Bridge building

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Philosophers have long mused on bridges and what they represent. They can be built or burned, repaired or torn apart, traversed – or not. In our September issue, like the philosophers, we explore bridges. Our cover story is an interview with Hong Kong’s Secretary for Justice, who has worked hard to build a bridge between the two different legal systems operating on the mainland and the special administrative region. In The middle man, Rimsky Yuen talks to China Business Law Journal about his work and visions in building further co-operation between the two systems. There is plenty going on behind the scenes regarding future collaborations between Hong Kong and mainland law firms, for example, and Yuen offers insights on how he would like to see developments move forward.

This issue focuses on dispute resolution, and an important aspect of Yuen’s vision is the development of Hong Kong as a hub for dispute resolution services in the region, including using its open system as a conduit for arbitration regarding mainland-based disputes.

prologueDispute resolution is essentially about repairing broken bridges and in High stakes we explore the machinations of this process in China, where increasingly the attention of regional arbitration centres is focused. Confusion surrounding the split at China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC) continues, to the detriment of this organisation. The two breakaway sub-commissions that burned their bridges with the commission are likely also to feel the impact of this confusion for some time to come. But a masterstroke from CIETAC in establishing a bridgehead in Hong Kong in September last year just may prove to be its salvation.

Countering the problems at CIETAC, the amended Civil Procedure Law came into effect at the beginning of this year, and has been received favourably by law firms. Developments at other regional arbitration centres are ensuring that competition will remain fierce for seats at the dispute resolution table in the near future. Choosing the right seat has probably never been more fraught with uncertainty – or more crucial. Still on dispute resolution, it’s worth mentioning our Dispute Digest section, where CIETAC’s vice chairman and secretary general gives us his unabridged explanation of the events surrounding the contentious split. Leading lights at the Beijing Arbitration Commission and the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre also offer their long-term visions for development.

We also take a close look at the first conclusive judgment on a vertical monopoly agreement where healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson Medical (China) and its Shanghai branch have to pay out their Beijing-based former distributor Rainbow Medical Equipment & Supply. Stitched up: the J&J case explains how this judgment brings clarification to court attitudes towards vertical monopolies.

Our feature on Central and Eastern Europe shows a region still in the throes of regulatory development. CEE worthy is a must read for staying ship-shape with investments and abreast of fast-paced changes to commercial laws affecting foreign investment in the region.