Interview with Professor Finder about People’s Supreme Court and Chinese Judicial Reform

STL Distinguished Scholar in Residence Susan Finder, a leading expert on China’s judicial system and the author of the widely read Supreme People’s Court Monitor blog, was interviewed in a recent issue of the People’s Court Daily.  In the interview, which took place at the 19th Applied Law Forum in Beijing, Professor Finder spoke on “How & Why I Research the SPC: Some Tentative Views on Judicial Reform,” in which she shared insights about the professionalization of courts and judges, judicial fairness and transparency, and judiciary autonomy.  The interview is available in Chinese here.

LL.M. Student Victor Contreras Kong Pursues Excellence in Law and Fencing

STL LL.M. student Victor Contreras Kong from Chile recently was interviewed by the Nanyan Observer.  Victor is in the first year of his LL.M. program and is the highest ranked fencer in Chile.  Below is an excerpt from the interview:

Because of his global interests, according to Victor, the LL.M. program at STL really stood out: “It’s a well-recognized program, not just in China but all over the world. A lot of international enterprises put their eye on it.” Victor wasn’t mistaken; last academic year the percentage of STL graduates employed following graduation was an impressive 97.8%. He wasted no time pursuing those global interests upon arrival. His classes for the first semester included International Intellectual Property Law, International Business Transactions, and European Law.

Even more intriguing, STL provided an opportunity to live in and learn about China. Without really knowing why, Victor says he felt drawn to the country: “I wanted something different.” Later in the conversation, he added, “First, they are a major partner in trade with Chile. So for being a lawyer, this is super useful. And not just the job part.  Just to live in a different country is super cool.” Victor enthusiastically explained that he even found out about a scholarship offered by the Chinese Government, “I applied for the scholarship at the [Chinese] Embassy…and I got it. So, of course, I had to take it!” …

Victor didn’t quite know what to expect moving to China with never having been here, but things are going rather smoothly. He is teaching and training at the fencing club, finishing up his second semester of law courses, and accumulating victories in competitions, like his 1st place finishes in the solo and team categories of the South American Fencing Championships. Victor is now the highest ranked fencer in Chile and ranked in the top 100 for his category in the world. His dream is that in 2020 he will have obtained his LLM and be on his way to the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

To view the full article, please visit here.

Institute for Transnational Arbitration Academic Council Appoints Professor Feldman Vice Chair

Professor Mark Feldman has been appointed vice chair of the Academic Council of the Institute for Transnational Arbitration (ITA).  The Academic Council, made up of top academics in the field of international arbitration, is a key constituent body of the ITA, one of the world’s leading educational forums for scholars and practitioners of international arbitration.  Professor Feldman’s appointment as vice chair is for a three-year term beginning in AY2018-19.

HKU Professor Shahla Ali Discusses Research on Court-Annexed Mediation

DSC08857On June 19, STL hosted Dr. Shahla Ali, Associate Professor and Associate Dean at Hong Kong University Faculty of Law.  Professor Ali offered a lecture on “Reforming Court Mediation: Lessons from Global Experience,” in which she examined comparative empirical data from a diverse group of countries to explore the association between court mediation (mandatory and voluntary) and perceptions of justice, efficiency and confidence in courts.  The lecture drew on the extensive research on which Professor Ali based her new book, Court Mediation Reform: Efficiency, Confidence and Perceptions of Justice (Edward Elgar, 2018).

Professor Ali’s research and practice focus on questions of governance, development and the resolution of cross-border disputes in the Asia Pacific region.  She has consulted with USAID, IFC/World Bank and the United Nations on issues pertaining to access to justice, peace process negotiation training and land use conflict resolution.  She serves as a bilingual arbitrator (English/Chinese) with CIETAC, HKIAC (ADNDRC), SIAC and is a member of the IBA Drafting Committee for Investor-State Mediation Rules, the DOJ Mediation Regulatory Framework Sub-Committee, the UN Mediation Roster and the FDRC Appointments Committee.

“Just Bid It!” – Students Hold Fourth Annual PILF Auction

On June 8, members of STL’s Public Interest Law Foundation (“PILF”) held the “Fourth Annual PILF Auction.”  PILF is a student-run organization devoted to promoting public interest law and the pro bono responsibilities of lawyers.  STL’s PILF is the first in China.

The theme of this year’s auction – “Just Bid It” – set a festive mood for the evening, where scores of students, faculty and PKUSZ community members gathered in the STL Building and actively bid on items donated by faculty, alumni, students, and local businesses.  Auction items included a Hong Kong Victoria “junk boat” dinner cruise donated by Dean Philip McConnaughay; lunch in Aix-en-Provence, south of France with Professor Francis Snyder; a hiking trip at Shenzhen Bay with J.M. faculty; dinner at the prestigious Yale Club in New York City courtesy of Visiting Professor David Blankfein-Tabachnick; a beautiful calligraphy work by PKUSZ Chancellor Wu Yundong; yoga and dancing lessons from students; and many other fun and popular items.  Auctioneers for the event were Visiting Assistant Professor Jason Buhi and 2L student Evann Wu.

