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Introduction

In 2018 (the Chinese Year of the Dog), CEAC is celebrating its 10th anniversary with an international arbitration conference on the One Belt One Road Project from 13 to 14 September at its seat in Hamburg, Germany. It will be a good opportunity to gather arbitration experts from around the globe. As to the substance of the conference, it will concentrate both on substantive law issues (such as the neutral legal regimes of the UNIDROIT Principles and the CISG) and on common and civil law-related questions of arbitration. In addition, there will be a formal reception and dinner to celebrate CEAC as a bridge to business between Europe and China. The Conference has numerous supporters including UNIDROIT and the Inter-Pacific Bar Association.

What is the importance of arbitration in China-related trade and investments?

International commercial arbitration plays an important role in China-related trade and investments. As China increases its import and export trade rapidly, there is an increasing number of Chinese, European and other companies worldwide involved in contracts for China-related trade and investments. This leads to a need for dispute resolution mechanisms to support such contracts.

International arbitration provides the backbone, securing access to justice for market participants in China-related transactions. Chinese state court judgments are not recognised and enforceable in many countries, in particular in Europe, because of a lack of reciprocity, and foreign judgments are often impossible to enforce in China. There is no functioning system of international treaties securing the enforcement of national state judgments in China and vice versa. In contrast, China is a party to the 1958 New York Convention on Recognition and Enforcement of International Arbitral Awards, which is in force in 160 states worldwide, including all EU countries and the US. Therefore, international arbitral awards can be enforced in China (whereby, from a Chinese perspective, the ‘nationality’ of an arbitration award made under the rules of an institutional organisation is determined in light of the seat of the administration of the arbitration institution). Under these circumstances, recourse to arbitration is an important alternative to dispute resolution by ordinary courts. Arbitration gives the parties the best chance of getting a final judgment that is enforceable.

In addition, arbitration is preferable to proceedings before ordinary state courts because it can be faster than court proceedings and, in most cases, cheaper (this is true, at least, when comparing arbitration to fully fledged litigation in more than one instance). For example, there is no need for the translation of documents if the parties agree on English or any other language as a common language and present their documents and submissions in the chosen language to arbitrators who speak such a language.

Arbitration, further, is an important tool for dispute resolution in contracts related to China, if the parties wish to agree on strict confidentiality.

What is the importance of institutional arbitration in China-related trade and investments?

Chinese national law provides for institutional arbitration. Presently, there is a debate in China about the admissibility of ad hoc arbitration under Chinese law. For international disputes, ad hoc arbitration is not legally prohibited in China. However, article 16, paragraph 3 of the PRC Arbitration Law requires the mentioning of ‘the arbitration commission chosen’. Further, recourse to institutional arbitration provides the advantage that, in the case of recognition and enforcement proceedings in China, this kind of arbitration is known to the competent Chinese judges. As a result, it is wise to provide for institutional arbitration in China-related contracts to avoid hurdles during the enforcement process.

What is the Chinese European Arbitration Centre (CEAC)?

Overview

The CEAC is an international dispute resolution institution focusing on China-related disputes worldwide. The first 12 cases from seven jurisdictions among four continents show that CEAC is accepted worldwide. It was established in September 2008. Based on an intensive international dialogue including listening to Chinese and foreign China experts, the CEAC Rules provide a tailor-made solution for international disputes in China-related matters. This applies, most importantly, to international contracts with Chinese parties, to joint venture agreements with Chinese or Chinese-controlled companies or to contracts with subsidiaries of Chinese companies in other countries (eg, Europe, North and South America and Africa).

