Regulations of the Supreme People’s Court on Scope of Cases Admissible to Maritime Courts

Updated : 2016-10-26

Fa Shi [2016] No.4

Regulations of the Supreme People’s Court on Scope of Cases Admissible to Maritime Courts has been adopted in the 1674th meeting of the Judicial Committee of the Supreme People’s Court on 28 December 2015. It is hereby announced and it shall take effect as of 1 March 2016.

The Supreme People’s Court

24 February 2016

 

Regulations of the Supreme People’s Court on Scope of Cases Admissible to Maritime Courts

(Adopted in the 1674th meeting of the Judicial Committee of the Supreme People’s Court on 28 December 2015, and shall be effective as of 1 March 2016)

In accordance with Civil Procedure Law of PRC, Special Maritime Procedure Law of PRC, Administrative Procedure Law of PRC and relevant international treaties concluded or acceded to by China, and in combination with maritime judicial practice in China, this Regulations is hereby formulated as follows regarding the scope of cases admissible to maritime courts:

I. Maritime tort dispute cases

1. Cases of disputes over ship collision damage liability, including cases of disputes over indirect collision damage liability, such as damage caused by waves;

2. Cases of disputes over liabilities for damage arising from ships touching the facilities or other properties at sea, in sea-connecting navigable waters, at ports and on shore, including cases of disputes over liabilities for damage arising from ships touching piers, breakwaters, trestle bridges, ship locks, bridges, fairway buoys, drilling platforms and other facilities;

3. Cases of disputes over liabilities for damage caused by ships to the facilities or other properties set up in the air or laid at sea bottoms and in sea-connecting navigable waters;

4. Cases of disputes over liabilities for damage arising from discharge, leakage or dumping of oil, sewage or other hazardous substances by ships which causes water pollution or losses to other vessels, goods and other properties;

5. Cases of disputes over liabilities for damage caused by the navigation or operations of vessels to fishing or aquaculture facilities and aquatic products;

6. Cases of disputes over liabilities arising from damage caused to vessels, cargos and other properties as well as personal injuries caused by the negative impact on the navigation of vessels due to shipwrecks and sunken objects in waterways and their wreckage and waste, or due to temporary or permanent facilities or installations at sea or in sea-connecting navigable waters;

7. Cases of disputes over liabilities arising from infringement upon others’ personal rights and interests caused by the navigation, operation, working and other activities of vessels;

8. Cases of disputes over liabilities arising from illegal detention or arrest of vessels, ship-borne cargos and the materials, fuels and spares of vessels;

9. Cases of disputes over product quality liabilities arising from defects in the key components and special-purpose items provided for vessel engineering; and

10. Other maritime tort dispute cases.

II. Maritime contract dispute cases

11. Ship sales contract dispute cases;

12. Ship engineering contract dispute cases;

13. Cases of disputes over contracts for the sub-contracting and construction, entrusted building, customization, purchase and sale, etc. of the key components and special-purpose items of vessels;

14. Ship engineering business contract dispute cases, including gua kao (using the name of another enterprise to undertake projects)[1], partnership, contracting and other forms;

15. Ship inspection contract dispute cases;

16. Ship engineering space leasing contract dispute cases;

17. Ship operation management contract (including gua kao, partnership, contracting and other forms) and contract dispute cases regarding joint operation of shipping routes;

18. Cases of disputes over supply contracts for materials, fuels and spares related to the operations of specific vessels;

19. Ship agency contract dispute cases;

20. Ship piloting contract dispute cases;

21. Ship mortgage contract dispute cases;

22. Ship charter parties (including time charter contracts and bareboat charter contracts, etc.) dispute cases;

23. Ship financial leasing contract dispute cases;

24. Cases of disputes over payment of remunerations and the compensation for personal injuries and death that are related to the embarkation of crew members, the services provided on board, and the disembarkation and repatriation of crew members under crew labor contracts or labor service contracts (including crew labor service dispatch agreements);

25. Cases of disputes over contracts of carriage of goods by sea or sea-connecting navigable waters, including cases of disputes over contracts of carriage of goods on international multimodal transport that include sections of sea transport, water and land multimodal transport, etc.;

