengthening foreign-related commercial legal services and establishing a “one-stop” diversified dispute resolution centre for international commercial disputes. This approach emphasises the traditional Chinese value of ‘harmony is precious’, showing that commercial mediation is not only a method of dispute resolution but also a continuation and development of traditional culture. The role of commercial mediation is expected to become increasingly important.

Following the keynotes was a panel discussion, moderated by Mr. Bridge Zhao, Co-chair of BritCham Shanghai’s Legal & Regulatory Committee, General Counsel APAC of Smiths Group. Panelists included Prof Jiang Huiling, Ms. WangYiqun, Ms. Julia Xu (VP of Corporate Compliance & Risk Management of McDonald’s Mainland China and Hong Kong), Mr. David Chen (Legal Director of Smith & Nephew), and Mr. Lloyd Lyu (Equity Partner of Guantao Law Firm’s Shanghai Office).

The Panel discussed and shared insights on the following topics, including the applicability of commercial mediation in various types of disputes of foreign businesses and its adaptability to the Chinese cultural emphasis on harmony; the considerations of the heads of legal affairs of world-renowned enterprises in choosing dispute resolution methods; the sharing of panelists’ experiences and suggestions on promoting commercial mediation; and the introduction of the criteria and qualifications for selecting mediators by the NBADR.

The event brought participants and guests a fresh perspective and profound insights into diversified commercial dispute resolution. BritCham Shanghai will continue to cooperate with NBADR and both organisations are committed to providing comprehensive and multi-level professional support and services to BritCham Shanghai members.

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