The CEAC Arbitration Rules are based on and are loosely identical to the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules. They have been duly adapted to the 2010 UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules and in 2012 have been amended again to meet the practical needs of China-related arbitration derived from practice in the first CEAC cases pending since the beginning of 2012. A key feature of the CEAC Rules is the special focus on neutrality, in particular with respect to the composition of the appointing authority (that appoints the arbitrator if the parties do not agree on a sole arbitrator or the chairman of an arbitration panel if the two party-appointed arbitrators cannot agree on a chairman). The CEAC focuses on neutrality and the equal treatment of China, Europe and the world (outside China and Europe) is also evidenced by it being based on the neutral and universally accepted UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules and by the integration of neutral rules of law in the CEAC choice of law clause (article 35 CEAC Rules, which was the subject of the 2012/13 worldwide Willem C Vis Moot Court competition).

The CEAC Rules are available in a ‘short version’ as the CEAC Core Rules, showing all supplements and amendments to the underlying UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules 2010 and in a ‘consolidated version’, integrating the applicable text of the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules and highlighting any deviations in bold print.

The CEAC is seated in Hamburg, Germany, at the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce, which also operates the Beijing-Hamburg Conciliation Centre.

Have there been cases yet?

The CEAC saw its first cases in spring 2012 (which was, prior to the expectations of its founding association, the non-profit organisation Chinese European Legal Association (CELA)). From the first 12 cases filed since, it can be deduced that increasingly companies have integrated a CEAC arbitration clause into their standard terms of contract. One case has been coping with more than 100 contracts. In one case, the CEAC arbitration clause was part of a settlement agreement between a European and a Chinese party. Ten of the cases have been terminated (by awards, by a settlement on agreed terms and by withdrawal of the claim for different reasons: payment by the respondent, insolvency of the respondent and refusal of the insurer to finance the arbitration), and two cases are still pending.

The total amount in dispute amounts to an aggregate amount of about €60 million. Arbitrator fees in total incurred in these proceedings have so far amounted to approximately €500,000. Parties have come from Canada, China (Mainland and Hong Kong), Germany, Israel, Italy and Spain.

Cornerstones of the CEAC Arbitration Rules

What is the origin of the global spirit of the CEAC?

After several years of preparation and preliminary discussions in China, Europe and around the globe, the CEAC emerged in 2008 as a result of an international dialogue with, in the end, 470 supporters of the project from 47 nations. The dialogue was initiated by the Hamburg Bar Organisation during a formal visit of a delegation to the World Leading Cities Bar Conference, which was hosted by the Shanghai Bar Organisation in 2004 (Hamburg and Shanghai being twin cities). Following a number of background discussions including discussions with members of the Hamburg parliament, the concept of the CEAC Rules was then first discussed with a small international group of lawyers in April 2007 on the occasion of the annual meeting of the Inter-Pacific Bar Association (IPBA) in Beijing, which has been supporting a number of joint events (in Tokyo and in Washington, DC) in recent years.

The concept was first presented to the international arbitration community during a fringe event at the 2007 annual meeting of the International Bar Association (IBA) in Singapore hosted by the Hamburg Bar Organisation at the Singapore Cricket Club. At that time, lawyers from several nations started to discuss the concept and decided to further pursue the CEAC project on a worldwide basis. The process of elaboration of the CEAC Arbitration Rules was initiated and draft versions were sent around by email and were subject to international discussion before the 2008 IPBA annual conference in Los Angeles. Some law firms submitted detailed observations. Lawyers involved in arbitration proceedings in China gave detailed advice on the specifics of Chinese law and experts from UNCITRAL and UNIDROIT gave their input on the choice of law clause (see below). After numerous discussions and email exchanges about the first drafts, a number of final workshops took place in Hamburg to discuss the new rules, which were finally approved by the General Assembly of the CELA when the CEAC was founded in September 2008. This dialogue continued in 2009 and 2010 with arbitration experts from China, Europe and all over the world when the reform of the 2010 UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules was already under way. Once this reform was completed and the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules 2010 became available, the CEAC Arbitration Rules were adapted to this new international and well-balanced standard integrating almost all amendments of the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules 2010 and thus substituting some provisions of the prior version of the CEAC Rules (eg, on multiparty arbitration). Meanwhile, the tradition of such international discourse is continued at the traditional CEAC breakfast receptions at the IBA annual meetings and at various other events around the globe (eg, jointly with our friends from Chinese organisations). Such discourse and the results reflected in the rules and practice of the young institution are well accepted in the business and arbitration community. Proof of this are the cases that were filed with CEAC within its first years of operative arbitral business.

