Litigating & Conducting Discovery Against Chinese Companies


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This presentation provides an overview of litigation, arbitration, and Discovery issues in China.

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Litigating & Conducting Discovery Against Chinese Companies

  1. 1. Litigating & Conducting Discovery Against Chinese Companies Dan Harris 600 Stewart Street, Suite 1200 Seattle, WA | 98101 (206) 224-5657 | Fax: (206) 224-5659
  2. 2. <ul><li>China is party to The Hague Convention on </li></ul><ul><li>Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial </li></ul><ul><li>Documents in Civil and Commercial Matters. </li></ul><ul><li>Service of process must be through </li></ul><ul><li>diplomatic channels. Really? </li></ul>Serving Chinese Manufacturers
  3. 3. <ul><li>Chinese courts have no obligation to enforce U.S. judgments. And they DON’T. </li></ul><ul><li>Chinese courts generally enforce international arbitral awards. </li></ul>Collecting From Chinese Companies
  4. 4. <ul><li>Chinese law? </li></ul><ul><li>Document-based </li></ul><ul><li>Cheap and fast. Limited to no discovery. </li></ul><ul><li>Nobody settles. </li></ul><ul><li>Very low damages. Lost profits/pain and </li></ul><ul><li>suffering – good luck. </li></ul>China Litigation
  5. 5. <ul><li>Where will arbitration occur? </li></ul><ul><li>Choice of law? Be careful. </li></ul><ul><li>Institutional or ad hoc ? </li></ul><ul><li>Language? </li></ul><ul><li>Arbitrator’s nationality? </li></ul><ul><li>How to enforce award? </li></ul>Arbitration
  6. 6. <ul><li>ICC, LCIA, SCC, ICDR, etc.; Hong Kong, </li></ul><ul><li>Singapore, Vancouver, London, Geneva, New </li></ul><ul><li>York, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>China does not recognize ad hoc arbitrations (HK </li></ul><ul><li>exception?) </li></ul><ul><li>Enforcement in China under the New York </li></ul><ul><li>Convention: “Getting better.” </li></ul>Arbitrating Outside China
  7. 7. Arbitrating Inside China <ul><li>CIETAC -- China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission </li></ul><ul><li>BAC -- Beijing Arbitration Commission </li></ul><ul><li>Foreign arbitration in China: dubious. </li></ul><ul><li>No ad hoc arbitration. </li></ul>
  8. 8. CIETAC <ul><li>Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen </li></ul><ul><li>Must be by consent. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Can” occur outside China. </li></ul><ul><li>Has its own panel of arbitrators (25% foreign), but can appoint outside the panel if CEITAC Chairman agrees. </li></ul><ul><li>Chinese nationals unless parties agree and push for foreigners. </li></ul>
  9. 9. CIETAC - 2 <ul><li>Very limited discovery. </li></ul><ul><li>Short, informal, document focused hearings. </li></ul><ul><li>Tribunal shall consider “international practices” and “principles of fairness and reasonableness.” Important. </li></ul><ul><li>Chinese language used unless parties agree otherwise. </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>Confidential </li></ul><ul><li>Award is final. </li></ul><ul><li>Losing party usually pays costs, but not </li></ul><ul><li>attorneys’ fees unless it’s in the contract. </li></ul><ul><li>Intermediate People’s Court enforces the </li></ul><ul><li>award with limited grounds to refuse. </li></ul>CIETAC -3
  11. 11. HK Arbitration <ul><li>Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre : </li></ul><ul><li>Highly regarded </li></ul><ul><li>UNCITRAL arbitration rules, with some modifications. </li></ul><ul><li>Arrangement Concerning Mutual Enforcement of Arbitration Awards between the Mainland and the HK Special Administrative Region. Ad hoc ? </li></ul><ul><li>Convert to HK judgment first? </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>China is party to the Hague Convention on Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil and Commercial Matters. </li></ul><ul><li>Service through Chinese Central Authority: </li></ul><ul><li>Bureau of International Judicial Assistance </li></ul><ul><li>Ministry of Justice of the People’s Republic of China </li></ul><ul><li>10 Chaoyangmen Nandjie, Chaoyang District </li></ul><ul><li>Beijing 100020, China </li></ul>Hague Service
  13. 13. <ul><li>Submit documents to be served with form USM-94 ( ), in duplicate to the foreign central authority. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Duplicate&quot; means a completed USM-94; one original English version of the documents to be served (summons must have the court’s seal); one translation of all documents to be served; plus, a photocopy of all of the above. </li></ul><ul><li>USM-94 form does not need to be translated. </li></ul>Hague Service - 2
  14. 14. <ul><li>Payment of approximately $100.00 MUST be sent with service request via international payment order, payable to Supreme People's Court of the People's Republic of China. </li></ul><ul><li>If personal service is required, strike out methods (a) and (c) on USM-94 form and indicate method (b), noting the documents should be served personally upon the person or company to be served. </li></ul>Hague Service - 3
  15. 15. <ul><li>Vienna Convention on Consular Relations; U.S. - China Consular Convention; Hague Convention on the Taking of Evidence Abroad in Civil and Commercial Matters </li></ul><ul><li>China does not allow depositions on its soil. Embassy/Consulate? HK. </li></ul><ul><li>Written Discovery/Letters Rogatory pursuant to the Hague Evidence Convention. </li></ul><ul><li>Not fast. Not likely. </li></ul>Discovery In China – What’s That?