As explained in our Legal Flash of January 2015, the Supreme People’s Court, through a civil ruling issued by Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate Court, confirmed the jurisdiction of the Shanghai International Arbitration Center (“SHIAC”) over a dispute applying an arbitration clause referred to China’s International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (“CIETAC”) Shanghai SubCommission.

On January 21, 2015, Shenzhen Intermediate People's Court (“Shenzhen Court”) issued a similar ruling confirming the jurisdiction of the Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration (“SCIA”) over dispute cases referring to arbitration procedures with CIETAC’s Shenzhen Sub-Commission. In addition, Shenzhen Court’s ruling was backed by Beijing No. 2 Intermediate Court’s refusal to hear the same case, as the court with jurisdiction is where the arbitration commission is located.

Although case law is not binding under the PRC legal system and this approach could be overturned in the future, both civil rulings reflect SPC’s wish to address the confusion arising from CIETAC’s split and its view that SHIAC and SCIA — rather than CIETAC— have jurisdiction over arbitration clauses referring to CIETAC’s former sub-commissions.