Guest post by Ulla Liukkunen, Professor of Labour Law and Private International Law at the University of Helsinki and Director of the Finnish Center of Chinese Law and Chinese Legal Culture
The International Academy of Comparative Law launched a new open access publication in November 2020. Volume no 1 on the use of comparative law methodology in international arbitration contains articles by Emmanuel Gaillard, Sebastián Partida, Charles-Maurice Mazuy, S.I. Strong, Johannes Landbrecht, Morad El Kadmiri, Marco Torsello, Ulla Liukkunen, Alyssa King, Alexander Ferguson, Dorothée Goertz and Luis Bergolla as well as introductory remarks on the topic by the Secretary-General of the Academy, Diego P. Fernández Arroyo.
The volume no 1 is available on aidc-iacl.org/journal.
The article “Chinese context and complexities — comparative law and private international law facing new normativities in international commercial arbitration” was written by Ulla Liukkunen, Professor of Labour Law and Private International Law at the University of Helsinki and Director of the Finnish Center of Chinese Law and Chinese Legal Culture.
Professor Liukkunen examines international commercial arbitration from the perspective of Chinese developments, noting that, in global terms, the organization of cross-border dispute resolution is changing as a part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) development. With the BRI, Chinese interest in international commercial arbitration has gained a new dimension as BRI promotes the expansion of Chinese dispute resolution institutions and their international competitiveness.
According to Liukkunen, these developments challenge the current narrative of international arbitration. She explores private international law as a framework for unfolding noteworthy characteristics of the Chinese legal system and legal culture that are present in international commercial arbitration and can be linked to an assessment of the role of the BRI in shaping the arbitration regime. A rethink of comparative methodology is proposed in order to promote an understanding of Chinese law in the arbitration process.
Moreover, Liukkunen argues that considerations of the Chinese private international law and arbitration regime speak for a broader comparative research perspective towards international commercial arbitration. In the international commercial arbitration frame under scrutiny, we can see the conception of party autonomy placed in a Chinese context where the state is shaping the still relatively young private international law frame for exercise of that freedom and certain institutional structures are advocated where party autonomy is placed. Chinese development underlines the connection between the legal regime of arbitration and endeavours by the state, thereby requiring assessment of party autonomy from the perspective of the regulatory framework of private international law that expresses the complex dichotomy between private and public interests.