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China: New Law on Mediation

(Sept. 9, 2010) China's National People's Congress Standing Committee promulgated the Law on People's Mediation on August 28, 2010; it will be in force as of January 1, 2011. The Law has 35 articles divided among six chapters, which cover such subjects as mediation committees, mediators, mediation procedures, and mediation agreements. The Law defines “people's mediation” as actions of people's mediation committees to induce parties to voluntarily reach agreement on an equal, consultative basis by using methods such as persuasion and guidance (art. 2). (Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo Renmin Tiaojie Fa [People's Mediation Law of the People's Republic of China] (Aug. 28, 2010), The National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China website,

People's mediation committees are legally established “mass organizations” for resolving everyday disputes. Village committees and (urban) resident committees are to set up mediation committees; the work units of enterprises and institutions will establish mediation committees as needed. The mediation committees are to be comprised of from three to nine members, with one as chairperson; when necessary, vice chair(s) may be established. The committees should have female members and multi-ethnic localities should have members from their minority nationality groups (arts. 7 & 8). The mediation committee members of village committees and resident committees are to be chosen by the village committees or village assembly and the resident committee, respectively; those established by the enterprise or institution work units are to be chosen by the workers' assembly, workers' congress, or the labor union organization. Mediators serve a three-year term and may be chosen for successive terms (art. 9). (Id.)

The village committees, resident committees, and enterprise or institution work units should provide office space and defray work-related expenses for the mediation committees' operations, and the mediators should be provided an appropriate subsidy for lost work time as well as any medical or livelihood assistance due to difficulties brought about in connection with their mediation work (arts. 12 & 16). Based on the needs of the disputes at hand, the mediation committee may assign one or several mediators to conduct the mediation, and it may also allow the parties to choose one or several mediators to handle the case (art. 19). (Id.)

Key provisions in the new Law stipulate that mediation agreements are legally binding and are enforceable by the courts upon one party's request through compulsory execution (art. 31, ¶ 1, & art. 33, ¶ 2). The two parties may also jointly apply for judicial confirmation of their mediation agreement by a people's court, within 30 days after the date on which the mediation agreement becomes effective (art. 33, ¶ 1). (Id.; China Promulgates “People's Mediation Law” a Return to Its Long Tradition, 30 ISINOLAW WEEKLY (Aug. 23-29, 2010), via email from [email protected]; Chinese Legislature Passes People's Mediation Law, XINHUANET (Aug. 28, 2010),