Proceeds from the annual PILF auctions help fund students’ unpaid summer internships with pro bono and public interest organizations.  Last summer, PILF funded seven students in public internships positions around the world, including Zhicheng Public Interest Lawyers in Beijing, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Beijing, and federal judicial clerkships in the United States.  In prior years, PILF fellowship recipients interned with Earth Rights International in Thailand, UNCITRAL in Incheon, ABA Rule of Law Program in Beijing, ABA Justice Defender Program in Washington D.C., ACLU of Southern California, and Common Language in Beijing.

“The PILF auction is a great event which supports students and enables them to develop their skills in public service. Many thanks to the organizers who made it all happen,” said Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs Christian Pangilinan.

Professor Man Participates in Joint Chatham House/CUPL Roundtable on International Law

On June 2 and 3, STL Distinguished Professor from Practice Thomas Yunlong Man participated in the “5th Roundtable on International Law: Emerging Areas” in Beijing.  The Roundtable was jointly sponsored by Chatham House and China University of Political Science and Law.  Professor Man delivered remarks on “The WTO Dispute Settlement Body in Dispute: Crisis or Opportunity for New Direction?”  Roundtable participants included scholars and researchers from University of Oxford, University of Sydney, Peking University and other top universities.

STL Graduate Alejandra Tapia from Panama Featured in Article about LL.M. Programs in China

STL graduate Alejandra Tapia from Panama (LL.M. Class of 2016) was interviewed for an in-depth story on LL.M. programs in China.  Below is an excerpt from the article, along with a link to the full story:

When Alejandra Tapia finished her undergraduate degree in Panama, she knew that most of her peers did the typical trajectory of going to the US or UK for a master’s. 

“I thought, ‘well, that’s the path everyone follows back home,’” Tapia recalls. “And I said to myself, well, I want something different.” 

Panama established diplomatic relations with China in June 2017, and with its strategic position on the canal, the country had retained an important commercial relationship with the mainland. 

But beyond that, China had always been a part of Tapia’s life in Panama; there’s a large Chinese community in the country, and studying in China had always been something Tapia’s father talked to her about. 

“He always told me, Alejandra you can always just explore and let’s see what you’d want to do—maybe study there,” Tapia says. “I said ‘no, I want be a lawyer and study in Panama.’ But then I thought, well it’s good to be different, good to stand out—plus we are a lot of lawyers in Panama.”

So Tapia researched her options and decided to go to with an LL.M. at the Peking University School of Transnational Law, in Shenzhen. After graduating, she was hired as the China liaison to the Hong Kong office of her law firm back home, where she had worked as a paralegal before graduate school.

Please click here to read the article in full.

Professor Minas Co-edits New Book on Climate Change Law and Politics

book cover (2)STL Assistant Professor Stephen Minas has co-edited a new book, “EU Climate Diplomacy: Politics, Law and Negotiations,” with Vassilis Ntousas, Policy Advisor for International Relations at the Foundation for European Progressive Studies in Brussels.  The book was published by Routledge in May 2018.

The book includes contributions from the European Commission, EU Member State negotiators and scholars on the development and characteristics of EU climate diplomacy, with particular focus on climate technology and finance.  Full details on the book are available here.

The book is intended to be a resource on the multifaceted, multi-level nature of EU climate diplomacy.  It underlines the ongoing importance of EU and Member State engagement with the development of international climate change law, and also examines the potential for greater cooperation between the EU and China in the framework of the Paris Agreement.

Commenting on the book, Professor Minas said, “Engagement not withdrawal is what is needed to meet shared global challenges.  We are delighted to present this intervention and thanks again to all who contributed.”

Stephen Minas with co editor Vassilis Ntousas

Peking University Retains No. 17 in THE World Ranking

Peking University retained its number 17 ranking in the 2018 Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings, a prestigious peer ranking of the best universities in the world.  According to Times Higher Education, the 2018 World Reputation Rankings are “based on the world’s largest invitation-only survey of leading academics.  The survey asks scholars to name no more than 15 universities they believe are the best for research and teaching, based on their own experience.”

Peking University, or “Bei-da,” as it is known in Chinese, is China’s first and most renowned comprehensive research university.  The University was founded in 1898 as the Imperial University of Peking and is regarded as a symbol of modern Chinese education.  PKU has campuses in Beijing and Shenzhen.  PKU students are among China’s best and the university’s outstanding faculty includes 53 members of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), 7 members of the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE), and 14 members of the Third World Academy of Sciences (TWAS).  For more information, visit the Peking University web site here.

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Peking University School of Transnational Law

Room 410, School of Transnational Law
Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School,
University Town, Xili, Nanshan District,
Shenzhen, China 518055