How is the CEAC adapted to the needs of China-related business?

The CEAC Arbitration Rules reflect the particular needs of China-related trade.

Most importantly, the CEAC Arbitration Rules ensure that judgments based on an arbitration clause referring to the CEAC Hamburg Arbitration Rules, the CEAC Arbitration Rules, the CEAC Rules or the Rules of the Chinese European Arbitration Centre or if the parties agreed on CEAC are recognisable and enforceable in China. In this respect, the Rules clarify that, irrespective of the drafting in the contract of the parties, there can be no doubt that the dispute is referred to an arbitration institution rather than to ad hoc arbitration and that the dispute shall be administered by CEAC. This correlates to the importance of institutional arbitration from a Chinese perspective. In this respect, article 1 paragraph 1a of the Rules (2012) and the CEAC arbitration clause (which is contained in an annex to the CEAC Arbitration Rules) differ from various standard clauses used by other arbitration institutions.

Further, the Rules put a special emphasis on ensuring equal treatment of the parties in China-related transactions. In view of the focus of the CEAC on China, this applies in particular to the active integration of Chinese arbitration experts into the CEAC boards and the appointing authority. Cross-cultural dialogue thereby takes place at an early stage. This ensures neutrality and recognition of the CEAC as an arbitration institution in China. For example, in 2010, the official publication of the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (the CIETAC), Arbitration and Law, published a long article about the CEAC in Chinese (volume 116 (2010), pages 104 to 130). Further, both CIETAC and the Beijing Arbitration Commission (BAC) participated in joint events in China in 2009 and 2010. In 2011, the CEAC and the CIETAC jointly hosted the China Arbitration Day in Hamburg, which focused on China-related arbitration with speakers from China and Europe as well. In 2012, CIETAC, BAC, HKIAC and CEAC jointly co-hosted the China Arbitration Day in Munich with more than 130 participants from all over the world. Ever since, the dialogue has been continued at many occasions, for example, in Shanghai, Cologne, Dusseldorf and Hamburg.

The focused search for a form of neutrality (which is also acceptable as truly neutral by Chinese organisations and experts) is also reflected in the reference and incorporation of international rules accepted worldwide and, in particular, in China. This includes the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules, the 1980 UNCITRAL Convention on the International Sale of Goods (CISG) and the UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts (see below). In addition, the German arbitration law (applicable at the Hamburg seat of the arbitration) is based on the UNCITRAL Model Law. Given that this is not the case for the Chinese arbitration law, the foundation of the German arbitration law on the UNCITRAL Model Law ensures an internationally acceptable level of neutrality for Chinese parties also.

What is the freedom provided for by the model arbitration clause?

The model arbitration clause proposed by the CEAC is available in various languages and will assist the parties to a China-related contract as early as the stage of contract drafting. At present, the model arbitration clause is available in English, German and Mandarin. It reads:

Any dispute, controversy or claim arising out of or relating to this contract, or the breach, termination or invalidity thereof, shall be settled by institutional arbitration administered by the CEAC in Hamburg (Germany) in accordance with the CEAC (Hamburg) Arbitration Rules.

In addition, the model arbitration clause provides options dealing with the number of arbitrators, the place for hearings, languages to be used in the arbitral proceedings, confidentiality and the applicability of the Rules as in force at the moment of commencement of arbitration proceedings or at the time of conclusion of the contract in dispute.

By providing future parties to a CEAC dispute with these options, the CEAC aims to offer a service to the parties on the one hand facilitating contract drafting and on the other hand reminding parties of a number of important issues to be dealt with in international commercial arbitration. The CEAC management is aware of several contracts in which the CEAC arbitration clause was integrated, including contracts not only involving Chinese and European parties but also African and South American parties. A special need of small and medium-sized companies in China and Europe for finding a dispute resolution mechanism for their joint business projects becomes obvious in various phone calls from such parties, about which the CEAC management has reported repeatedly. Such tendencies and application of the CEAC clause in all kinds of cases are confirmed by the first cases pending.

