On September 13-14, 2018, Dean Shi Jingxia of University of International Business and Economics (UIBE) School of Law, accepted an invitation from The Chinese European Legal Association (CELA) to attend the seminar celebrating the 10th anniversary of the establishment of The Chinese European Arbitration Center (CEAC),"The Belt and Road Initiative: Opportunities and Challenges for International Dispute Settlement and Contracts" in Hamburg, Germany.
After a brief grand opening ceremony, the seminar was divided into three parts and six units, covering topics including: "Communication between the Common Law and the Civil Law under the Belt and Road Initiative" (relating to the general introduction of the Belt and Road Initiative and the arbitration involved, and the arbitration mechanism provided by the arbitration body to the Belt and Road initiative); "The Substantive Legal Rules Crossing Common Law and the Civil Law” (relating to the common law and civil law perspectives of the Rome International Institute for the Unification of Private Law, and the UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts), and the construction of a bridge between common law and civil law traditions in arbitration (relating to the bridging of common law and civil law in arbitration during the Belt and Road Initiative and the role of arbitrators and arbitration institutions in building such bridges, etc.).
Dean Shi Jingxia made speeches in two of the units of the second part of the seminar, which addressed such issues as: why lawyers should pay attention to UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts; in what aspects there are innovations worthy of attention in UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts; whether corporate managers and legal counsels’ ignorance of UNIDROIT Principles may bring about related responsibilities; and the links and roles of the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG) with China.
In her speech, Dean Shi pointed out that UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts has been developed and perfected after four versions and over more than 20 years and has become an important legal restatement or rule compilation in the field of international commercial contracts. UNIDROIT Principles cover a wide range of aspects in contract law whose content are more abundant compared to CISG, including the formation, interpretation and validity of contract, rights and obligations of the parties, contract performance and remedies for breach of contract, the third party’s rights, agents, conditions and duration, etc. UNIDROIT Principles can be used on multiple levels, including acting as the lex causae of contract chosen by the parties, being applicable as a “general legal principle” or “businessman law”, interpreting or supplementing relevant domestic laws or CISG and an important reference for countries to reform their contract legal system. In practice, UNIDROIT Principles have been applied or cited in many arbitration cases or court litigation cases. Dean Shi also gave an example of the Chinese court's reference to UNIDROIT Principles in practice.
Regarding the innovation of UNIDROIT Principles, Dean Shi started from the specific system and explained the innovation of the UNIDROIT Principles for the civil law system, the common law system and the contract law of these two legal systems, especially of the neutrality and universal applicability of UNIDROIT Principles. She also explained how regulations about "long-term contracts" and "agricultural order contracts" on the UNIDROIT Principles 2016 version are also innovations worthy of attention.
Regarding the relationship between CISG and China, Dean Shi has combed China's contribution to the formulation and entry into force of CISG from a historical perspective and discussed the application of CISG in China, including written reservations (withdrawn), applicable reservations made by China and its significant influences to the formulation of the 1999 "Contract Law" as well as the importance of Chinese courts adhering to international conventions including CISG and commercial practices in the context of the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative in recent years.
During the seminar, Dean Shi and representatives from different countries conducted in-depth exchanges and discussions on the Belt and Road Initiative and the recognition and implementation of commercial mediation agreements, which continued to expand the influence and improve the international reputation of UIBE School of Law in the field of international commercial law.