In order to assess force majeure rules in over 60 countries/regions, a study, commissioned by China International Commercial Courts (CICC), have been conducted by five Chinese professional institutions for foreign law ascertainment, and some members of the International Commercial Committee of the Supreme People’s Court. Based on domestic rules and cases concerning force majeure in these jurisdictions, as well as international conventions and international custom, a total of seven study reports have recently been published on the CICC website.
I. A study against the backdrop of COVID 19
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries/regions have introduced relevant measures, including travel restrictions, quarantine and isolation, which have made a great impact on global trade and local commercial transactions.
Under these circumstances, how to understand and apply force majeure rules and related norms has become a key topical issue in dispute resolution in international economic, trade, and maritime fields.
CICC wishes to help Chinese judicial organs, enterprises, and all walks of life to understand the rules and related cases concerning force majeure in various jurisdictions, so as to carry out comparative research and risk research, and to plan response measures.
Up to now, the commissioned study groups have provided seven research reports to CICC, as follows:
1. “The Research Report on the System and Judicial Practices about Force Majeure and Failure of Contract in Countries in Southeast Asia and South Asia”(《东南亚及南亚诸国不可抗力与合同落空制度及司法实践研究报告》), submitted by China-ASEAN Legal Research Base of Southwest University of Political Science and Law.
2. “The Research Report on Force Majeure and Related Systems of Some Countries on the Silk Road Economic Belt”(《丝绸之路经济带部分国家不可抗力及相关制度研究报告》)(edited by Professor Shan Wenhua, a member of the International Commercial Expert Committee), submitted by Collaborative Innovation Centre for Silk Road Economic Belt Legal and Policy Studies.
3. “The Research Report on Force Majeure and Related System in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Macao Special Administrative Region, and Taiwan Region”(《香港特别行政区、澳门特别行政区、台湾地区不可抗力及相关制度研究报告》), submitted by Shenzhen Benchmark Chambers International and Benchmark International Mediation Center.
4. “The Research Report on Force Majeure and Related Systems in Certain African Countries” (《非洲部分国家不可抗力及相关制度研究报告》), edited by Professor Wan Meng, a member of the International Commercial Expert Committee.
5. “The Research Report on Force Majeure and Related Systems in Certain European Countries and Regions”(《欧洲部分国家和地区不可抗力及相关制度研究报告》), submitted by Wuhan University Center of Ascertainment of Foreign Law.
6. “The Research Report on Force Majeure and Related Systems in Certain Countries in America, Australia, and Asia” (《美洲、澳洲、亚洲部分国家不可抗力及相关制度研究报告》), submitted by the Center for Foreign Law Ascertainment of the East China University of Political Science and Law.
7. “The Research Report on Force Majeure and Related Systems in International Conventions, International Custom, and International Model Laws”(《国际条约、惯例和示范法中不可抗力及相关制度研究报告》), submitted by the Center for Foreign Law Ascertainment of China University of Political Science and Law.
CICC stated that these reports did not represent the views and opinions of the Supreme People’s Court.
II. Our comments
The above seven reports are published in the “Foreign Law Ascertainment Platform-Research Report of Foreign Law Ascertainment” section of the CICC Website, and it can be regarded as reference materials of foreign law ascertainment for local courts and the parties in need.
As we introduced in our previous posts, China’s local courts are relatively weak in the proof of foreign law. In the context of COVID-19, local courts’ need for ascertaining foreign force majeure rules has greatly increased. The CICC reports will undoubtedly help the local courts to better ascertain foreign law in this regard.
Contributors: Meng Yu 余萌