Arbitration Law of the People's Republic of China
(Adopted at the Ninth Standing Committee Session of the Eighth National People's Congress on August 31, 2020)
Table of Contents
Chapter I. General
Chapter II. The
Arbitration Commission and Arbitration Association
Chapter IV. Arbitration
Section 1. Application
Section 2. The
Formation of an Arbitration Tribunal
Section 3. Hearing
Chapter V. Request
to Repeal a Ruling
Chapter VI. Execution
Special Provisions for Arbitrations Involving Foreign
Chapter I. General Principles
This law is formulated with a view to ensuring fair
and timely arbitration of disputes over economic matters,
safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of
the litigants and guaranteeing the sound development
of the socialist market economy.
Disputes over contracts or other disputes involving
property between civil subjects with equal status, that
is, between citizens, legal persons, and other organizations,
are subject to arbitration.
Disputes over the following matters are not subject
(1) disputes over marriage,
adoption, custody, support and inheritance;
(2) administrative disputes
that by law should be handled by administrative organs.
Where the litigants choose to settle their dispute through
arbitration, they should reach an arbitration agreement
of their own accord. When, in the absence of an arbitration
agreement, a litigant applies for arbitration, the arbitration
commission shall not accept it.
Where the litigants have an arbitration agreement and
one litigant brings a suit in the people's court, the
people's court shall not accept it. However, exception
is to be made when the arbitration agreement is invalid.
The arbitration commission shall be chosen by the litigants
Arbitration is not subject
to jurisdiction by level or territorial jurisdiction.
Arbitration shall be carried out on the basis of act
and in accordance with law to settle disputes in a fair
and rational manner.
Arbitration shall be done independently, free of interference
and from administrative organs, mass organizations or
The system of one ruling only is practised in arbitration.
Where, after a ruling is made, a litigant files another
application for arbitration or brings a lawsuit in the
people's court over the same dispute, the arbitration
commission or the people's court shall not accept it.
Where a court repeals a
ruling or orders it not to be executed in accordance
with law, the litigants may refile an application for
arbitration of the dispute pursuant with a new arbitration
agreement reached between the parties or bring a suit
in the people's court.
Chapter II. The Arbitration Commission and
The arbitration commission may be set up in municipalities
directly under the central government or in cities where
the provincial or autonomous regional people's government
is seated. It may also be set up in other cities that
are divided into districts. It is not to be set up at
all levels of administrative divisions.
The people's government
in the cities specified in the preceding paragraph shall
organize relevant departments and the chambers of commerce
to form the arbitration commission in a unified way.
When an arbitration commission
is set up, it shall register with the judicial and administrative
departments of the province, autonomous region or municipalities
directly under the central government.
The arbitration commission shall have the following
(1) its own name, domicile
and articles of association;
(2) the required property;
(3) members that make up
the commission; and
(4) arbitration officers
retained by it.
The articles of association
of the arbitration commission shall be formulated pursuant
to this law.
The arbitration commission shall consist of one director,
two to four deputy directors and seven to 11 commission
The director, deputy directors,
and members of the arbitration commission shall be held
by legal, economic or trade experts and persons with
working experience. Legal, economic or trade experts
shall make up at least two- thirds of the arbitration
The arbitration commission shall appoint fair-minded
and respectable persons as arbitration officers.
Arbitration officers shall
have one of the following qualifications:
(1) have eight years of
(2) have worked as a lawyer
for eight years;
(3) have served as a judge
for eight years;
(4) have studied law or
engaged in educational work and have a senior professional
(5) have legal knowledge,
worked in the fields of economics or trade, and have
a senior professional title or equivalent professional
The arbitration commission
shall compile the panel of arbitrators by their specialities.
Arbitration commissions are independent from administrative
organs; they are not subordinate to administrative organs.
There is no affiliation among arbitration commissions
The China Arbitration Association is a social organization
as a legal person. The arbitration commissions are members
of the China Arbitration Association. The articles of
association of the China Arbitration Association shall
be formulated by its national membership meeting.
