Jurisdiction - China
Reports and Analysis
China – Breakaway Shanghai Arbitral Body Announces New Official Name.

21 April, 2013



The former Shanghai-based arm of China's main international arbitration body will now be known as Shanghai International Arbitration Center (SHIAC), it has announced.


SHIAC will also be known as the Shanghai International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission, the body said on its website. It added that the new names had been approved by the Shanghai Municipal Government, and agreed by the Shanghai Commission for Public Sector Reform.


SHIAC formerly operated as the Shanghai office, or sub-commission, of the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC). It declared itself independent from CIETAC in May last year in a disagreement over new arbitral rules. CIETAC banned the breakaway office from using its name and logo at the end of last year, and has declared that it is no longer entitled to hear cases related to contracts that specify CIETAC Shanghai as the place of arbitration.


Established in 1956, CIETAC is the best known centre in China for arbitrations with an international element. It administered over 1,000 cases last year and has offices in Beijing, Chonqing and Tianjin.


Under changes to CIETAC's arbitration rules, which came into force on 1 May 2012, sub-commissions became 'branches' of the body with the power to accept and administer arbitrations "with CIETAC's authorisation". In the previous version of the rules, which took effect in 2005, sub-commissions were described as an integral part of CIETAC with the power to administer cases under the direction of their respective secretariats. Both Shanghai and Shenzen, South China sub-commissions have since set up as separate arbitral bodies, with the latter now known as the Shenzen Court of International Arbitration or South China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission.


On its website, SHIAC said that it would continue to accept cases where the parties had agreed to arbitrate through CIETAC Shanghai, as well as those where the parties had explicitly agreed to arbitrate through SHIAC. Its new arbitration rules and panel of arbitrators will be effective from 1 May 2013, it said.

CIETAC is yet to comment on SHIAC's change of name. However in December, it said that parties who had specified CIETAC Shanghai or South China as the relevant arbitral body in their contracts should submit requests for arbitration directly to CIETAC. Both SHIAC and the Shenzen Court of International Arbitration have disputed this announcement, stating at the beginning of the year that it had no binding effect on the new institutions.


For further information, please contact:
John Bishop, Partner, Pinsent Masons





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