The Rule of Law and Enforcement of Chinese Tort Law

The Rule of Law and Enforcement of Chinese Tort Law
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The Rule of Law and Enforcement of Chinese Tort Law

Vincent R. Johnson

34 T. Jefferson L. Rev. 43 (2011).

    The majority of the work necessary to advance the Rule of Law in China is yet to be done.  This is particularly the case as it relates to deterring accidents and compensating injuries.  The Rule of Law is concerned with much more than the substantive terms of legal provisions.  As such, China must develop the institutional practices that will bring to fruition the promise of the new Tort Law.  In part, this will entail the proper selection, retention, and protection of judges.  It will also depend on whether persons have access to the justice system, either through competent counsel or self-representation.

    If cases are to be decided in a manner that earns the respect of the Chinese citizenry and other nations, the next step in China’s pursuit of a legal system based on the Rule of Law must be the even-handed enforcement of rights recognized by the new Tort Law.  The system must accord those who come before the courts equal treatment, provide remedies that manifest essential respect for human dignity, and hold persons who injure others accountable for their conduct. The manner in which the new Tort Law is enforced will determine whether, in the field of personal injury and property damage, China measures up to the Rule of Law.

Keywords: Chinese legal system, