Bounded Legality: China's Developmental State and Civil Dispute Resolution: An Essay in Honor of Professor Hungdah Chiu
Maryland Journal of International Law, Vol. 27, pp. 235-262, 2012
29 Pages Posted: 28 Apr 2012 Last revised: 30 Jan 2016
Date Written: April 4, 2012
In recent years China has experimented with participatory lawmaking as it has opened its laws for citizen participation and comments. Similarly, China has also had an increase in private citizen law enforcement as the rate of civil litigation has increased dramatically in the last decades. But much like the policies it has pursued in the economic sphere, the Chinese state retains substantial discretion and control over the form and manner of legal development. In its legal reforms, the Chinese state also retains substantial control over legal institutions, including the process of litigation. The developmental state is characterized by deep state involvement in economic development and, in the case of China, extends to legal development such as guiding major litigation and resolution of socially significant disputes, even when those disputes are between private parties. One recent mass tort case not only illustrates that the Chinese legal system will continue to put “emphasis on order over freedom, duties over rights, and group interests over individual ones,” but also how that the legal system accommodates the state’s role and the development of a multi-track litigation system.
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