August 31, 2018
American Society of International Law Insights. 22 (11)
The People's Republic of China (PRC) is establishing an "international commercial court" (guoji shangshi fating, CICC), marking the first time the PRC is creating legal institutions for the world.
In April 1976, Harvard Law School Professor Frank Sander gave a lecture at a conference convened by U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger on what Sander called, "The Multi-Door Courthouse." The central idea was that the courts of the future would provide parties with a menu of dispute resolution mechanisms, offering not just litigation but also mediation, arbitration, and ombudsmen. Since Sander's address, the idea has been floated in the U.S. in the 1980s, in Africa in the early 2000s, and, most recently, in Latin America, but it may be in China where the idea of the multi-door courthouse finds its fullest expression. This Insight provides an overview of the CICC, and assesses this new venue against the experience of existing international commercial courts, such as the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts.