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Enhanced system to aid in foreign finance cases

By XING YI in Shanghai | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2020-11-24 08:55


Shanghai will enhance its legal systems with new measures to improve litigation of financial disputes involving foreign parties, according to the Shanghai High People's Court as it unveiled a 24-article policy on Monday.

The policy, published in Chinese and English, aims to enhance Shanghai courts' jurisdiction in the financial sector to improve its professionalism in dealing with cross-border financial cases, embrace international customary practice and expedite adjudication through the use of demonstration cases.

"Companies' managerial loopholes in cross-border finance often lead to financial risks, and courts shall identify problems in concrete cases and publicize them through suggestions and white papers to prevent future damage," said Mao Ronghua, vice-president of Shanghai High People's Court.

Mao said courts will work with financial regulators to share data on cross-border finance to prevent major financial risks, and actively exercise jurisdiction in cases arising from offshore financial activities that disturb the domestic financial order.

Shanghai courts will also select experts and scholars from regulatory agencies, institutions and research institutes to serve as assessors-members of the public who assist judges and evaluate evidence-and participate in case reviews and trials, according to the policy.

The policy includes the establishment of a think tank dedicated to analyzing cutting-edge financial cases from abroad, learning from them so as to spur the development of China's financial justice system, the court said.

Six demonstration cases and explanations of the verdicts were also published on Monday, which exemplified the core principles of courts in handling foreign-related cases, such as recognizing international transaction rules in a dispute related to crude oil swaps and protecting the legal investment of foreigners in the Chinese stock market.

Zhu Changyun, head of the tribunal of the financial court, said releasing the demonstration cases will help players in the financial market know what to expect.

"We protect innovations in the financial sector so long as they do not violate laws and are not contrary to public order and good custom," said Zhu. "The publishing of the cases also clarifies how courts will implement international rules through domestic laws."

Zhu said the court will soon establish an institute with the People's Bank of China's Shanghai branch and Fudan University to study international financial transaction rules and translate cases for reference of future trials.

In 2018, Shanghai established the country's first court specializing in finance-related cases.

Since then, the court has been piloting many practices, including the involvement of financial experts as assessors and the use of demonstration cases, that are part of the new policy.

In forming the policy, the court solicited advice from many international institutions. According to the court, the legal department of JPMorgan Chase Bank (China) Co said the company is encouraged by the continuous opening-up of the Chinese financial market, and it welcomes the improvement of the judicial system that matches the level of openness of the market.

Wu Hong, professor of law at East China University of Political Science and Law, said the number of financial disputes involving foreign parties has increased in recent years as China continues to open up its financial market.

"As Shanghai is becoming an international financial center, the influence and credibility of its financial judicial system will grow as well," Wu said. "The city has the opportunity and conditions to build itself into a center for international financial disputes settlement."

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