The Beijing Arbitration Commission, also known as the Beijing International Arbitration Center (the “BAC” / “BIAC“) is an independent, non-profit organization based in Beijing, China, offering services in the fields of arbitration, mediation and other dispute resolution mechanisms.
The Beijing Arbitration Commission was established in 1995, following the promulgation of the Arbitration Law of the People’s Republic of China (“PRC Arbitration Law”) on 31 August 1994. As the first self-funded arbitration institution in mainland China, since its establishment in 1995 the Beijing Arbitration Commission has become one of the leading arbitration institutions in China and the region. With a focus on promoting independence, impartiality, professionalism and efficiency as its core values, the Beijing Arbitration Commission was declared by “Business China” as “the only local arbitration commission which meets or surpasses global standards”.
Structure and Organization of the Beijing Arbitration Commission
The Beijing Arbitration Commission has its headquarters in the Central Business District of Beijing. The Beijing Arbitration Commission’s Committee, its primary governing body, is composed of one Chairman, four Vice-Chairpersons, and ten other Committee members. Day-to-day business is conducted by the Secretariat, headed by the Secretary General. The Secretariat is comprised of a multilingual team of graduates from China and abroad. For each case, the Secretariat designates a member of its staff to act as the case manager, who assists with the procedural administration and the provision of services relating to each respective arbitration.
Beijing Arbitration Commission Arbitration Rules
The Beijing Arbitration Commission Arbitration Rules (the “BAC/BIAC Rules”) are available in English and Chinese. The current version of the BAC/BIAC Rules was revised in 2019 and entered into effect on 1 September 2019. The BAC/BIAC Rules are a modern set of arbitration rules providing for, inter alia, interim measures, emergency arbitrators, the possibility of joinder of additional parties and the consolidation of arbitration cases. The BAC/BIAC Rules also provide the parties with freedom to agree on the laws and languages applicable to the arbitration and to choose any seat of arbitration in addition to Beijing. The structure of the BAC/BIAC Rules is as follows:
- Chapter I: General Provisions (Articles 1-3)
- Chapter II: Arbitration Agreement (Articles 4-6)
- Chapter III: Application for Arbitration, Defence and Counterclaim (Articles 7-18)
- Chapter IV: The Arbitral Tribunal (Articles 19-24)
- Chapter V: The Arbitral Proceedings (Articles 25-46)
- Chapter VI: Decisions and Awards (Articles 47 – 53)
- Chapter VII: Expedited Procedure (Articles 54-60) – which applies if the amount in dispute does not exceed RMB 5,000,000 unless otherwise agreed between the Parties
- Chapter IX: Supplementary Provisions (Article 70-75)
- Annex I: Beijing Arbitration Commission Schedule of Arbitration Fees
- Annex II: Schedule of Fees for Appointing Emergency Arbitrators and Applying for Interim Measures
Beijing Arbitration Commission Arbitrators
The Beijing Arbitration Commission has more than 600 arbitrators on its panel, including more than 130 foreign arbitrators. For international cases, parties are free to nominate arbitrators from outside the BAC/BIAC’s panel (Article 64 (1)(2) of the BAC/BIAC Rules). Domestic cases, however, must be conducted by arbitrators appointed from the BAC/BIAC’s Panel of Arbitrators, as required by the PRC Arbitration Law, who also have to fulfil the criteria provided in Article 13 of the PRC Arbitration Law (Article 19 of the Rules). Neither the BAC/BIAC Rules, nor the PRC Arbitration Law, specify the factors to be considered in confirming or appointing arbitrators. There are also no restrictions on the nationality of arbitrators, or any other requirements specifically mentioned under the BAC/BIAC Rules.
A party may challenge any arbitrator on the basis of its reasonable doubts as to the independence or impartiality of the arbitrator (Article 23(1) of the BAC/BIAC Rules). The Chairman of the Beijing Arbitration Commission typically decides on the challenge, whose decision shall be final (Article 23(5)(6) of the BAC/BIAC Rules), unless in a case where a party challenges an arbitrator and the other party concurs with the challenge, or the challenged arbitrator withdraws voluntarily upon being informed of the challenge.