26. Cases of disputes over contracts of carriage of passengers and luggage by sea or sea-connecting navigable waters;

27. Cases of disputes over contracts on freight forwarding at sea or in sea-connecting navigable waters;

28. Cases of disputes over transport container leasing contracts at sea or in sea-connecting navigable waters;

29. Cases of disputes over transportation tally contracts at sea or in sea-connecting navigable waters;

30. Cases of disputes over contracts on towage at sea or in sea-connecting navigable waters;

31. Ferry transportation contract dispute cases;

32. Cases of disputes over the stockpiling, storage and warehousing of cargos at ports;

33. Cases of disputes over port cargo mortgage, pledge and other guarantee contracts;

34. Cases of disputes over contracts regarding supervision over pledge of goods in ports;

35. Cases of disputes over the warehousing, stockpiling and storage of transport containers;

36. Cases of disputes over mortgage, pledge and other guarantee contracts of transport containers;

37. Cases of disputes over financial leasing contracts of transport containers;

38. Port or pier leasing contract dispute cases;

39. Port or pier business operation management contract dispute cases;

40. Marine insurance or protection and indemnity insurance contract dispute cases;

41. Cases of disputes over insurance contracts or protection and indemnity insurance contracts under which the subject matters insured are vessels engaging in transportation in sea-connecting navigable waters and their operating revenues, cargos and expected profits, crew salaries and other remunerations, liabilities to third parties, etc.;

42. Cases of disputes over insurance contracts under which the subject matters insured are the equipments, facilities and expected returns of vessel engineering projects, or liabilities to third parties;

43. Cases of disputes over insurance contracts under which the subject matters insured are the equipments, facilities and expected returns of port production and business operations, or liabilities to third parties;

44. Cases of disputes over insurance contracts under which the subject matters insured are the equipments and facilities used for marine fishery, exploitation and utilization of marine resources, marine engineering construction and other activities, the expected returns thereof, or liabilities to third parties;

45. Cases of disputes over insurance contracts under which the subject matters insured are the equipments and facilities used for engineering construction in sea-connecting navigable waters, the expected returns thereof, or liabilities to third parties;

46. Cases of disputes over financial leasing contracts of port and waterway equipments and facilities;

47. Cases of disputes over mortgage, pledge and other guarantee contracts of port and waterway equipments and facilities;

48. Cases of disputes over borrowing contracts secured against vessels, transport containers or port and waterway equipments and facilities, excluding cases whereby the parties concerned only file actions against disputes over the borrowing contracts;

49. Cases of disputes over borrowing contracts for the purpose of purchasing, building and operating specific vessels;

50. Cases of disputes over guarantees, independent letters of guarantee, letters of credit (L/C), etc. for the purpose of guaranteeing the satisfaction of relevant claims for maritime transportation, purchase and sale of vessels, vessel engineering or port production and business operations;

51. Cases of disputes over intermediary or entrustment contracts related to the contracts or activities prescribed by any of the above items No.11 to No.50; and

52. Other maritime contract dispute cases.

III. Cases of disputes related to development, utilization and environmental protection of seas and sea-connecting navigable waters

53. Cases of disputes over the exploration, development and transportation of energy and mineral resources at sea and in sea-connecting navigable waters;

54. Cases of disputes over sea water desalination and comprehensive utilization;

55. Cases of disputes over engineering construction at sea or in sea-connecting navigable waters (including underwater dredging, land reclamation, cable or pipe laying, and the construction of piers, docks, drilling platforms, artificial islands, tunnels, bridges, etc.);

56. Cases of disputes related to coastal belt development and utilization;

57. Cases of disputes related to marine scientific survey and investigation;

58. Cases of disputes over contracts on fishery business operations (including fishing, aquaculture, etc.) at sea or in sea-connecting navigable waters;

59. Cases of disputes over financial leasing contracts of maritime development and utilization equipments and facilities;

60. Cases of disputes over mortgage, pledge and other guarantee contracts of maritime development and utilization of equipments and facilities;

61. Cases of disputes over borrowing contracts secured against maritime development and utilization equipments and facilities, excluding cases whereby the parties concerned only file actions against disputes over the borrowing contracts;

