On August 4, 2009, China’s Supreme People’s Court issued a new regulation to encourage parties involved in conflicts to consider arbitration as an alternative means of dispute resolution. The regulation is in response to a rapid increase in lawsuits during the past two years. Under the new regulation, agreements achieved in arbitration or mediation by administrative bodies, mercantile organizations and industrial groups will have the same force in law as those judged by Chinese courts.
This latest measure is yet another step in the direction towards the establishment of a more favorable dispute resolution environment in Asia. Indeed, arbitration continues to gain traction in resolving disputes in China. Just within the past year, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) opened a branch of the Secretariat in Hong Kong where it set up its International Court of Arbitration. The branch secretariat, the first in Asia, has a case management team to administer cases in the region under the ICC Rules of Arbitration.