Routinization of Divorce Law Practice in China: Institutional Constraints’ Influence on Judicial Behaviour

Posted: 12 Mar 2009  

Xin He

City University of Hong Kong (CityUHK); University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, College of Law, Visiting; City University of Hong Kong (CityUHK) - Centre for Chinese & Comparative Law

Date Written: April 2009

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

He, Xin, Routinization of Divorce Law Practice in China: Institutional Constraints’ Influence on Judicial Behaviour (April 2009). International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family, Vol. 23, Issue 1, pp. 83-109, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1357975 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/lawfam/ebn016

Xin He (Contact Author)

City University of Hong Kong (CityUHK) ( email )

83 Tat Chee Avenue
Kowloon
Hong Kong

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, College of Law, Visiting

504 E. Pennsylvania Avenue
Champaign, IL 61820
United States

City University of Hong Kong (CityUHK) - Centre for Chinese & Comparative Law ( email )

83 Tat Chee Avenue
Kowloon Tong
Hong Kong

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