Posted at 8:23 AM
Commerce General Counsel Kelly Welsh, with Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General William Baer, led the U.S. delegation to the inaugural meeting of the U.S.-China Judicial Dialogue: In Support of Reform and Economic Growth on August 3 and 4. During President Xi’s state visit to the United States in September 2015, President Obama and President Xi announced the dialogue, which they said would support and exchange views on judicial reform and identify and evaluate the challenges and strategies in implementing the role of law, with the goal of improving the transparency and predictability of the business environment.
The first day of the dialogue focused on case management, alternative dispute resolution, and evidence collection in commercial cases, and included a lively discussion about the differences and similarities between our two legal and judicial systems, as well as ways to overcome challenges both systems face. The second day focused on the use of precedent and amicus briefs in the United States and the use of “guiding cases” in China. The U.S. delegation also had an opportunity to visit the Supreme People’s Court’s Information Center and the Beijing Intellectual Property Court. The frank and dynamic discussions demonstrated each side’s genuine desire to learn from the other’s legal system. General Counsel Welsh emphasized the link between a strong commercial rule of law and economic growth, noting that companies seek to do business in countries with a legal and judicial framework of transparent and clear rules that are administered in a predictable, fair, and non-corrupt way. While there were differences in the two sides’ perspectives on some issues, the dialogue was respectful and both sides firmly agreed on the importance of continuing the discussion to enhance commercial rule of law.
Both sides included leading jurists as speakers, including, on the U.S. side, Chief Judge Diane Wood of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit; Judge Leonie Brinkema of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia; and Judge Lucy Koh of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. The Chinese side was led by CPC Central Leading Group for Judicial Reform Vice Chairman Jiang Wei and Supreme People’s Court Vice President Tao Kaiyuan, with participation of senior judges from China’s Supreme People’s Court and the President of the Beijing Intellectual Property Court, as well as Chinese legal scholars and other experts.