The China Arbitration Association
is an organization for enforcing self-discipline among
the arbitration commissions that, pursuant to its articles
of association, oversees violations of discipline by
the arbitration commissions and their members and the
the China Arbitration Association
shall formulate arbitration rules in accordance with
the relevant provisions of this law and the Law of Civil
Chapter III. Arbitration Agreement
An arbitration agreement refers to an arbitration clause
provided in the contract or other written agreements
requesting arbitration concluded prior or subsequent
to the occurrence of disputes.
An arbitration agreement
shall have the following contents:
(1) an expressed intent
to request arbitration;
(2) items for arbitration;
(3) the chosen arbitration
An arbitration agreement shall be invalid in any of
the following circumstances:
(1) the items for arbitration
agreed upon are beyond the scope of arbitration as prescribed
(2) a party to the arbitration
agreement is a person having no capacity or with limited
capacity for civil conduct; or
(3) the arbitration agreement
is imposed by one party on the other party by means
Where an arbitration agreement does not specify or clearly
specify the items for arbitration or an arbitration
commission, the litigants may reach a supplementary
agreement. Where they fail to reach a supplementary
agreement, the arbitration agreement shall be deemed
an arbitration agreement stands on its own. Modification,
rescission, termination of the contract or its being
declared invalid does not affect the arbitration agreement's
The arbitration tribunal
has the power to confirm the validity of the contract.
Where a litigant takes exception to the validity of
the arbitration agreement, he may request that the arbitration
commission make a decision or that the people's court
make a judgement.
Where one litigant requests
that the arbitration commission make a decision while
the other litigant requests that the people's court
make a judgement, the people's court shall make a judgement.
Where a litigant takes
exception to the validity of the arbitration agreement,
he shall raise a challenge before the arbitration tribunal
starts the first hearing of the case.
Chapter IV. Arbitration Procedure
Section 1. Application
The litigants requesting arbitration shall meet the
(1) there shall be an arbitration
(2) there shall be a specific
appeal request, facts and reasons for the appeal; and
(3) the case shall be within
the jurisdictional power of the arbitration commission.
The litigants shall submit to the arbitration commission
the arbitration agreement and application for arbitration
The application for arbitration shall carry the following
(1) the names, sex, age,
profession, work units and addresses of the litigants;
the names and addresses of the legal person or other
organization concerned; and the names and professions
of the legal representative and other principal persons
(2) arbitration requested
and the facts and reasons on which the request is based;
(3) evidence and its sources;
the names and addresses of witnesses.
When the arbitration commission has received the application,
it shall accept it and so notify the litigants within
five days if it deems the application meets the requirements;
with respect to cases that do not meet the requirements,
it shall notify the litigants in writing that the cases
may not be accepted and heard along with an explanation.
After accepting the arbitration application, the arbitration
commission shall, within the period prescribed in the
arbitration rules, deliver the arbitration rules and
the names of the arbitration panel to the applicant;
and it shall also deliver a copy of the application
as well as the rules and the panel to the adverse litigant.
After receiving the copy
of the arbitration application, the adverse litigant
shall furnish a defence to the arbitration commission
within the period prescribed in the arbitration rules.
After receiving the defence, the arbitration commission
shall, within the period prescribed in the arbitration
rules, deliver a copy of the defence to the applicant.
The absence of a defence on the part of the adverse
litigant does not affect the arbitration process.
where an arbitration agreement has already been reached
and one litigant has filed a suit with the people's
court but failed to state the agreement , the people's
court shall reject the case it has accepted when the
other litigant had submitted the arbitration agreement
prior to the opening of the first court session, except
when the arbitration agreement is invalid. Failure of
the adverse litigant to express objection before the
first court session is considered to be a waiving of
the agreement and the people's court shall proceed in
examining the case.
The applicant may renounce or change the arbitration
request. The adverse litigant may acknowledge or rebut
the arbitration request and has the right to submit
Either litigant may request protection of his property
when he believes the arbitration cannot be carried out
or will be carried out with difficulty owing to the
other litigant's conduct or other causes.
When one litigant requests
protection of his property, the arbitration commission
shall submit the request to the people's court in accordance
with the relevant regulations in the Law of Civil Procedure.
When the application is
faulty, the applicant shall compensate the adverse litigant
for the losses incurred from the protection of property.
