Chinese central govt to set up preparatory office for intl court of mediation in HK
Published: Nov 02, 2022 12:47 AM
The night view of Hong Kong Photo: VCG

The night view of Hong Kong Photo: VCG

The Chinese central government will set up a preparatory office for the establishment of an international court of conciliation in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) to carry out intergovernmental negotiations over international conventions about the court.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry and the government of HKSAR signed an arrangement on the establishment of the preparatory office on October 21, 2022 to specify the details concerning the establishment of the office, according to a statement the ministry released on Tuesday.

At present, there is no intergovernmental international organization dedicated to mediation despite a growing demand from the international community in recent years. The existing dispute settlement institutions mainly settle international disputes through litigation and arbitration and generally merely use mediation as an auxiliary or preemptive means.

In order to meet the development trend and demand of international mediation, China drafted and reached a joint statement with countries with similar point of views and decided to initiate and establish the international court of conciliation, specializing in providing mediation services and offering friendly, flexible, economic and convenient solutions to all kinds of international disputes.

The international court of conciliation will be a treaty-based intergovernmental international organization established upon the consultation by all the parties. It is dedicated to resolving disputes and handling differences in a peaceful and friendly manner. It also serves as a beneficial complement to existing institutions and dispute settlement methods as well as a new platform for the peaceful settlement of international disputes. Members of the court are required to stick to openness and inclusiveness.

The preparatory office is expected to organize and carry out negotiations on the conventions to the establishment of the court from 2023.

The main consideration of setting up the preparatory office in Hong Kong is because of its excellent location and convenient business environment, especially its mature legal system which has unique advantages in providing legal services, including mediation. The establishment of the preparatory office will benefit future operation and promotion of the court.

The establishment of the International Organization for Mediation Preparatory Office in Hong Kong reflects the country's support for the HKSAR and its more proactive development strategy as a major power, Louis Chen, member of the Election Committee and secretary general of the Hong Kong Legal Exchange Foundation, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

The move fully demonstrates the country's strong support for Hong Kong to maintain its unique status and its advantages of the common law under the principle of One Country, Two Systems, Chen said.

This international organization jointly established by multiple authorities will provide a new platform for the peaceful settlement of international disputes and fully respond to the international community's need for neutral, professional and amicable mediation mechanisms in settling international disputes, allowing all parties involved in the disputes to have more inclusive and open options to effectively make up for the shortcomings of the existing resolution mechanism of international disputes, Wu Yingpeng, a lawyer and barrister-at-law in Hong Kong, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

The signatories' agreement to set up the court in Hong Kong also reflects the international community's full recognition of the successful practice of One Country, Two Systems principle in the region and the international community's high confidence in Hong Kong's legal and judicial system, Wu added.