62. Cases of disputes over guarantees, independent letters of guarantee, L/Cs, etc. for the purpose of guaranteeing the satisfaction of relevant claims for engineering construction, maritime development and utilization and other offshore production and business operations at sea and in sea-connecting navigable waters;

63. Cases of disputes over the right to use sea waters (including contracting, transfer, mortgage and other contractual disputes and related tort disputes), excluding cases of disputes over the affirmation of rights arising out of the application for the right to use sea waters;

64. Cases of disputes over intermediary or entrustment contracts related to the contracts or activities prescribed by any of the above items No.53 to No.63;

65. Cases of disputes over liabilities for polluting marine environment or destroying marine ecology;

66. Cases of disputes over liabilities for polluting environment or destroying ecology of sea-connecting navigable waters; and

67. Cases of other tort liability disputes and neighboring relationship[2] disputes arising from development and utilization, or engineering construction at sea or in sea-connecting navigable waters.

IV. Other maritime and commercial dispute cases

68. Cases of disputes over vessel ownership, maritime liens, possessory liens, vessel mortgages and other property rights of vessels;

69. Cases of disputes over the ownership, possessory liens, mortgages and other property rights of port cargos, transport containers, and port and waterway equipments and facilities;

70. Cases of disputes over the ownership, possessory liens, mortgages and other property rights of development and utilization equipments and facilities and other properties at sea or in sea-connecting navigable waters;

71. Cases of disputes arising from transfer or pledge of bills of lading;

72. Maritime salvage dispute cases;

73. Cases of disputes over wreck refloating/removal operations at sea or in sea-connecting navigable waters;

74. General average dispute cases;

75. Port operation dispute cases;

76. Cases of disputes over property negotiorum gestio at sea or in sea-connecting navigable waters;

77. Maritime fraud dispute cases;

78. Cases of disputes related to shipping brokerage and shipping derivatives trading.

V. Maritime administrative cases

79. Administrative lawsuits filed regarding objections to the administrative acts by maritime administrative organs that involve with vessels, cargos, equipment and facilities, transport containers and other properties at sea or in sea-connecting navigable waters, or within ports;

80. Administrative lawsuits filed regarding objections to the administrative acts by maritime administrative organs that involve with the qualification, eligibility and compliance matters concerning transportation operations and related auxiliary operations, freight forwarding, seafarer eligibility and services on board, etc. at sea or in sea-connecting navigable waters;

81. Administrative lawsuits filed regarding objections to the administrative acts by maritime administrative organs that involve with development and utilization, fishery, protection of environmental and ecological resources, and other activities at sea or in sea-connecting navigable waters;

82. Administrative lawsuits filed on the ground that relevant maritime administrative organs refuse to perform the administrative duties involved in the above items No.79 to No.81 or fail to issue replies;

83. Cases whereby the parties concerned request relevant maritime administrative organs to be held liable for state compensation on the ground that the performance of the administrative acts prescribed by the above items No.79 to No.81 by the said organs and their staff members, or their exercise of relevant administrative duties, infringes upon the legitimate rights and interests of the parties concerned;

84. Cases whereby the parties concerned request relevant maritime administrative organs to be held liable for state compensation regarding the influence on lawful rights incurred on the ground that the performance of the administrative acts prescribed by the above items No.79 to No.81 by the said organs and their staff members, or their exercise of relevant administrative duties, affects the legitimate rights and interests of the parties concerned; and

85. Cases of applications for compulsory enforcement pursuant to regulations of law on the ground of the administrative acts prescribed by the above items No.79 to No.81 as executed by relevant maritime administrative organs.

