Routinization of Divorce Law Practice in China: Institutional Constraints’ Influence on Judicial Behaviour
Posted: 12 Mar 2009
Date Written: April 2009
Based on in-depth fieldwork investigations and extensive interviews, this article demonstrates that adjudication has replaced mediated reconciliation and become the dominant way of handling seriously contested divorce petitions in contemporary China. Specifically, for first-time petitions, judges routinely render against divorce. But for second-time petitions, they routinely render adjudicated divorce. This shift is closely linked to recent reforms in the Chinese judiciary and especially the assessment criteria imposed on courts and judges. This article thus argues that the assessment criteria and the institutional constraints of Chinese courts more generally have overwhelmingly affected, if not dictated, the decision-making process of Chinese judges.
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