Code of Conduct for Arbitrators of Guangzhou Arbitration Commission
(Adopted at the First Meeting of the First Guangzhou Arbitration Commission on September 1, 1995, and revised based on the Decision on Revising the Code of Conduct for Arbitrators of Guangzhou Arbitration Commission at the Third Meeting of the Third Guangzhou Arbitration Commission on November 11, 2003)
Article 1 An arbitrator shall strictly abide by the Arbitration Law of the People's Republic of China and the Arbitration Rules of Guangzhou Arbitration Commission.
Article 2 An arbitrator shall consider cases independently, impartially, diligently and efficiently, based on facts, according to the law and in line with the principle of fairness and reasonableness.
Article 3 In performing his/her duties, an arbitrator shall treat the parties equally and shall not represent or favor either party.
Article 4 An arbitrator shall be familiar with arbitration procedures and hearing methods, and continuously enhance his/her expertise and case handling capabilities.
Article 5 An arbitrator shall be humble, prudent, and respectful to each other.
Article 6 When accepting the selection by a party to a case or appointment by the president of the Guangzhou Arbitration Commission (hereinafter referred to as the “Commission”) as the arbitrator, an arbitrator shall have the experience, ability and time to arbitrate the case. If he/she is in one of the following conditions which might affect his/her action in the case, he/she shall actively explain the situation to the Commission and submit an application on his/her ineligibility to be an arbitrator in the case.
(1) he/she is not familiar with the laws or expertise involved in the case;
(2) he/she cannot warrant that he/she is available for the case;
(3) he/she has difficulty in carefully arbitrating the case due to other demanding tasks;
(4) he/she has difficulty in participating in the arbitration for reasons of health;
(5) he/she will be away for more than 20 days during the period of arbitration.
Article 7 In respect of a case, an arbitrator must be challenged and shall actively disclose to the Commission and request for a challenge if he/she:
(1) is a party to the case, or a close relative of a party to the case or its representative;
(2) has any interest in the case;
(3) is otherwise related to a party to the case or its representative, which might affect the fairness of the arbitration; or
(4) meets a party to the case or its representative privately, or accepts entertainment or gifts from a party to the case or its representative.
Other relationships between an arbitrator and a party to a case or its representative indicated in item (3) above shall mean the following circumstances when:
a. such arbitrator has advised the party on the case;
b. such arbitrator is currently a legal counsel or a consultant in other fields of the party, or was a legal counsel or a consultant in other fields of the party and the end of such consulting relationship is less than two years ago;
c. such arbitrator was an representative of the party in another case which was concluded less than two years ago;
d. such arbitrator works for the same employer with the party or its representative;
e. such arbitrator is a representative in a case and selected or appointed as the arbitrator for another case, both of which are concurrently handled by the Commission;
g. other relationships stipulated by law occurred.
Article 8 An arbitrator shall carefully review all the evidence and materials relating to the case, and determine the facts, evidence and relevant liabilities to be found out. Before the hearing session, the arbitrator shall participate in the discussion on the hearing plan and the making thereof, and if he/she is the presiding arbitrator, he/she shall propose a hearing plan as the basis for the discussion. When an arbitral tribunal is composed of a sole arbitrator, the sole arbitrator shall also formulate a hearing plan before the hearing session.
Article 9 Within 3 days after receiving a Notice on Being Selected or Appointed as Arbitrator, an arbitrator shall determine the time for the hearing with the case manager. Except as agreed by the parties, in a domestic arbitration case, the arbitrator shall hold the first hearing within 30 days (45 days in foreign-related arbitration case) from the date of receiving a Notice on Being Selected or Appointed as Arbitrator.
Article 10 After the date of the hearing for the arbitral tribunal is set, an arbitrator shall attend the hearing on time. If the arbitrator foresees that he/she will not be able to participate in the hearing, he/she shall notify the presiding arbitrator or the case manager three days before the hearing so that reasonable remedial measures can be taken.
