The PRC Tort Law: A Big Step Forward?
City University of Hong Kong Law Review, Vol. 2, Vol. 2, pp. 383-395, 2010
14 Pages Posted: 29 Aug 2011
Date Written: February 28, 2011
This paper offers a critical review of the main provisions of the Tort Law of the People’s Republic of China 2010 (PRC Tort Law). In addition to codifying existing principles of civil liability, the PRC Tort Law widens the scope of protected rights and interests. It also makes guardians liable for torts committed by persons ‘without civil conduct capacity’ or ‘with limited civil conduct capacity’ and introduces concepts of ‘product recall’ and ‘punitive damages’ for defective products. Furthermore, the Tort Law reinforces the principle of strict liability for environmental pollution and ultrahazardous activity. It is argued that although such provisions create an optimism about the Tort Law being able to protect people’s (human) rights, one should be mindful of limitations posed by the lack of an independent judiciary and the policy of the Chinese government to discourage litigation in sensitive cases.
Keywords: PRC Tort Law, rule of law, Civil law vs. common law, social harmony, fault and no-fault liability, strict liability for environmental pollution, vicarious liability, product liability
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