1st Edition

Dispute Resolution in China Litigation, Arbitration, Mediation and their Interactions

By Weixia Gu Copyright 2021
    288 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    288 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    China's ever-expanding commercial influence has attracted global attention on how its civil and commercial disputes are resolved.

    This compelling new book, Dispute Resolution in China, offers a detailed examination of the elements in the Chinese legal system and the relevant reforms to the multiplicity of approaches to civil and commercial disputes in China today. This book reveals how civil litigation, commercial arbitration, mediation, and their hybrid dispute resolution have distinctly responded to, reformed, and developed in the context of China’s transformational economic growth, societal development, and international interaction in the last two decades. It situates these developments and continued experimentation within a unique hybrid of empirical, contextual, and comparative analytical framework, while paving productive pathways towards the future.

    This book argues that, rather than being a legal project, China’s civil and commercial dispute resolution system is essentially a social development project, which distinguishes the Chinese approach to civil justice reform from contemporary civil justice movements elsewhere. Among the primary methods of dispute resolution, commercial arbitration in China today uniquely transcending the traditional socio-political constraints, its reform has developed in favor of market-oriented considerations and shaped by China’s socio-economic dynamics and internationalization needs. By contrast, civil litigation and mediation being more instrumentalist in nature, their reform is socio-politically embedded and continues to prioritize social stability. This book also shines a fresh light on comparative assessments of top-down and bottom-up changes in China’s dispute resolution discourse, as well as on how China speaks to international dispute resolution systems.

    Original and rich in its analysis, this book will be essential reading and invaluable reference tool for scholars with a focus on Chinese law, comparative and international dispute resolution, and on broader legal, institutional, economic, social, political and cultural dimensions of dispute resolution development.

    List of Charts

    List of Tables


    List of Abbreviations

    PART I:

    Background of Dispute Resolution in China

    1. Introduction to Dispute Resolution
    2. Courts and Dispute Resolution
    3. PART II:

      The Laws of and Developments in China’s Major Dispute Resolution Systems

    4. Civil Litigation: Evolution towards a More Litigious Society
    5. Arbitration: A Synthesis of Unique Socio-economic Dynamics
    6. Mediation: Scattered Regime and Socio-political Orientations
    7. PART III:

      Interaction between Litigation, Arbitration, Mediation and China’s Hybrid Dispute Resolution Systems and Developments

    8. Judicial Mediation: The Juggling Path between Adjudicatory and Mediatory Justice
    9. Judicial Enforcement of Arbitration: Extending a Pro-Arbitration Judicial Embrace
    10. Med-Arb: When Local Practices Meet (or Do Not Meet) International Expectations
    11. PART IV:


    12. Conclusions: China’s Civil Justice Reform



    Weixia Gu is an Associate Professor at The University of Hong Kong (HKU), Faculty of Law, and a Co-Chair of the American Society of International Law Asia-Pacific Interest Group, where she specialises in arbitration and dispute resolution (both international and domestic) and private international law, with a focus on China. She is the author and editor of over 60 books, book chapters and journal articles. Her works have appeared in leading comparative and international law journals in the East and West, and her scholarship has been cited by the US Court of Appeals Eleventh Circuit, US Texas Supreme Court, and Singapore Law Gazette. She is the recipient of HKU’s Outstanding Young Researcher Award in 2018.

    "One of the best works on dispute resolution in China, this timely and insightful study offers an unrivalled account of the changing landscape of commercial dispute resolution in China. Against the background of China's ever-expanding commercial influence, it offers an invaluable and impressively informed guide to the multiplicity of approaches to civil disputes in China, formal and informal, and shines a fresh light on topics which often seem mysterious, and are often misunderstood. Original and rich in its analysis, it is stimulating reading for anyone interested in comparative law, civil procedure, and in how legal institutions are shaped by their social, political and economic context. The author deserves congratulations on a fascinating work, which is scholarly and absorbing and assured of its place in the literature."

