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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 the Chair of International Arbitration and Chinese Law and the Deputy Dean (Strategic Development and Internationalisation) at Durham Law School, Durham University. He is a titular member of the International Academy of Comparative Law and an ordinary member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts. Since 2013, he has been a Fellow of the European Law Institute. Professor Chen founded the Durham International Dispute Resolution Institute (DIDRI) in 2022, where he currently serves as Director.

In addition to his role at Durham, Professor Chen is an Adjunct Professor at the City University of Hong Kong, where he teaches 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, a visiting Wenlan Chair at Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, and an adjunct professor at Renmin University of China and Shandong University.  His previous visiting professorships include positions at NUS, SMU, and HKU.

Professor Chen's research focuses on comparative private law and international arbitration. He holds two L.L.B. degrees from both civil and common law jurisdictions. He has successfully secured multiple research grants, including four General Research Funds from the Hong Kong Research Grant Committee. He has served as an external reviewer for grant funding bodies in the U.S.A., Hong Kong, UK, Israel, Poland and Australia, and participated in the Law Panel of the Research Assessment Exercise (R.A.E.) 2020 in Hong Kong as an institutional reviewer. Currently, he is a research grant committee member of the Society of Legal Scholars (S.L.S.). Professor Chen is currently leading a multi-volume project on article-to-article English commentary of the Chinese Civil Code. 

He is a panel arbitrator and mediator for leading arbitration institutions such as HKIAC, SCIA, KCAB, CIETAC, B.A.C., SHIAC, AIAC, C.A.A. and THAC, among others. He is also a fellow of the Hong Kong Institute of Arbitrators. Active in international academic networks, Professor Chen 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 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 also serves as an editor/advisor for the book series Chinese and Comparative Law (Brill) and Commercial Law in Asia (Singapore Academy of Law). 

He has supervised 12 PhD, J.S.D., and MPhil students in areas including property, contract, civil procedure, company and commercial arbitration. Additionally, he has been an external PhD examiner at Monash University, Leiden University, Maastricht University, Manchester University, KCL, Helsinki University, Erasmus University Rotterdam, and HKU.

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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