On June 21, 2019, the Seminar on International Maritime Arbitration Law and Practice (hereinafter referred to as the “Seminar”), co-hosted by CMAC and the maritime division of All China Lawyers Association’s Maritime Professional Committee, was held in Shanghai. The supporting organizations of the seminar include Insurance Association of China, China National Ship-recycling Association, China Association of Shipbuilding Industry, China Shipowners Mutual Insurance Association, China Shipowners Association, China Port Association, China International Freight Forwarders Association, China Maritime Law Association, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association of China, International Shipping Enterprise Alliance Logistics Branch, China Diving & Salvage contractors Association, China Federation of Logistics & Purchasing, Dalian Maritime University, Shanghai Maritime University, Benchmark Chambers International and Hong Kong Maritime Law Association. As a warm-up meeting of the China Maritime Justice and Arbitration Summit 2019, the seminar was well attended by the maritime and legal communities, bringing together nearly 250 industry professionals, business leaders and legal practitioners.

The opening ceremony of the seminar was hosted by Huang Chenliang, deputy secretary general of the Free Trade Zone (Zhejiang) Arbitration Center of CMAC. Deputy Secretary-General of CMAC, Xie Changqing said in her speech that in the new era, arbitration institutions, arbitrators, lawyers and enterprises should go further with their study of international arbitration laws, rules and practices, and actively respond to opportunities and challenges. This seminar focused on the rule of evidence of the common law system, which help participants to enrich their experience in international arbitration, deepen mutual learning and integration, and bring the dispute resolution in China in line with the international practice.

Chen Youmu, deputy director of maritime division of All China Lawyers Association and senior partner of Shanghai Wintell & Co., said in his speech that arbitration has become a common dispute resolution method in the maritime field. The maritime division of All China Lawyers Association’s Maritime Professional Committee is willing to cooperate with CMAC to promote maritime arbitration at home and abroad and to improve arbitration & mediation systems.

The first session was hosted by Li Xiaoguang, Secretary General of CMAC South China Branch. Li Lianjun, partner of Reed Smith Law Firm, delivered a speech entitled “How to Organize and Acquire Maritime Evidence – The Role of Lawyers”. From the perspective of practice, he explained the importance of evidence, the type of evidence, the process of evidence collection, the process of witness access, the collection of documentary evidence, and the organization of the obtained evidence in the light of cases handled by him, which was quite useful for lawyers engaged in arbitration practices. Yang Yuntao, deputy director of China Merchants Group’s Transportation Logistics Division/Group Beijing Headquarters and Director of the Legal Work Committee of China International Freight Forwarders Association, shared his experience in the preservation, collection and organization of evidence. He said that in dealing with international arbitration, the Chinese companies should not only hire professional lawyers but also prove themselves to be competent parties by acquiring a good knowledge of international arbitration rules and practices. In the appraisal, Tong Yong, a partner of DeHeng Law Firm, suggested that the work of enterprise evidence collection should be advanced, and choose to take the initiative to actively fix and create evidence that will be beneficial to him in the future.

Session 2 was presided by Lawyer Song Dihuang, Vice President of China Maritime Law Association. Sir Bernard Eder, international arbitrator and judge of the Singapore International Commercial Court, shared a speech entitled “Expert Evidence in Arbitration: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly”. He discussed in details the necessity, requirements and guidelines for the use of expert evidence, and addressed the noteworthy core issue of expert evidence, interprets the format and content of the expert evidence report writing, and introduces important procedural issues such as the way the expert evidence disclosure is conducted and the way the expert meeting is held. In the appraisal, Huang Shungang, senior consultant of Shanghai RICC & Co., compared the legal provisions and practical operations of the litigation/arbitration expert evidence in the UK and China and advised on the preparation of expert witnesses in overseas litigation/arbitration. Zhang Jianli, director of the property insurance claims department of China Ping An Property Insurance Co., Ltd., shared the suggestions and experiences on how to choose expert witnesses by referring to the “cape bonny” case, and stressed that the expert witnesses should be qualified for the case and some experience in proceedings, and remain neutral.

Session 3 was hosted by Wang Guohua, Dean of Shanghai Maritime University Law School. As a keynote speaker, International Commercial and Maritime Arbitrator Philip Yang gave an in-depth introduction on the “methods of pre-litigation and pre-trial evidence exchange or disclosure”. He elaborated upon the importance of disclosure and introduced the pre-litigation disclosure protocol together with relevant issues such as search warrants, the mechanism to enforce the award and evidence, etc.. Li Jing, deputy general manager of Shanghai Changhang International Shipping Co., Ltd., proposed that enterprises should improve contracts & file management, actively induce the trading parties to provide materials in their favor and at the same time promote understanding of litigation and arbitration rules. Zheng Lei, senior partner of Shanghai Co-Effect Law Firm LLP, said in her comments that the disclosure and identification of evidence is very important in arbitration. In different cases, the arbitral tribunal’s criteria for different facts are not the same. The parties should collect evidence as comprehensively as possible according to the claim. The arbitrator’s review of the evidence should closely center around the facts of the dispute.

At the end of seminar, Xu Fei, deputy secretary general of CMAC Shanghai Branch, made a closing speech. She said that CMAC will continue to build a research platform for the majority of maritime law participants, and promote the development of China’s maritime law practice in the new era.