Beijing Arbitration Commission Arbitration Fees
The BAC/BIAC Rules provide for a fixed arbitration fees schedule (Annex I) based on the amount in dispute, although the Parties are free to choose to pay the arbitrator’s fees on the basis of hourly rates. If the amount in dispute is not specified in the Application for Arbitration, the Beijing Arbitration Commission shall determine the amount in dispute or the amount of the arbitration fees that shall be deposited in advance (Article 7(2) of BAC/BIAC Rules). If, in exceptional circumstances, a party is unable to deposit the requested advance on the arbitration fees within the specified time period, it can request an extension of time which is typically granted by the Secretariat.
If a party has not deposited the required advance nor applied for an extension of time, or has failed to deposit the full amount of the advance on arbitration fees within an extended time limit, it shall be deemed as if the party has not submitted or has withdrawn its Application for Arbitration (Article 7(3) of BAC/BIAC Rules).
The BAC/BIAC fees are notably lower when compared to most other international arbitration institutions. The BAC/BIAC calculator of arbitration fees is available on the Beijing Arbitration Commission’s website.
Beijing Arbitration Commission Model Clause
For parties who wish to include an arbitration clause in their contracts referring their future disputes to the Beijing Arbitration Commission, the institution recommends the following clause:
All disputes arising from or in connection with this contract shall be submitted to Beijing Arbitration Commission / Beijing International Arbitration Center for arbitration in accordance with its rules of arbitration. The arbitral award is final and binding upon both parties.
Caseload and Statistics
Over the past two decades, the Beijing Arbitration Commission has seen a steady increase in its caseload, both for domestic and international cases. As per its 2019 Annual Report, a total of 6,732 new arbitrations commenced in 2019 alone, which is 1,860 cases more in comparison to 2018, representing a growth rate of 38.18%. A total of 5,868 arbitrations were concluded in 2019, which is up by 1,743 cases in comparison to 2018, with a growth rate of 42.25%.
The Beijing Arbitration Commission has also seen an increase in its international caseload, with 163 new international cases that commenced in 2019, and 215 in 2020. The parties were from 23 countries and regions including, inter alia, the United States, Germany, Kyrgyzstan, Hong Kong and Taiwan. While a small portion of its cases, interestingly both parties for 18 cases were from outside Mainland China. The institution has also seen an increase in the average amount in dispute. Since 2014, the average amount in dispute was over USD 2 million.
Beijing Arbitration Commission Rules for International Investment Arbitration
On 11 February 2019, the Beijing Arbitration Commission launched draft Beijing Arbitration Commission Rules for International Investment Arbitration (the “BAC/BIAC Investment Rules”) for public comment, with the aim to accommodate the needs of parties in investor-State disputes. The BAC/BIAC Investment Rules were subsequently adopted on 4 July 2019 and entered into effect on 1 October 2019.
The BAC/BIAC Investment Rules are the second set of investment rules promulgated by a Chinese international arbitration institution after the 2017 CIETAC Investment Arbitration Rules. According to certain commentators, the BAC/BIAC Investment Rules have made a series of innovations, proposing a “Chinese Approach” to issues and problems with the current investment arbitration regime. A notable feature of the BAC/BIAC Investment Rules is that they provide for an appeal mechanism to an Appellate Tribunal, as provided by Article 46 and Appendix E of the BAC/BIAC Investment Rules.
 Economist Intelligence Unit, No Dispute about It, BUSINESS CHINA, April 24, 2006.
 PRC Arbitration Law, Article 13.
 GAR, Guide to Regional Arbitration (Vol. 9 – 2021), Beijing Arbitration Commission.
 GAR, Guide to Regional Arbitration (Vol. 9 – 2021), Beijing Arbitration Commission.
 Yihua Chen, “New 2019 BAC Rules for International Investment Arbitration: A Chinese Approach to the Concerns over Investment Arbitration Regime”, 20 March 2019.