Is it sensible to combine the CEAC arbitration clause in China-related contracts with a mediation or conciliation clause?

Mediation and conciliation have a long history in China, as Chinese parties often want face-saving solutions with their business partners. European and other foreign companies are also keen to avoid bad press about their business activities in Asia. Therefore, it is sometimes wise to combine a CEAC arbitration clause with a mediation or conciliation clause. For example, the parties might like to provide for conciliation under the Beijing-Hamburg Conciliation Rules (which have been in force since 1987) or other ADR rules. Article 1 of the CEAC Arbitration Rules expressly provides for the possibility of initiating any such mediation or conciliation within 21 days after receipt of the notice of arbitration by the respondent, which, upon consent by the other party, will suspend the arbitral proceedings including all deadlines for up to three months or until the termination of the conciliation or mediation, whichever is earlier.

If the mediation is not finished within the three-month period, a further suspension of the arbitral proceedings requires the mutual written consent of all parties, which may be contained in separate documents.

Why does the model choice of law clause refer to CISG and the UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts on an optional basis?

As a result of the international discussion, it became obvious that the majority of experts favoured a pragmatic approach. Therefore, the CEAC Arbitration Rules integrate a CEAC choice of law clause, as stated in article 35. It was based on input from both UNCITRAL and UNIDROIT experts.
The model clause provides for a number of possible and non-
mandatory options. It thereby reminds future parties to a dispute of the fact that a choice of the law applicable to the substance of the dispute is of vital importance. Often parties from different jurisdictions wish to agree on a neutral law or set of rules. The model clause therefore offers the choices of simply choosing the law of a certain jurisdiction, referring to the CISG, which will often be common ground for both the Chinese and the non-Chinese party, or opting for the application of the UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts, which are globally known and increasingly used in China, Europe and many other jurisdictions. China is a signatory state to the CISG. The UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts influenced the Chinese legislature when drafting the new Chinese contract law in 1999 and as a result there are many similarities between the Chinese contract law and the UNIDROIT Principles. The model choice of law clause reads:

The arbitral tribunal shall apply the law or rules of law designated by the parties as applicable to the substance of the dispute. The parties may wish to consider the use of this model clause with the following option by marking one of the following boxes:

This contract shall be governed by

  • a)    the law of the jurisdiction of ___________ [country to be inserted], or
  • b)    the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods of 1980 (CISG) without regard to any national reservation, supplemented for matters which are not governed by the CISG, by the UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts and these supplemented by the otherwise applicable national law, or
  • c)    the UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts supplemented by the otherwise applicable law.
  • In the absence of any such agreement, the arbitral tribunal shall apply the rules of law which it determines to be appropriate.

A quite specific, notable adaptation to China-related contracts is contained in the reference to the CISG ‘without regard to any national reservation’. The clause thereby seeks to avoid the application of the national reservations to the CISG such as the one made by the PRC in accordance with articles 11 and 96 CISG at the time of the ratification (which, however, was later withdrawn with effect from 1 July 2013). This reservation was outdated. It concerned the requirement of written form whereas the Chinese contract law of 1999 does not require written form. Depending on the circumstances, some national reservations may still apply if they are not excluded. This is why the exclusion of national reservations in the CEAC choice-of-law clause is still helpful and avoids further research. The exclusion ensured that the CISG would be applied in this respect in accordance with standards that have also been recognised by the Chinese legislature for many years. This CEAC rule was based on the experience of a confusion between the ‘Chinese’ and the ‘international’ CISG in a German–Chinese arbitration in which the Chinese party tried to avoid the application of the outdated Chinese reservation.

Guiding principles: neutrality, division of power and party autonomy

How does the CEAC ensure neutrality by division of power?

