East Asia Workshop: Politics, Economy and Society

February 14, Wei Shen, “Interplay between Centralized Judicial Control and Local Protectionism”


East Asia Workshop: Politics, Economy and Society presents

 Interplay between Centralized Judicial Control and Local Protectionism

Empirical Study of China Supreme People’s Court’s Decisions

on Non-enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (1995-2015)”

Wei Shen

Dean and Professor of Law, Law School

Shandong University

4:30-6:00 p.m., Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Pick Lounge, 5828 South University Ave.

*Light refreshments will be served*


In an effort to fight against local protectionism in court enforcement proceedings, China’s Supreme People’s Court promulgated its Notice on Relevant Issues Pertaining to the People’s Court Handling Foreign and Foreign-Related Arbitration in 1995. Pursuant to this Notice, China’s Intermediate People’s Courts will have to wait until the Supreme People’s Court’s approval of its decision not to enforce any foreign or foreign-related arbitral award. However, the effectiveness of this internal reporting mechanism in constraining local protectionism has never been empirically tested. This empirical study, based on 98 publicly available non-enforcement reply opinions rendered by China’s Supreme People’s Court to lower courts after those lower courts have made and reported preliminary non-enforcement decisions up to the Supreme People’s Court, analyzes whether these non-enforcement decisions have shown any pattern of local protectionism. Although statistical results do not suggest that local protectionism has been a major barrier hindering effective enforcement of foreign or foreign-related arbitral awards in China, we argue that this internal reporting system may also serve other functions. For instance, it provides an alternative tool to reinforce judicial oversight in spite of China’s weak appellant system. At the same time, the Chinese government seems to rely on this internal reporting system to achieve important policy goals. In this sense, analyzing the functionality of this internal reporting system offers us insights of the role top-level judicial control could play China without an independent court system.

About the Speaker

Professor Shen is a Global Professor of Law at New York University School of Law, an associate member of the International Academy of Comparative Law, a member of Moody’s China Academic Advisory Panel, and an Honorary Fellow of Asian Institute of International Financial Law, University of Hong Kong, and has been included in Marquis Who’s Who (2011 onwards). Professor Shen is also a leading expert on international commercial arbitration. He is an arbitrator with Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre, Singapore International Arbitration Centre, Shanghai International Arbitration Centre, among others.

Professor Shen authored seven books, the most recent of which are Shadow Banking in China: Risk, Regulation and Policy (Edward Elgar 2016), and Chinese Business Law: Narrative and Commentary (Wolters Kluwer 2016).  He also serves as an editor of multiple journals, including the Chinese Journal of International Law (SSCI, Oxford University Press) and Journal of East Asia and International Law (SSCI).

Prior to teaching at the law school, Professor Shen practiced in major US and UK firms in Shanghai, Chicago and Hong Kong for a decade. Professor Shen holds a PhD from London School of Economics and Political Science and L.L.M from University of Cambridge and University of Michigan.

* Our full Winter 2017 schedule is available at: Winter Schedule 

Faculty sponsors:

Xi Song (Sociology), Dali Yang (Political Science), and Dingxin Zhao (Sociology)

The East Asia Workshop is sponsored by the Council on Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences and Center for East Asian Studies. Persons with disabilities who believe they may need assistance please contact the student coordinator in advance.

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