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Seminars on the revised CIETAC Arbitration Rules -
April 2012 in London, Edinburgh and Dublin

Following the launch events for the Forum in April 2011, and the two Seminars held in London in September 2011, four seminars took place in April 2012. The purpose of the those seminars was to explain the revisions to the CIETAC Arbitration Rules, in force from 1 May 2012.The speaker at the Seminars was Mr Cai Renrong, Advisor to the CIETAC Secretariat and former Chief Representative of the CCPIT in the United States.  He was accompanied by Anthony Connerty, Chairman of the CIETAC Foreign Arbitrators’ Forum.

The 2012 seminars were followed by receptions, all hosted by the organising bodies: Clifford Chance; Fulbright & Jaworski; the Scottish Arbitration Centre; and A&L Goodbody and Arbitration Ireland.

Clifford Chance
The first of the four seminars was held on 17 April 2012 at Clifford Chance’s offices in Canary Wharf, London. The seminar was introduced by Audley Sheppard, global head of Clifford Chance's international arbitration and international law groups, and a member of the LCIA Court and the ICC Court.

He introduced Anthony Connerty who informed the audience of the background and purposes of the CIETAC Foreign Arbitrators’ Forum. Connerty introduced Mr Cai Renrong who spoke of CIETAC and its caseload, and took the audience through the revisions to the CIETAC Rules.

Fulbright & Jaworski
On 19 April the second London seminar was held in the Fleet Street offices of Fulbright & Jaworski. The seminar was introduced by Richard Hill, an international disputes lawyer and partner in the firm based in Fulbright's London and Hong Kong locations. Anthony Connerty spoke of the Forum before introducing Mr Cai Renrong’s address on the revisions to the CIETAC Rules.

The audiences at the London seminars included senior members of the judiciary; the ICC Representative in the UK; international arbitrators; partners from international law firms; senior members of the English Bar; academics from London universities; and law journal editors.

Lively Question and Answer sessions followed Mr Cai’s presentations at both of the London seminars, and each seminar was followed by a reception at which Mr Cai was able to deal with further questions from delegates taking a keen interest in CIETAC and the revised Rules.

Edinburgh: Scottish Arbitration Centre
The third seminar was held in Edinburgh on 23 April, hosted by the Scottish Arbitration Centre and held in the Scottish Parliament Building.

The seminar was opened by Brandon Malone, the Chairman of the Scottish Arbitration Centre, who introduced Christine Graham, a Member of the Scottish Parliament. She spoke of the trade relations between Scotland and China.  She was followed by Lord Hamilton, the Lord President, the most senior Scottish Judge. He spoke of international arbitration in the Scottish context.

Mr Li Ruiyou, the Consul General of the PRC in Edinburgh, spoke of the close China/Scotland relations - and demonstrated a good understanding of the Scottish and English legal systems.

Anthony Connerty spoke on the Forum, and thanked Brandon Malone and Andrew Mackenzie, the Chief Executive of the Scottish Arbitration Centre: both had been closely involved in arranging the Seminar.

Mr Cai gave an address dealing generally with CIETAC and the CCPIT before going on to speak of the detail of the 2012 Revisions.
The Q&A session was followed by a reception for the delegates, and a dinner in the Parliament building for the speakers.

Delegates included Lord Dervaid, Vice President of the SAC;  representatives of the Scottish Government and the Scottish Parliament; the President of the Law Society; Scottish barristers; partners in major Scottish law firms; lawyers from international organisations such as banks and insurance companies; directors of international organisations such as Standard Life and Hill International ; lecturers form Scottish Universities and representatives of the Centre for Energy, Petroleum and  Mineral Law and Policy of Dundee University (CEPMPL).

Whilst in Edinburgh Mr Cai was able to visit the Scottish Arbitration Centre in Hunter Square.

Dublin: A&L Goodbody and Arbitration Ireland
The fourth and final seminar was held on 26 April in Ireland at the Dublin offices of solicitors A&L Goodbody, who hosted the seminar together with Arbitration Ireland.

Joe Kelly, partner in the firm, introduced Anthony Connerty, who spoke on the Forum and thanked Mr Kelly and his colleague Andrew Walsh for organising the seminar. Mr Connerty also thanked Michael Collins SC and Colm O hOisin SC of Arbitration Ireland for their support for the Forum’s seminar, and for arranging visits for Mr Cai to the Dublin Arbitration Centre and to the Irish Law Courts: that visit included lunch with Mr Justice Charleton- who speaks Mandarin.

Mr Cai’s presentation was followed by a Q&A session. The questions demonstrated great interest in CIETAC and in China/Ireland relations: the seminar took place at a time of a number of delegation visits between the two countries. The Chinese Vice President, Xi Jinping, was in Dublin in mid- February on a three day visit. The Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister), Enda Kenny, embarked on a four day visit to China on 25 March 2012.  He was accompanied by Richard Bruton, the Irish Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, together with business and academic leaders from different sectors, and representatives of State agencies.  The Irish Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, led an Irish trade delegation to China between 15 April and 22 April.

Delegates at the Dublin seminar included a number of PRC lawyers attending  the A&L Goodbody Chinese Lawyers Programme, which was launched by the Taoiseach during his visit to China. Also on the delegate list were Irish barristers, and solicitors from many of Dublin’s leading law firm - and a Beijing/Shanghai law firm which opened an office in Dublin some years ago: HaoLiWen Partners, headed by Shelly Xiong.  Representatives from Dublin universities, the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and international companies were amongst the capacity audience.

Delegates at the four seminars noted that some of the changes made by the revision to the Rules are aimed at giving the parties greater say in the arbitral process, others at enabling CIETAC to take account of the circumstances of a particular case. The combined effect might be described as aimed at bringing the CIETAC Rules more into line with internationally accepted practices.

The 2012 revisions to the Arbitration Rules should see CIETAC’s position as one of the world’s leading arbitral institutions strengthened and enhanced.

Perhaps one result of the revisions – which bring the Rules more into line with the provisions of other international commercial arbitral institutions – may be that more hearings in CIETAC arbitrations will take place outside China.

Indeed, there was one question that cropped up at all four seminars:  when will a  CIETAC arbitration take place in London, Edinburgh or Dublin?