Either litigant or his legal representative may request
a lawyer or an agent to represent him at the arbitration.
When he does so, he shall submit a power of attorney
to the arbitration commission .
Section 2. The
Formation of an Arbitration Tribunal
An arbitration tribunal may be composed of three arbitrators
or only one. A tribunal which is composed of three arbitrators
shall have a president arbitration officer.
Where the litigants agree that an arbitration tribunal
be composed of three arbitrators, each of them shall
elect his own arbitrator, or request the arbitration
commission director to designate an arbitrator for him.
The third arbitrator shall be selected by the litigants,
or by the arbitration commission director at their request.
The third arbitrator shall serve as the presiding arbitration
In the event the litigants fail to reach an agreement
on the form of an arbitration tribunal, or fail to select
their arbitrators within the period prescribed in the
arbitration rules, the arbitration commission director
shall make the decision for them.
After an arbitration tribunal has been formed, the arbitration
commission shall notify the litigants, in writing, about
the formation or the tribunal.
An arbitrator shall withdraw from serving in the tribunal
when his case is one of the following, and the litigants
also have the right to present a withdrawal request:
(1) where he is one of
the litigants in the arbitration, or he is a close relative
of any one litigant, or a relative of the attorney;
(2) where he has a vital
interest in the arbitration;
(3) where he is related
to the litigants, or their attorneys, in other respects
in the case and the relationship may affect an impartial
(4) where he has had private
meetings with the litigants or with their attorneys,
or when he has accepted the invitation of the litigants
or their attorneys, to dine, or accepted their gifts.
Where one litigant submits a withdrawal request, he
shall state the reasons, and the reasons shall be submitted
prior to the opening of the first court session. When
a cause of the withdrawal is not known until the first
court session has been held, the cause may be submitted
prior the closure of the last court session.
The arbitration commission director shall decide whether
an arbitrator should withdraw; when the arbitration
commission director serves as an arbitrator, other members
or the arbitration commission shall make the decision
When an arbitrator cannot perform his duties owing to
withdrawal or other causes, a new arbitrator shall be
elected or designated to take his place in accordance
with this law.
After a new arbitrator
has been elected or designated as a result of the withdrawal
of another arbitrator, the litigants may request that
the ongoing arbitration process be started anew, and
the arbitration process tribunal shall decide whether
or not to approve the request. The arbitration tribunal
may also decide on its own whether the ongoing arbitration
process should be started anew.
Where an arbitrator has situation (4) under Article
34, and the case is serious, or where an arbitrator
has situation (6) under Article 58, he shall be liable
for legal responsibilities according to the law and
the arbitration commission shall remove his name from
Section 3. Hearing and
the arbitration shall be held as a tribunal. Where the
litigants agree to have an open session, arbitrations
may be held openly, except for cases which involve state
Arbitrations do not proceed openly. Where the litigants
agree to have an open session, arbitrations may be held
openly, except for cases which involve state secrets.
The arbitration commission shall notify both litigants
of the date of the tribunal session within the period
prescribed in the arbitration rules. Within the period
prescribed in the arbitration rules, litigants may request
a postponement of the session if any of them has a legitimate
reason. The arbitration tribunal shall decide whether
the session should be postponed.
The applicant shall be considered to have withdrawn
his arbitration request if he, after being notified,
fails to attend the tribunal session without a legitimate
reason, or if he leaves the tribunal during the session
without the tribunal's approval.
If the adverse litigant,
after being notified, fails to attend the tribunal session
without a legitimate reason; or if he leaves the tribunal
session without the arbitration tribunal's approval,
a ruling can be made by default.
Litigants shall provide evidence to support their respective
The arbitration tribunal
may collect on its own account evidence it deems essential.
When the arbitration tribunal maintains that a certain
specialized issue must be appraised, it may also designate
an appraising department to have the appraisal made.
In accordance with the
request submitted by the litigants or the arbitration
tribunal, the appraisal department shall send a appraiser
to attend the tribunal session. With the tribunal's
approval, the litigants may question the appraiser.
The evidence shall be exhibited at the tribunal session.
