Dr. Liu Xiaochun, the Secretary General of the South China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (SCIA) shared his observations on new mediation developments in China. He described 7 general mechanisms available to parties:
1. Arb-Med-Arb which allows for the use of mediation during the course of arbitration proceedings at the parties or tribunals initiative. This has been used to settle over 20% of SCIA cases from 1993-2007. In order to address the issue of compromised arbitrator neutrality in the event of a failed mediation, the 2012 SCIA rules allow parties to decide if the mediating arbitrator should resign from the panel. Also, all opinions expressed during the course of the mediation can not be invoked in the subsequent arbitration hearings. The SCIA arbitration panel is comprised of 232 arbitrators from 42 jurisdictions.
2. Mediation + Arbitration – via SCIA’s specialized mediation center followed by a separate arbitration process. At present, the mediation panel consists of 242 members.
3. Chamber of Commerce Mediation + SCIA Arbitration – this is mediation targeted primarily to foreign investor disputes.
4. Exhibition Mediation + SCIA Arbitration – this method is used to resolve IP disputes arising at the Canton Trade Fair. Since its inception, 622 disputes were resolved through this method between 2008-2013.
5. HK Mediation + Mainland Arbitration – is what the name implies – mediation in Hong Kong and Arbitration in China. This provides for cross border enforcement of awards.
6. 4 in 1 Model – Mediation, Arbitration, Industry Specific DR, Administrative Regulation – used primarily in disputes between securities dealers and clients.
7. Non-Tribunal Facilitated Mediation – consisting of an alliance between Guandong/HK mediation entities.
Dr. Xu noted that he sees independent mediation and independent arbitration services as the emerging trend for future dispute resolution in Mainland China.