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Do the 'Haves' Come Out Ahead in Shanghai Courts?

Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, Forthcoming

48 Pages Posted: 30 Apr 2012  

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

Yang Su

University of California, Irvine

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Date Written: April 30, 2012

Abstract

Drawing on 2,724 documents of adjudication decisions from Shanghai courts, this paper tests the Galanter thesis that the stronger party tends to prevail over the weaker party in litigation. We find that the stronger parties not only win more often, but also do so by a large margin. Overall, institutional litigants fare better than individual litigants. When the litigants are classified by their organizational and social status, government agencies or government-related companies are the biggest winners, enjoying an enormous advantage, and farmers are the most disadvantaged underdogs, with other individuals and companies in between. When controlling for legal representation, these winning gaps remain significant and sizable. The edge of the stronger parties recurs across categories of cases in different issue areas of the law. Echoing previous comparative studies, we cast doubt on the Party Capability Theory. We speculate that the causes of judicial inequality in China lie not only in resource gaps but also in the roots of the law and the nature of the court.

Suggested Citation

He, Xin and Su, Yang, Do the 'Haves' Come Out Ahead in Shanghai Courts? (April 30, 2012). Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2048320

Xin He

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
Room P5300, 5th Floor, Academic 1
Kowloon Tong
Hong Kong

Yang Su (Contact Author)

University of California, Irvine ( email )

Campus Drive
Irvine, CA 62697-3125
United States

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