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Win-Win Resolution

China Business Law Journal

Justice is universally accepted by most societies, but not judgments. The rest of the world has for the longest time held often negative views about Chinese judgments, and questioned their authority – and vice versa. However, the latest top-down developments could break the ice of the reciprocity impasse.


Mike Margolis, chair of Asia practice and the Shanghai office of Blank Rome, observes that Chinese companies have enjoyed many technical wins or lengthy delays due to challenges to service of process and personal jurisdiction, as they defend against US litigation. This, he says, is changing.

Increasingly, the US federal courts are authorising service by alternative means, says Margolis, including delivery to Chinese companies’ US subsidiaries or affiliates, to its former US counsel, or even to a known company email address.

These unorthodox measures are being accepted by most courts on the grounds that they are not prohibited by the Hague Service Convention; neither are they specifically objected to in China’s accession to the convention.

“More and more, US plaintiffs are asking for alternative service of process,” he says, “and Chinese companies are being compelled to respond to US lawsuits much more quickly than in the past.”

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"Win-Win Resolution," by Kevin Cheng was published in the China Business Law Journal on December 20, 2023.