A major principle of the CEAC is the tripartite division of power, which guarantees 360-degree neutrality for parties from any country. The CEAC pursues a truly global approach to achieve a balance of power, by integrating arbitration experts from China, Europe and other parts of the world on an equal basis, for example in the appointing authority and the advisory board of the CEAC.

How does the CEAC apply the principle of division of power in the Appointing Authority?

Most importantly, the work of the appointing authority of the CEAC is based upon the principle of neutrality and balance of power. The appointing authority is competent for the appointment of arbitrators if the parties cannot agree on a sole arbitrator or if the party-appointed arbitrators of a three-person tribunal cannot agree on the chairman. It also decides on arbitrator challenges and on certain issues related to costs of the proceedings (eg, special fees in cases of extreme workload for the arbitrators involved). In view of the importance of the decisions of the appointing authority, the CEAC ensures neutrality by a balance of power in the competent chamber of the appointing authority.

The appointing authority is separated into chambers comprising three members, one member from China, one from Europe and one from the rest of the world. According to this principle of division of power, the CEAC ensures that there is always one expert from a neutral region who can particularly assist the panel of the affected chamber in the selection of a neutral arbitrator who takes the interests of both parties into account. The members of the first chamber of the appointing authority are Lu Song (China), Angelo Anglani (Italy) and Dr Colin Ong (Brunei). The second chamber, which was established in autumn 2009, consists of Li Yong (China), Bart Kasteleijn (Europe) and Nayla Comair-Obeid (Lebanon).

The competences of the chambers in the appointing authority are determined according to the first letter of the name of the respondent named first in the notice for arbitration. At present, the first chamber is competent for the letters A to M and the second chamber for the letters N to Z. In the first 10 cases, the parties succeeded in agreeing on a sole arbitrator or the co-arbitrators succeeded in agreeing on a presiding arbitrator without recourse to the appointing authority.

How does the CEAC apply the principle of division of power in the management of the CEAC?

According to section 6 of the CEAC’s articles of association, the management consists of one or more managing directors. At present, one Chinese law professor and two German lawyers are active in the management of the CEAC responsible for the administration of arbitration proceedings and the ordinary course of business of the arbitration institution, as well as for the marketing of the institution in China and Europe, which is the secretary general’s task within the CEAC management. It is expected to include a representative from another part of the world outside China and Europe.

Who controls the CEAC Arbitration Rules?

The Advisory Board of the CEAC is responsible for amendments to the CEAC Rules. It also advises the CEAC management on matters concerning the administration of arbitration proceedings and other issues of importance. In view of this important function of the advisory board, the principle of tripartite division of powers between representatives of China, Europe and the other regions of the world applies to the advisory board of the CEAC, which at the moment includes experts from mainland China, Hong Kong, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The members include experts with experience in large arbitration institutions, for example, a former president of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Hew R Dundas, who is the chairman of the Advisory Board, and the former secretary general of the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre, Christopher To. They also generally assist the CEAC’s management with considerable international arbitration know-how.

Why is party autonomy so important for the CEAC?

Party autonomy enables the parties to make the arbitration proceedings suitable, as far as possible, to the case in question.

The CEAC Rules allow the parties to choose freely among arbitrators from around the world and to decide on the appointment of such arbitrators by themselves without approval of the CEAC. The appointing authority steps in only if the parties do not reach an agreement by themselves. Further, the parties are free to decide on the languages to be used in the arbitral proceedings and the places for oral hearings or meetings of the arbitrators. The CEAC does not intervene in the arbitration procedure itself, which is left to the parties and the appointed arbitrators.

This strict adherence to the principle of party autonomy guarantees the highest level of influence of both parties in the arbitral proceedings.

Miscellaneous

In what respect do the CEAC (Hamburg) Arbitration Rules deviate from the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules?

