The Mediatory versus Legalistic Discourse in Chinese Courts
21 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2017 Last revised: 2 Feb 2017
Date Written: January 31, 2017
Primarily drawing upon detailed courtroom discourses on divorce cases in China, this article provides a micro-level comparison of case handling between two styles: mediatory and legalistic. The two styles differ in discourse multiplicity, discourse interchange, interruption, and dispute processing. It finds that in terms of dispute resolution, the mediatory style seems to fare better than the legalistic style. One major reason for the difference is that the legalistic style tends to suppress rather than uncover what matters for the litigants. The mediatory style also seems to fit the cultural expectation of suburban and rural China better. The findings compel us to reconsider the extent to promote rule formalism in transitional China.
Keywords: courtroom discourse, dispute resolution, rule formalism, China, marriage law, judiciary, adjudication, mediation, litigation, civil justice
JEL Classification: K00, K10, K36, K4, K40, K41
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