Article 11 An arbitrator shall participate in collegiate meetings, on-site investigations and other tasks on time, and may not be absent, be late, or leave early without justifiable reasons. After an arbitral tribunal is formed for a case and before the case is concluded, if an arbitrator will be absent for more than 7 days, which might affect the conclusion of the case, he/she shall give the presiding arbitrator or the case manager a prior notice and provide his/her contact information.
Article 12 An arbitrator shall be groomed, dress neatly, and act decently. During a hearing, investigation and inquiry, no arbitrator may check or use mobile phones or pagers; or enter or leave the arbitral tribunal arbitrarily or engage in other activities unrelated to the arbitration.
Article 13 During the course of the arbitral proceedings, an arbitrator shall listen to the submissions and arguments of the parties and their representatives objectively, impartially and patiently, use standard and accurate languages, and avoid arbitrariness and bias. Before ascertaining the facts, no arbitrator may express opinions on the nature or merits of the case or relevant liabilities; at the end of the argument session, the presiding arbitrator or the sole arbitrator shall request the parties to make closing arguments.
Article 14 During the course of the arbitral proceedings, no arbitrator may accept any entertainment, gift or other benefit offered by either party or its representative; or privately meet or accept any evidence provided by either party or its representative; or discuss the case with either party or its representative in any way. In the course of mediation, if the arbitral tribunal decides that an arbitrator is required to meet a party to the case or its representative alone, the meeting shall be held in the presence of the case manager at the office of the Commission.
Article 15 Within 5 days after the last hearing and evidence production, the arbitral tribunal shall conduct collegiate meetings on the main contents of the award such as the ascertained facts, the findings of the arbitral tribunal, the law on which the award is based, and the decisions. After the last collegiate meeting, the presiding arbitrator (sole arbitrator) or the arbitrator entrusted by the arbitral tribunal shall, based on the discussions at the collegiate meetings, submit a written award to the case manager on the same day of or no later than 3 days after the last collegiate meeting. The arbitrator shall sign the award within 5 days after receiving a notice of signature from the case manager.
If the presiding arbitrator (sole arbitrator) considers that a new collegiate meeting is needed due to the complicatedness of the case, he/she shall promptly notify the case manager and report to the Commission’s person in charge of relevant affairs for approval before initiating the extension procedures.
Article 16 The members of the arbitral tribunal must jointly participate in the arbitration, carefully review files, hold hearings and collegiate meetings, and fully express their opinions on arbitration claims; if any of them has different opinions, he/she shall give reasons and propose modifications. The minutes of collegiate meetings shall be put on record by the case manager.
Within 5 days after receiving the draft award, an arbitrator shall notify the presiding arbitrator or the case manager in writing of his/her review opinions. After receiving the formal award, the arbitrator shall sign and issue the award in a timely manner.
Article 17 The arbitral tribunal shall make an award within the time limit specified in the arbitration rules of the Commission. The arbitral tribunal may extend, under special circumstances, the period of time within which it shall make the award, by making an application 10 days prior to the expiration of the specified period. Upon approval from the president of the Commission, the period of the arbitration may be extended appropriately
If the presiding arbitrator or sole arbitrator fails to conclude the case within the time limit specified without justifiable reasons, the arbitration shall be deemed to have been delayed; where the Commission sends a letter to urge the case to be concluded within the period specified in the letter, if the presiding arbitrator or sole arbitrator still fails to conclude the case within the newly specified period, the arbitration shall be deemed to have been significantly delayed.
Article 18 An arbitrator shall keep strictly confidential the secrets involved in the arbitration, and may not disclose any information about the case, including the facts of the case, the process of hearing the case, and the business secrets involved in the case, to anyone who is not a party to the arbitration; no arbitrator may disclose to the parties his/her opinions on the case or the discussions at the collegiate meetings.
Article 19 No arbitrator may, on behalf of others, offer entertainment, gifts or other benefits to inquire about any case that is irrelevant to him/her; or, on behalf of one party to a case, petition the people's court for invalidation or non-enforcement of an arbitration award made by himself/herself alone or jointly with other arbitrators.