VI. Special maritime procedure cases

86. Cases of applications for determining the validity of maritime arbitration agreements;

87. Cases of applications for recognition and enforcement of foreign maritime arbitration awards, applications for recognition and enforcement of maritime arbitration awards from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the Macao Special Administrative Region and the Taiwan region, and applications for enforcement or cancellation of domestic maritime arbitration awards;

88. Cases of applications for recognition and enforcement of written maritime judgments and rulings rendered by foreign courts, and applications for recognition and enforcement of written maritime judgments and rulings rendered by courts in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the Macao Special Administrative Region and the Taiwan region;

89. Cases of applications for declaring the properties at sea or in sea-connecting navigable waters as ownerless;

90. Cases of applications for negotiorum gestio of properties at sea or in sea-connecting navigable waters;

91. Cases of applications for declaring certain parties missing or dead due to activities or accidents at sea or in sea-connecting navigable waters;

92. Cases of pre-litigation applications for arrest of vessels, ship-borne cargos or supplies or fuels for vessel use, or applications for preservation of other properties with regard to maritime disputes;

93. Cases of disputes over liabilities arising from wrongful applications by maritime claimants for property preservation or their requests for excessively high guarantee amounts;

94. Cases of applications for maritime injunctions;

95. Cases of applications for preservation of maritime evidences;

96. Cases of disputes over liabilities arising from wrongful applications for maritime injunctions or preservation of maritime evidence;

97. Cases of applications for payment orders with regard to maritime disputes;

98. Cases of applications for public summons for exhortation with regard to maritime disputes;

99. Cases of applications for establishing maritime compensation liability limitation funds (including oil pollution damage compensation liability limitation funds);

100. Cases of registration and repayment of claims related to auction sale of vessels or establishment of maritime compensation liability limitation funds (including oil pollution damage compensation liability limitation funds);

101. Cases of lawsuits for affirmation of rights related to auction sale of vessels or establishment of maritime compensation liability limitation funds (including oil pollution damage compensation liability limitation funds);

102. Cases of applications for exercising the right to subrogation claim from oil pollution damage compensation liability limitation funds;

103. Cases of issuing summons for right of maritime liens;

104. Cases of applications for judicial confirmation of mediation agreements on maritime disputes;

105. Cases of applications for realizing security interests against secured properties such as vessels, ship-borne cargos, materials for vessel use, transport containers, port and waterway equipment and facilities, maritime development and utilization equipments and facilities, etc.;

106. Cases of entrusted arrest or auction sale of vessels by local people’s courts for the purpose of enforcing effective legal documents;

107. Cases of applications for enforcing effective legal documents on maritime disputes as rendered by maritime courts and their appellant high people’s courts and the Supreme People’s Court; and

108. Cases of applications for enforcing notarized documents on creditors’ rights that are related to maritime disputes.

VII. Other regulations

109. For the purpose of this Regulations, vessel engineering shall refer to the building, repair, alteration, dismantling and other engineering works of vessels and the related engineering supervision; key components and special-purpose items of vessels shall refer to hatch covers, hulls, keels, decks, lifeboats, vessel main engines, vessel auxiliary engines, vessel steel plates, vessel paints and other main structures and important symbolic components of vessels, as well as the equipment and materials dedicated for vessels or vessel engineering.

110. Where the civil and commercial lawsuits or administrative lawsuits filed by the parties concerned include maritime disputes prescribed herein, such lawsuits shall be heard by maritime courts.

111. Where a party concerned files a lawsuit on the ground of tort or other non-contractual causes of action with regard to disputes arising from the matters involved in relevant contracts prescribed herein, such lawsuit shall be heard by maritime courts.

112. Where maritime courts are prescribed by laws and judicial interpretations or ordered by superior people’s courts to govern other cases, such said regulations or order shall prevail.

113. This Regulations shall take effect as of 1 March 2016. Several Regulations on Scope of Cases Accepted by Maritime Courts (Fa Shi [2001] No.27) issued by the Supreme People’s Court shall be simultaneously abolished.

114. In the event of any inconsistence between previous Regulations of the Supreme People's Court and this Regulations, this Regulations shall prevail.

[1] Editors' Note: regarding a general description of gua kao (using the name of another enterprise to undertake projects), please refer to Lei HUANG, Old Bottle, New Wine: The Guakao Approach and the Development of the Beijing Taxi Industry, available at http://law.stanford.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/HuangLei2001.pdf.   

[2] Editors' Note: regarding neighboring relationship, please refer to Chapter VII of Property Law of the PRC (2007) regarding "Neighboring Relations", which can be viewed in website of National People's Congress of PRC and the URL address is http://www.npc.gov.cn/englishnpc/Law/2009-02/20/content_1471118.htm.