Litigants may cross- examine one another.
If the evidence is perishable or if the evidence may
be hard to obtain in the future, the litigants may request
that the evidence be preserved. Where the litigants
request preservation of the evidence, the arbitration
commission shall submit the request to the grass-roots
people's court of the location where the evidence is
Either litigant has the right to debate during the arbitration
process. When the debate ends, the presiding arbitration
officer, or an arbitrator acting alone, shall solicit
the litigants' final views.
The arbitration tribunal shall record the session in
writing. The litigants, or other arbitration participants,
have the right to request corrections when they think
the records of their statements are incomplete or faulty.
If corrections are denied, their requests shall be stated
in the record.
The written records shall
be signed, or sealed, by the arbitrators, the recorders,
the litigants and other arbitration participants.
The litigants may reach a settlement by themselves after
they have requested arbitration. If a settlement agreement
has been reached, the litigants may request that the
arbitration tribunal make a written ruling on the basis
of the settlement, and they may also retract their arbitration
If any litigant wants to retract the withdrawal request
after a settlement agreement has been reached, they
may request arbitration in accordance with the arbitration
The arbitration tribunal may carry out mediation prior
to making a ruling. The
arbitration tribunal shall
mediate when the litigants agree to mediation. If the
mediation fails, a ruling should be made promptly.
If an agreement has been
reached through mediation, the arbitration tribunal
shall draw up a written mediation, which has the same
legal effect a a ruling letter.
The written mediation shall state the arbitration request
and the litigants' agreement. The written mediation,
after it has been signed by the arbitrators and sealed
by the arbitration commission, shall be delivered to
The written mediation becomes
legally valid after it has been signed and accepted
by the litigants.
If one litigant backs out
prior to the signing of the written mediation, the arbitration
tribunal shall make a ruling promptly.
The ruling shall be made on the basis of the views expressed
by the majority of arbitrators. The different views
of the minority of arbitrators may be stated in the
record. When the arbitration tribunal fails to come
up with a majority view, a ruling shall be made according
to the view of the presiding arbitration officer.
The written arbitration shall state the arbitration
request, facts of the dispute, the reasons for the ruling,
the result of the ruling, the arbitration expenses that
have to be borne and the date of the arbitration. The
written arbitration may omit the facts of dispute and
the reasons for the ruling if the litigants so desire.
The written mediation shall be signed by the arbitrators
and sealed by the arbitration commission. The signatures
of the arbitrators who hold different views are optional.
When arbitrating a dispute, the arbitration tribunal
may make a ruling on the part of dispute for which facts
have been ascertained.
The arbitration tribunal shall correct any terminological
or calculation error in the written arbitration, or
any ruling decision left out in the written arbitration.
The litigants may request that the arbitration tribunal
make corrections within 30 days after receiving the
The legal effects of the ruling letter begin on the
day it is written.
Chapter V. Request to Repeal a Ruling
If one litigant produces evidence to prove a ruling
has one of the following, he may request that the intermediate
people's court of the place where the arbitration commission
is located repeal the ruling:
(1) where there is no arbitration
(2) where the dispute to
be arbitrated is not within the scope of the arbitration
agreement, or one which the arbitration commission has
no authority to arbitrate;
(3) where the formation
of the arbitration tribunal or the arbitration process
has violated legal procedure;
(4) where the evidence
on which the arbitration is based is counterfeited;
(5) where one litigant
has concealed evidence that could affect an impartial
(6) where arbitrators have
solicited or accepted bribes, practised favouritism
and bent the law while arbitrating a case or making
The people's court shall
repeal the ruling if a collegial panel formed by the
people's court has examined the arbitration and ascertained
that it has one of the situations mentioned above.
When one party requests a repeal of the ruling, he shall
do so within six months after receiving the ruling letter.
The people's court shall decide whether to approve or
reject the request to repeal the ruling within two months
after accepting the request.
After accepting the request to repeal the ruling, if
the people's court maintains that the arbitration tribunal
still should arbitrate the dispute, it shall notify
the arbitration tribunal to rearbitrate the dispute
within a specified period and it shall also rule to
terminate the repeal procedure. If the arbitration tribunal
refuses to rearbitrate the dispute, the people's court
shall rule that the repeal procedure be reinstated.