Since the amendment of both the UNCITRAL Rules and, therefore, the CEAC (Hamburg) Arbitration Rules in 2010 and 2012, there remain very few differences. Many issues that are state of the art for a modern international arbitration centre (eg, multiparty arbitration) are now covered directly in the UNCITRAL Rules. In such cases in 2010, the CEAC Advisory Board deleted initial special provisions in the CEAC Rules on these issues and replaced them with the UNCITRAL Rules in order to ensure a maximum of correlation between the CEAC Rules and the UNCITRAL Rules. Special CEAC rules concern only a few topics:

  • the scope of application including the combination of arbitration and conciliation or mediation (article 1, paragraph 4);
  • introduction of institutional arbitration (article 3) and a respective model arbitration clause;
  • the exclusion of liability of the CEAC and its officers (article 16);
  • Hamburg as the default standard seat of arbitration with the express possibility of deviating to other venues for the hearings (article 18);
  • a time limit for the award (article 31a);
  • the choice of law clause (article 35); and
  • costs and fees (articles 40, 41, 43).

What are the costs of arbitral proceedings under the CEAC Rules?

Costs for CEAC arbitral proceedings are determined in accordance with the CEAC fee schedule and its annex, which contains a table of fees related to the amount in dispute. Fees for arbitrators and administrative fees for the CEAC are generally based on the amount in dispute. However, this rule is supplemented by a special rule for cases with heavy workload for the arbitrators. Costs for CEAC arbitration proceedings are reasonable and comparable to the schedules of costs of other renowned international arbitration institutions.

How long will the arbitral proceedings take?

Another provision aiming to boost the efficiency of CEAC arbitration proceedings is article 31a of the CEAC Rules, which provides that the arbitral tribunal shall render a final award within nine months after constitution of the arbitral tribunal, unless agreed otherwise by the parties. Five of the first 10 cases have been concluded within six months.

Young CEAC

The CEAC division for young practitioners (with fewer than eight years of practice) is Young CEAC. Founded in 2008, it has organised its first events in Germany, often attracting participants from several European countries. In June 2010, Young CEAC Beijing was founded in the presence of the president of the Beijing Bar Association.

In November and December 2010, Young CEAC hosted arbitration events both in China (Beijing and Shanghai) and in Germany (together with the division of young practitioners of the German Institution of Arbitration DIS in Frankfurt). In 2011, Young CEAC, jointly with Young Austrian Arbitration Practitioners, hosted a coffeehouse debate about cultural specifics of arbitration in China and Europe at the occasion of the 2011 Vis Moot in Vienna. Young CEAC Taipei was founded in March 2012 and the Young CEAC community grows continuously. 2016 has seen the kick off for the relaunch by the second generation of Young CEAC experts. In November 2016, Young CEAC organised an event on ‘Arbitration in China’ jointly with the German DIS arbitration organisation. In 2017, Young CEAC assisted in the relaunch of the CEAC website. In 2018, it is involved in the preparation of the conference to mark the occasion of CEAC’s 10th anniversary.

The non-profit organisation behind the CEAC: what is the Chinese European Legal Association?

The CELA is a German non-profit organisation with about 250 members from more than 30 nations. The founding members of the CELA include the Hamburg Bar Organisation and the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce.

The management of the CELA is presently Austrian, Chinese and German. The chairman of the international Advisory Board is Gao Zongze, a former president of the All China Lawyers’ Association and a former president of the Inter-Pacific Bar Association.

The CELA has its seat at the offices of the Hamburg Bar Organisation. It was established in July 2008 to provide a neutral buffer between the law firm members of the CELA and the independent arbitration institution, the CEAC (under the CEAC ethical rules, members of the CEAC boards and members of CELA boards are ineligible for appointment as arbitrators by the CEAC). Law firms supporting CELA cannot have any influence on CEAC arbitration procedures. Although the CEAC has received official support from the state of Hamburg, it is, through the CELA, a product of the self-regulation of and innovation by lawyers. The official support by the state of Hamburg is limited to patronage of the CEAC project by the Hamburg Senator of Justice and a remarkable change of Hamburg court rules to permit parties to CEAC arbitrations to use the official letter box of the Hamburg Court of First Instance to submit documents to the CEAC’s administration. This is helpful when a party wishes to meet a deadline after office hours or on a weekend or a holiday.

