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

26 Pages Posted: 19 Jan 2013

See all articles by Xin He

Xin He

City University of Hong Kong (CityUHK); University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, College of Law, Visiting

Yang Su

University of California, Irvine

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 2013

Abstract

Drawing on 2,724 documents of adjudication decisions from Shanghai courts, this article 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? (March 2013). Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, Vol. 10, Issue 1, pp. 120-145, 2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2203217 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jels.12005

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

Yang Su

University of California, Irvine ( email )

Campus Drive
Irvine, CA 62697-3125
United States

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