The Shanghai International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (the Shanghai International Arbitration Center (SHIAC)) was established in 1988 and is regarded as a leading Chinese arbitration institution dealing with domestic and foreign arbitration cases.
Parties from 81 countries and regions have participated in SHIAC arbitration. SHIAC’s arbitral awards have been recognised and enforced under the New York Convention in 50 countries and regions.
Latest statistics for 2021
- SHIAC accepted 1,752 new cases: the total amount in dispute reached 40,629 million yuan, and the average amount in dispute for an individual SHIAC case exceeded 23 million yuan.
- The number of foreign-related cases: 149.
- Out of 149, 14 involved both parties being from jurisdictions other than mainland China.
- Participants from 110 legal entities or individuals from countries and regions other than mainland China joined in the proceedings.
- The top three types of disputes are: (1) finance, with 397 cases, accounting for 23% of all cases; (2) sales of goods and international transactions, with 373 cases, accounting for 21% of all cases; and (3) corporate equity and investment management, with 210, accounting for 12% of all cases.
- The governing law clauses between the parties provide more choice, including the laws of Italy, HK SAR and the UN Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods.
- SHIAC made 2,026 arbitrator appointments.
SHIAC adheres to the strategy of internationalisation and professionalism. Since 2013, it has consecutively established the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone (FTZ) Court of Arbitration and the Shanghai International Aviation Court of Arbitration (SIACA), which respectively represented the leading practice in Chinese FTZ areas and the world’s first permanent aviation arbitration institution. Up to the end of 2020, the FTZ Court of Arbitration had accepted more than 1,169 cases.
In 2015, SHIAC also established two other platforms: the BRICS Dispute Resolution Shanghai Center and the China–Africa Joint Arbitration Shanghai Center. In November 2021, SHIAC established the Data Arbitration Centre, which is a supporting legal service mechanism for the Shanghai Data Exchange.
To mitigate the negative impact of the covid-19 pandemic, SHIAC introduced virtual hearing and other online procedural management to avoid unnecessary delays in ongoing cases. Meanwhile, SIACA launched the Shanghai International Aviation Court of Arbitration’s “Arbitration Aids Aviation” project to reduce the cost of dispute resolution for aviation enterprises. In 2020, SHIAC accepted two aviation arbitration cases and two aviation mediation cases under the project.
SHIAC is keen on emerging transactions in the fields of carbon trading; environmental, social and governance; green finance; and digital economy. In 2021, Green Construction and Investment Legal Alliance was launched jointly by SHIAC, China Association of Construction Enterprise Management, Green Technology Bank and 12 other entities. Various professional seminars focusing on hot topics such as digital economy and service trade took place in the past year.
Structure (Committee and Secretariat)
SHIAC is governed by the Board Committee. SHIAC’s Fourth Committee, which comprises 13 experts in the field of economy, trade and law, was renewed in July 2021. For the first time, the Committee includes three overseas professionals.
SHIAC provides professional secretarial services. Currently, there are 24 case managers with an average age of 33. All of them graduated from prestigious domestic and foreign universities, and their average work experience is 9.29 years. About 80% of the case managers have graduate degrees, and 52% have overseas study backgrounds. The arbitration can be administered bilingually.
Arbitrators and mediators
SHIAC has a panel of arbitrators that is made up of 1,115 arbitrators from 80 countries and regions. In mainland China, there are 754 arbitrators, while the remaining 361 are from the Hong Kong SARS, Macau SARS, the Taiwan region and foreign countries and regions.
SHIAC introduced a panel of mediators in line with the Mechanism of Mediation by Mediator under the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone Arbitration Rules. There are 29 members in the current panel, including 27 from China and two foreign mediators.
Facilities, fees and journal
Centrally located in Shanghai, SHIAC provides prime facilities to support daily operation, including consultations, registrations, hearings and medium-sized conferences. In addition to the headquarters, SIACA lies in Hongqiao Airport Economic Park, adjacent to Shanghai Hongqiao Transport Hub and the National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai). The FTZ Court of Arbitration moved to the Shanghai International Dispute Resolution Center in 2019, which is also home to the Shanghai Arbitration Association, the Shanghai representative office of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre and the Shanghai representative office of the International Chamber of Commerce.
SHIAC’s arbitration fee is collected based on the amount of the dispute. SHIAC adopts a cumulative declining system: as the amount of the dispute increases, the arbitration fee charged by SHIAC becomes more cost-effective.
SHIAC has an influential journal called the Shanghai International Arbitration Review and a quarterly newsletter called the Shanghai International Observation.