The CELA is an association that promotes legal and legal cultural exchange between Europe and China. It focuses in particular on the education of lawyers in the field of alternative dispute resolution. The CELA’s purpose is ‘to support the interaction and exchange between China and Europe and the world regarding issues of economics, law and legal culture’ and ‘to make a contribution to the avoidance, settlement and resolution of disputes related to international trade from and to China’.

Given this purpose, the CELA has always supported the Vis Moot Court in Vienna (2009–2018) and Hong Kong and the Düsseldorf Arbitration School. In 2012–2013, the problem of the 20th Vis Moot Court competition in Vienna and the 10th in Hong Kong was based on the CEAC Rules. CELA and CEAC have jointly organised a pre-moot in Düsseldorf with about 300 participants from many jurisdictions. CEAC’s chairman of the advisory board and a CEAC managing director have chaired the finals in Hong Kong and Vienna. An ‘award’ of that competition has been published in Australia. In 2010, CELA has also become an official supporter of the China–EU School of Law. It also supports conferences and events organised by the CEAC and Young CEAC.

The CELA is open to all experts active in the field of international commercial arbitration and interested in or engaged in China. It offers two types of membership: law firm membership or individual membership at differing rates, depending on the size of the law firm and the country where the individual member comes from.

The CEAC is still a young arbitration institution tailor-made for international commercial disputes related to China. It has a particular emphasis on service orientation for future parties to arbitration.

It is tailored to the specifics of Chinese law and culture and at the same time ensures neutrality for parties from all over the world.

The CEAC is open for disputes even if there is only a remote or even no connection to China, if the parties wish to refer their case to CEAC arbitration. In this case, the composition of the appointing authority (including Chinese, European and other members) will ensure neutrality. CEAC is aware of at least one large international company using CEAC clauses for all its Asian related contracts. It will be a few years before the CEAC has a fully active caseload. Yet, the first 10 cases since spring 2012 have shown that CEAC has been accepted by the international business community. The high level of recognised international experts involved in the project and, in particular, in the appointing authority ensures that the quality of the arbitrations corresponds to international standards. In recent years, a number of companies have started to integrate CEAC clauses into their contracts. CEAC started to administer proceedings in early 2012.

The future of the CEAC will be shaped by the continuation of the international dialogue that strives for dispute prevention and dispute resolution in a time and cost-efficient manner. The CEAC Rules have been discussed at events organised, for example, in Beijing, Boston, Brussels, Buenos Aires, Dubai, Dublin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hong Kong, Jinan, London, Madeira, Madrid, New York, São Paulo, Shanghai, Taipei, Tokyo, Tsingdao, Vancouver, Washington, DC and Zurich. Also, the CEAC has concluded formal cooperation agreements with the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre and the Kuala Lumpur Regional Arbitration Centre.

Professor Dr Eckart Brödermann LLM FCIArb (Hamburg University; Brödermann Jahn, Hamburg) is the present managing director of CEAC. Dr Christine Heeg LLM (KPMG, Düsseldorf) serves as CEAC’s secretary general. Thomas Weimann (Herbert Smith Freehills, Düsseldorf) is president of the institution’s founding non-profit association CELA. All three are practising attorneys specialising in international arbitration acting as counsel and as arbitrators in their professional practices.

The contact details for the CEAC, Young CEAC and the CELA are as follows and further information can be found on their websites:

Chinese European Arbitration Centre (CEAC)
c/o Handelskammer Hamburg
Adolphsplatz 1
20457 Hamburg
Germany
www.ceac-arbitration.com
Chinese European Legal Association (CELA)
c/o Hanseatische Rechtsanwaltskammer
Valentinskamp 88
20355 Hamburg
Germany
www.cela-hamburg.com

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