The China Maritime Arbitration Commission (CMAC) is the organisation that operates independently and impartially to resolve maritime, logistic disputes and other contractual or non-contractual disputes in order to protect the legitimate rights and interests of the parties and promote the development of the international and domestic economy, inter alia, trade and logistics.
The CMAC was founded in 1959 and has its headquarters in Beijing and established its Shanghai subcommission and five liaison offices in Guangzhou, Dalian, Tianjin, Ningbo and Qingdao.These offices facilitate the parties¡¯ arbitrations in these regions. Over the past decades, the CMAC has settled over 1,000 maritime affairs and commercial arbitration cases.
The CMAC takes cognizance of cases relating to the following disputes:
- disputes arising from charter party, contract of multi-model transporter, bill of lading, waybill or any other transport documents concerned in connection with carriage of goods by sea or waters, or carriage of passengers;
- disputes arising from sale, construction, repair, chartering, financing, towage, collision, salvage and/or raising of ships or other offshore mobile units or from sale, construction, leasing, financing and other relative business of containers;
- disputes arising from marine insurance, general average and/or ship¡¯s protection and indemnity;
- disputes arising from supply of ship¡¯s stores or bunker, ship¡¯s agency, seamen¡¯s service and/or port¡¯s handling;
- disputes arising from exploitation and utilisation of marine resources or pollution damage to marine environment;
- disputes arising from freight forwarding, non-vessel operating common carriage, transport by highway, railway and/or airway, transport, consolidation and de-vanning of containers, express delivery, storing, processing, distributing, warehouse distributing, logistics information management or from construction, sale and leasing of tools of transport, tools of carrying and handling, storage facilities, or from logistics centre and distribution centre, logistics project planning and consulting, insurance related to logistics, tort or others related to logistics and other disputes related to logistics;
- disputes arising from fishery production or fishing; and
- other disputes submitted for arbitration by agreement between the parties.
2. THE ARBITRATOR
The CMAC maintains a panel of over 200 arbitrators. Each party shall appoint one arbitrator from the panel list of arbitrators of the arbitration commission or entrust the chairperson of the arbitration commission to appoint one arbitrator within 15 days from the date of receipt of the notice of arbitration. The third arbitrator shall be jointly appointed by the parties as the presiding arbitrator. For the summary procedure, both parties may jointly appoint or jointly authorise the chairperson of the arbitration commission to appoint an arbitrator from the panel list as the sole arbitrator. The CMAC has its own Ethical Rules for Arbitrators whereby any arbitrator who considers themself to be materially or otherwise interested in a case in any way that might affect the impartiality in handling of the case shall request withdrawal from the case. The arbitrators shall sign the arbitrator¡¯s declaration if they accept the appointment by the parties or the chairperson of the arbitration commission. The declaration shall be delivered to the parties. The parties also have the right to make a request in writing to the CMAC for the removal of such appointed arbitrator from their position if they have justifiable reasons to suspect the impartiality and independence of the arbitrator.
3. THE HEARING
The CMAC hears cases in accordance with the Arbitration Rules and the contract made by the parties concerned. The parties are treated on an equal footing and given sufficient opportunities to present their views and arguments in the course of the arbitration proceeding.
The arbitration tribunal will not hear cases in an open session. An oral hearing may be held in any other place as agreed by the parties concerned.
The parties shall produce evidence in support of their claims. The arbitration tribunal may, on its own initiative, undertake investigations and collect evidence, or consult an expert or appoint an appraiser for clarification of the specific issues relating to a case if it considers necessary. The evidence submitted by the parties will be examined and evaluated by the arbitration tribunal.
4. COMBINATION OF ARBITRATION WITH CONCILIATION
The combination of arbitration with conciliation is a salient feature of China¡¯s maritime arbitration.
During arbitration proceedings, the arbitration tribunal may conciliate the case under its examination. The conciliation is conducted on the basis that the parties act entirely voluntarily and that the facts and liabilities have been significantly and materially clarified. The arbitration tribunal may help the parties voluntarily to reach an amicable settlement of a dispute in a flexible way and then make an award in the light of the contents of the agreement.
Should conciliation fail, any statements, opinion, views or proposals which had been made, put forward, suggested, accepted or rejected by either party or by the arbitration tribunal in the process of conciliation shall not be invoked by any party as grounds for any claim, defence and/or counterclaim in the subsequent arbitration proceedings, judicial proceedings or any other proceedings.
5. SUMMARY PROCEDURE
The Arbitration Rules of the CMAC embody stipulations regarding summary procedure. The summary procedure shall apply to any case in dispute where the amount of the claim totals not more than CNY1 million. This summary procedure shall also apply to cases where the amount of the claim totals more than CNY1 million with the parties¡¯ agreement in writing. Where a case under summary procedure is heard, an arbitral award shall be made within 30 days from the day of completion of the oral hearing. Where a case is examined on the basis of documents only, an award shall be rendered within 90 days from the day when the arbitration tribunal is formed.
6. THE AWARD
The arbitration tribunal shall make the arbitral award within the time limit stipulated by the Arbitration Rules. The arbitral award shall be decided by the majority opinion of the arbitrators. When the arbitration tribunal cannot attain a majority opinion, the arbitral award shall be made in accordance with the casting vote of the presiding arbitrator. Dissenting opinion will be addressed in the award. The arbitral tribunal shall give the reasons in the award, except that the award is made under amicable settlement between the parties.
In the course of the arbitration proceedings, the arbitral tribunal may make an interlocutory award or a partial award on any issues of the case.
The arbitral award is final and binding upon both parties. Neither party may bring a suit before a law court or make a request to any other organisation for revising the arbitral award.
The parties must automatically execute the arbitral award within the time limit specified in the arbitral award. If no time limit is specified in the arbitral award, the parties shall carry out the arbitral award immediately.
In case one party fails to execute the arbitral award, the other party may apply to the Chinese court for enforcement of the arbitral award in accordance with the Chinese laws or apply to the competent foreign court for enforcement of the arbitral award according to the 1958 Convention on Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (New York Convention) or other international treaties that China has concluded or acceded to.
China acceded to the New York Convention in 1978. Presently, more than 140 countries have acceded to the New York Convention. This means that the arbitral award made through the administration of the CMAC can be correspondingly recognised and enforced in over 140 countries.