Article 20 Where an arbitrator of the Commission acts as the representative of one party to a case before the Commission, he/she may not:
(1) violate the provisions which require him/her to appear in the tribunal on time or the deadlines for submitting legal instruments;
(2) discuss other cases handled by him/her as an arbitrator with the arbitrator(s) or the case manager of the case in the presence of his/her party in the case or the representative of other party;
(3) privately discuss the case with the arbitrator(s) or the case manager of the case;
(4) claim that he/she has close relationship with the arbitrator(s) or the case manager of the case before the party to the case or the representative;
(5) fail to take the initiative to disclose to the Commission or the tribunal and to request for a challenge when he/she becomes aware of the likelihood that he/she should be challenged as the representative of the party to the case;
(6) make any request to the arbitral tribunal or the case manager that is not appropriate as the representative to the party to the case.
Article 21 During the term of appointment, in the event of any change to his/her contact number or mailing address, or if he/she is going to travel abroad for a long time, the arbitrator shall promptly notify the Commission.
Article 22 The case manager shall notify the parties and request them to select another arbitrator, or report to the president of the Commission, and upon approval, initiate arbitrator replacement procedures, if an arbitrator:
(1) must be challenged for any of the reasons set out in Article 7 but fails to actively disclose to the Commission;
(2) violates the provisions of Article 9 and, therefore, such violation leads to a failure to determine the time for the first hearing,;
(3) violates the provisions of Article 15 and, therefore, such violation affects the arbitration of the case;
(4) violates the provisions of Article 21 and, therefore, such violation makes the arbitral procedure difficult to proceed; or
(5) otherwise violates the arbitration rules of the Commission or this Code and should be replaced.
Article 23 The Commission has the right to dismiss or remove an arbitrator if he/she:
(1) conceals the fact that he/she should be challenged;
(2) refuses to be selected by a party to a case or appointed by the Commission as the arbitrator without justifiable reasons for three times;
(3) fails to apply for leave or take other remedial measures according to Article 10, causing delays in an arbitration, for two times in a year;
(4) repeatedly engages in the following activities contrary to the fairness principle ought to be followed by him/her during the course of the arbitral proceedings:
a. on behalf of one party, cross-examines, argues with, or makes a request against the other party in a hearing, which is against the principle of justice;
b. insists on an award favorable to one party over the other party but refuses to provide reasons;
c. delays the arbitration with an excuse;
d. otherwise favors one party.
(5) privately meets one party or its representative or accepts entertainment or gifts from one party or its representative during the arbitration of a case;
(6) fails to care about the case, give attention to the case, express opinions or carefully review the award or is otherwise seriously irresponsible during the arbitration of the case;
(7) fails to conclude a case within the specified period, causing serious delay;
(8) divulges the secrets involved in an arbitration case or discloses to the parties of his/her opinions or the minutes of collegiate meetings, which is in violation of confidentiality obligations;
(9) leaves the workplace with arbitration case files without authorization, causing the files to be stolen, lost, or destroyed, leading to serious consequences;
(10) solicits or accepts bribes, commits illegalities for personal gains, or makes an award in violation of the law in an arbitration case.
(11) is criminally liable according to the law;
(12) otherwise violates the law, the arbitration rules of the Commission or this Code, making it inappropriate for him/her to continue to serve as the arbitrator.
Article 24 An arbitrator must obtain the prior consent of the Commission if he/she participates, in the name of the Commission, in any conference or activity related to arbitration, publishes any article, or gives any lecture.
Article 25 An arbitrator shall participate in the conferences and practice training programs organized by the Commission, and undergo necessary evaluations. An arbitrator shall be capable of browsing and using the website of the Commission, sending and receiving emails, and performing other similar tasks.
Article 26 An arbitrator may make comments, suggestions and requests on arbitration work to the Commission or its office at any time.
Article 27 An arbitrator has the right to accept remunerations for arbitration and participate in arbitration researches or arbitration experience exchanges organized by the Commission.
Article 28 The Commission reserves the right to interpret this Code.
Article 29 This Code shall come into force on the date of issuance.