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Professor Lei Chen

Chair in International Arbitration and Chinese Law

Chair in International Arbitration and Chinese Law in the Durham Law School
Chair in International Arbitration and Chinese Law in the Durham Law School


Professor Lei CHEN (PhD) is Chair of International Arbitration and Chinese Law at Durham Law School, Durham University. He was elected as a titular member of the International Academy of Comparative Law in 2021 and an ordinary member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts in Class V, Social Sciences, Law and Economics in 2024. He has been a Fellow of the European Law Institute since 2013. He founded the Durham International Dispute Resolution Institute (DIDRI) in 2022 and is now its director. Professor Chen is an Adjunct Professor at the City University of Hong Kong, teaching the EMBA and MPA programs at the City University of Hong Kong Business School and the School of Public Policy and Management, Tsinghua University. He is also an Honorary Professor at the School of Law, University Galway, Ireland and a visiting Wenlan Chair at Zhongnan University of Economics and Law.  

Professor Chen's research areas are comparative private law and international arbitration. He has two L.L.B. degrees (from civil and common law jurisdictions). He has had significant success in applying for research grants and has been awarded General Research Funds four times from the Hong Kong Research Grant Committee. He has been an external reviewer for grant funding bodies in the U.S.A., Hong Kong, UK, Israel, Poland and Australia.  He has been a Law Panel of Research Assessment Exercise (R.A.E.) 2020 in Hong Kong as an institutional reviewer. He is now a research grant committee member of the Society of Legal Scholars (S.L.S.).

Professor Chen is on the panel of arbitrators and mediators in many leading arbitration institutions such as HKIAC, SCIA, KCAB, CIETAC, B.A.C., SHIAC, AIAC, C.A.A. and THAC, etc. He is also a fellow of the Hong Kong Institute of Arbitrators. Apart from participating in international academic networks, he advises various international organizations and governments. He frequently provides expert opinions across multiple arbitration institutions and courts in Hong Kong, P.C.A. (Hague), Washington DC, Geneva, Singapore and England. Professor Chen is an expert member of O.D.R. collaborating with UNCITRAL. He has led consultancy work commissioned by Microsoft Inc. and the Great Britain China Centre, U.K.

Professor Chen is an editorial board member of Humanities and Social Sciences Communications ( Springer Nature), Comparative Legal History (Hart), Chinese Journal of Comparative Law (OUP), Asia Pacific Law Review (Taylor & Francis), China-EU Law Journal (Springer) and European Journal of Comparative Law and Governance (Brill). He is also an editor/advisor for the book series of Chinese and Comparative Law (Brill) and Commercial Law in Asia (Singapore Academy of Law). 

Professor Chen has supervised 10 PhD, J.S.D., and MPhil (research postgraduate) students in property, contract, civil procedure, company and commercial arbitration. He has also served as an external PhD examiner/panel member at Monash University, Leiden University, Maastricht University, Helsinki University, Erasmus University Rotterdam, and Hong Kong University.

Selected Grants
  1. Addressing Impediments or Hardship to Contract Performance: A Comparative Study of the Common Law in Hong Kong and Chinese Law, General Research Fund (GRF), Research Grant Committee (RGC), Hong Kong Government, Amount: HKD $512,904, July 2021, Lei CHEN (Co-I), Qiao Liu (PI), Ewan Mckendrick (Co-I)
  2. The Availability of Specific Performance in Chinese Courts: An Empirical Assessment, General Research Fund (GRF), Research Grant Committee (RGC), Hong Kong Government, Estimated Amount: HKD $460,000, Jan 2016 - Jul 2018, Lei CHEN (PI).
  3. Understanding Property Transitions: The Emergence of Rural Land Markets in China, General Research Fund (GRF), Research Grant Committee (RGC), Hong Kong Government, Amount: HKD $510,000, Jan 2015 - Jun 2017, Lei CHEN (PI) .
  4. Assessing Property Relations and Formalizing Condominium Ownership in China, General Research Fund (GRF), Research Grant Committee (RGC), Hong Kong Government, Amount: HKD $499,000, Nov 2012 - Nov 2015, Lei CHEN (PI) .
  5. Contract Law in China and Europe: A Comparative Approach, EU-China Research Grant, 2011 - 2014, Co-I Jan Smits (PI).
  6. Comprehensive Analysis of Diversity of Legal Systems in Asia-Pacific Region and Convergence towards Establishment of Rule of Law, Private University Research Branding Project, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science & Tech日本文部科學省, Amount: JPY $3,500,000, 2017 - 2018, Co-PI (Lei CHEN); Prof. Nobuyuki Sato (PI) .
  7. Cross-border Data Transfer among Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau, Research Project commissioned by Microsoft Int. Policy Research Grant, Amount: HKD $360,000, 2018 - 2019, Lei CHEN (PI).

Research interests

  • Comparative contract law
  • Condominium Law
  • Corporate and commercial law
  • International arbitration
  • Property law

Esteem Indicators


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