Remarkable progress made by Yangpu Tribunal in providing judicial service for the building of the Free Trade Port
--Taking up the mission of the court of Free Trade Port to improve the quality and efficiency of maritime judicature
Since the beginning of this year, Yangpu Tribunal of Haikou Maritime Court has taken the mission of the court of Free Trade Port to serve and guarantee the “model room” of the Free Trade Port by standing on the strategic position of “pioneer force in serving the Free Trade Port”, and tried various maritime and admiralty cases fairly and efficiently, and strove to optimize the legal, international and convenient business environment in its jurisdiction. As of December 18, the tribunal has accepted a total of 308 cases of various types, with an increase of 161% year-on-year, which accounts for 28% of the total number of cases accepted by Haikou Maritime Court. The comprehensive case closure rate reached to 93.18% and the main indicators of the tribunal for its performance in trial and enforcement stays on the top of the whole court.
- Acceptance of abundant types of cases shows all-around development of the building of free trade port
- The number of cases of shipping disputes and that of foreign-related cases have continued to increase. Among them, the proportion of case related to foreign oil tankers has increased significantly. The types of cases include dispute over contract of carriage of goods by sea, dispute over charter party, dispute over insurance subrogation, dispute over maritime tort liability and special maritime procedural cases.
- Cases of disputes over the exploitation and use of ocean related to the major construction projects in Shentou Port and Haihua Island kept coming, some of which involve complicated factors such as falsified evidence and false litigation by the parties concerned, having the significance of trial demonstration guidelines for regulating the marine engineering within the jurisdiction.
- It also comes a large number of cases of disputes over fishery operation contract, which are caused by merchants from other provinces in purchasing large quantities of fishes in Baimajing fishery zone. This shows a positive improvement to the traditional fishery economy with the overall development of the free trade port.
- The significant increase of cases reflects that the free trade port policy promotes market demands
- Yangpu Port is a deep-water port with good natural conditions at the center of the main international shipping routes in East and Southeast Asia. It is the first reserve base for petrochemical products, oil and gas imported in China from Middle East and Africa. With the publication of the Master Plan for the Building of Hainan Free Trade Port, Yangpu Port has accelerated the construction of her Bonded Oil Refueling Center, which gave rise to rapid growth of transportation of bonded fuel oil and refueling business. It comes also various disputes from the transportation business involving oil tankers.
- According to the arrangement for the building of the free trade port, major projects like Hainan’s “Central Cities in the West” and the Pioneering Demonstration Zone for the Free Trade Port are under construction. However, due to the lack of regulations and supervising mechanism in these areas, some enterprises conducted illegal subcontracting, contracting-out and affiliating in marine construction engineering, which resulted in frequent disputes involving such construction engineering.
- Baimajing fishery port is the largest central fishery port of Hainan Province. It has prosperous fishery industries like fishery culture & multiplication, fishing, fishery processing and circulation. With the deepened structural reform on the supply end in the fishery industry and the improvement of the network of transportation facilities in land and ocean carriage, various aquatic products with good quality of Baimajing fishery port has gradually formed their brand effects and won general favor of merchants both at home and abroad. However, as the local fishermen are generally of poor education with little contractual consciousness, disputes in fishery operation frequently occurred while the fishermen are in a rather disadvantageous position to defend their rights and interests according to law.
- Sound development of the quality and effectiveness in handling cases to ensure proper guidelines for maritime judicature in the free trade port
- Making full use of the function of property preservation. The tribunal proactively reminds the parties concerned of the importance of property preservation in the protection of their rights and interests during the case filing and trial stages. With the property preservation measures been taken, the tribunal may promptly intervene for mediation, making efforts to procure quick amicable settlement between the parties or withdrawal of the case to protect the lawful rights and interests of the creditors and avoid further disputes. Up to now, the tribunal has handled 61 cases of application for property preservation (including 56 cases of property preservation before the litigation and 5 case during the proceedings), 82% of which were concluded by means of amical settlement, mediation and case withdrawal;
- Strengthening the pre-litigation interpretation and guidance of cases with foreign elements to equally protect the lawful rights and interests of both Chinese and foreign parties. Focusing on making high-quality maritime trial cases, the tribunal strive to build a brand with maritime features. The case involving the tanker “Brightoil Gem” tried by the tribunal was selected as one of the Ten Enforcement Cases of the National Courts, the National Typical Maritime Cases tried in 2019 and the Ten Model Civil Cases tired by Courts in Hainan Province in 2019. In addition, the tribunal has imposed fines totaling one million yuan on the litigants who had falsified evidence to pervert the course of justice in a case involving disputes over marine development and exploitation, which maintained judicial authority and credibility and demonstrated the “predictability” of the consequence in breaking the laws regulating the business environment of the free trade port.
- Focusing on the judicial guarantee for the building of free trade port and the logistics and shipping hubs in Southeast Asia, the tribunal overcomes the negative thinking of “waiting, relying, and asking” and the old-fashioned concept of “inquiring about cases at court”, and takes the initiative to provide legal service for the parties in need to strengthen the standardization and guidance in transportation and warehousing, and to cooperate with other organizations like the Maritime Arbitration Center of Hainan International Arbitration Court and departments of maritime administration, fishery administration, port and transportation administration to promote the establishment of a diversified maritime dispute resolution mechanism. By adhering to the principle of “placing priority on mediation and combining trial with mediation”, disputes were properly solved and the situation that problems remains after the closure of cases was also dealt with fundamentally. Up to now, the tribunal has handled and concluded 96 cases of various types, among which 67 cases were closed by mediation or case withdrawal. With a rate of 76% in mediation and case withdrawal, the tribunal has achieved significant progresses.