    Richard Fentiman QC (Cambridge Law Faculty) – Professor of Private International Law and Former Dean

    "This is an impressive study of dispute resolution in China covering litigation, arbitration, mediation and mixed processes. A particular strength is its extensive research and its academic contribution and impact on the topic of civil and commercial dispute resolution in China from a comparative, empirical and contextual perspective. There are also law and society and law and economics assessments. This is most certainly now the most comprehensive and definitive analysis on the topic."

    Loukas Mistelis (Queen Mary University of London School of Law) – Clive M Schmitthoff Professor of Transnational Commercial Law and Arbitration

    "Professor Gu has produced the state-of the-art study of civil dispute resolution in China. Covering the entire dynamic landscape, it chronicles changing developments and continued experimentation, while providing an intelligent roadmap for productive reforms. The book will be essential reading for China law scholars, but also for practitioners and business leaders who work with Chinese partners."

    Tom Ginsburg (Chicago Law School) – Leo Spitz Professor of International Law and Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

    "Gu’s book is a must for scholars and practitioners who really want to understand the development on commercial dispute resolution in China: insightful, resourceful, exhaustive. One of the best works on dispute resolution in China."

    Franco Ferrari (NYU Law School) – Professor of Law and Director, Center for Transnational Litigation, Arbitration and Commercial Law

    "One of the finest works on dispute resolution in China, this book is essential reading for everyone interested in the evolution of civil and commercial dispute resolution in China. The book blends empirical analysis with a thorough understanding of the economic and social transformation of dispute resolution in China. It highlights China’s salient divergence from international dispute resolution systems. Gu’s outstanding book is both a compelling manifesto and an indispensable pathway into the future."

    Leon Trakman (UNSW Law School) – Professor of Law and Former Dean

    "Dr Weixia Gu has produced a highly valuable work that examines the current regime for resolution of civil commercial disputes in China. Dr Gu goes well beyond the existing English language treatments of the subject to fully examine the legal principles, literature and practice relating to dispute resolution in China. The book also considers the topic through the prism of law and development and the immense recent changes in Chinese society.  It is an impressive book."

    Richard Garnett (Melbourne Law School) – Professor of Law

    "Professor Gu’s Dispute Resolution in China: Litigation, Arbitration, Mediation and their Cross-Interactions is an outstanding study of how civil litigation, commercial arbitration, and mediation have responded to, reformed, and developed in the context of China’s transformational economic growth and societal development of the last two decades. Gu analyzes the different degrees to which mediation and litigation remain politicized and continue to prioritize social stability, often at the expense of rights; the extent to which civil litigation has evolved to address public interest objectives, especially with respect to environmental and consumer issues; and the way in which commercial arbitration, uniquely among the three principal methods of dispute resolution, has transcended traditional socio-political constraints in favor of market-driven international standards, with the support of the Chinese judiciary. Gu offers invaluable comparative assessments of "top down" versus "bottom up" changes in China’s dispute resolution discourse, along with compelling empirical analyses in support of her arguments. An indispensable comprehensive study, Gu’s book makes an exceptional contribution to the literature on contemporary dispute resolution in China. It is a "must read" for legal scholars, social scientists, lawyers, policymakers and business leaders alike who focus on Chinese law and dispute resolution."

    Philip J. McConnaughay (Peking University School of Transnational Law) – Dean and Professor of Law

    "Professor Gu’s wonderful study of dispute resolution processes in China explores important issues of procedural law, including the substantial reforms attempted in recent years in response to the economic transformation and social changes that have been taking place in China. The insightful analysis offered by Professor Gu locates developments in the legal and institutional framework of civil litigation, arbitration, mediation and mixed dispute resolution in their social and cultural contexts. Among other key themes, this important book argues that the system which has emerged is more a project of social transformation than it is of legal development, especially in areas of dispute resolution that are less directly linked to the functioning of the economic system."

    Michael Palmer (University of London School of Oriental and African Studies) – Emeritus Professor of Law and Former Head