Chapter VI. Execution
Litigants shall abide by the ruling. When one litigant
fails to abide by the ruling, the other litigant may,
in accordance with provisions in the Law of Civil Procedure,
request the people's court execute the ruling, and the
people's court that accepts the request shall execute
When the adverse litigant produces evidence proving
that the ruling is one the situations stated in Section
2 of Article 217 of the Law of Civil Procedure, and
the evidence has been ascertained by the collegial panel
formed by the people's court, the ruling shall not be
When one litigant requests that the ruling be executed
and the other litigant requests that the ruling be repealed,
the people's court shall rule that the execution be
When the people's court
judges that a ruling be repealed, the execution of the
ruling shall be terminated. When the request to repeal
the ruling has been rejected, the people's court shall
judge that the ruling be executed again.
Chapter VII. Special Provisions for Arbitrations
Involving Foreign Concerns
Provisions in this chapter are applicable in the arbitration
of economic, trade, transport and maritime disputes
which involve foreign concerns. Other relevant provisions
in this law shall be applied where there is no applicable
provision in this chapter.
A commission for arbitrations involving foreign concerns
may be set up in the China International Chamber of
This arbitration commission
may be composed of one director, several deputy directors
and several members.
The director, deputy directors
and members may be hired by the China International
Chamber of Commerce.
This arbitration commission may hire its arbitrators
from among foreign nationals who are specialized in
laws, economic affairs and trade, and science and technology.
when a litigant requests preservation of evidence in
an arbitration which involves foreign concerns, the
commission for arbitration involving foreign concerns
shall refer the litigant's request to the intermediate
people's court in the place where the evidence is located.
The arbitration tribunal which handles arbitrations
involving foreign concerns may record the proceedings
of the tribunal session, or the main points of the session.
The record of the main points shall be signed or sealed
by the litigants and other arbitration participants.
When one litigant produces evidence proving the ruling
made by the commission for arbitration involving foreign
concerns falls within one of the situations prescribed
in Section 1 of Article 260 of the Law of Civil Procedure,
the people's court shall repeal and the ruling after
the evidence has been ascertained by the collegial panel
organized by the people's court.
When the adverse litigant produces evidence proving
that a foreign affairs arbitration ruling falls within
one of the situations stated in Section 1 of Article
260 of the Law of Civil Procedure, the people's court
shall judge that the ruling not be executed after it
has been examined and ascertained by a collegial panel
organized by the court.
If one litigant requests execution of the legally effective
ruling made by the commission for arbitration involving
foreign concerns, and the adverse litigant's property
is not within the PRC, the litigant shall directly request
acknowledgement and enforcement from the foreign court
which has the jurisdiction over the property.
The China International Chamber of Commerce may draw
up the regulations for arbitrations involving foreign
concerns on the basis of this law and the Law of Civil
Chapter VIII. Supplementary Articles
Where the law has provisions governing the validity
period of an arbitration, the provisions shall be applied.
If the law has no such provisions, the provisions for
the validity period of lawsuits shall be used.
Before the China Arbitration Association draws up the
arbitration regulations, the arbitration commission
shall draw up interim arbitration regulations on the
basis of this law and the Law of Civil Procedure.
Litigants shall pay arbitration fees according to regulations.
Measures for collecting
arbitration fees shall be reported to the price control
authorities for approval.
Separate regulations shall be drawn up for arbitration
of labour disputes and disputes over agricultural contracts
drawn up by collective agricultural economic organizations.
When arbitration-related provisions drawn up before
the implementation of this law contravene the provisions
in this law, this law shall prevail.
Arbitration institutions established by cities and other
cities divided into districts - where the seats of people's
governments of municipalities under the central government's
direct jurisdiction, provinces and autonomous regions
are located - prior to the implementation of this law
shall be reorganized according to this law; and the
operation of those which are not reorganized shall be
terminated one year from the day this law goes into
The operation of other
arbitration institutions which are established before
this law goes into effect and which are not in line
with this law shall be terminated when thislaw goes
This law goes into effect on September 1, 1995.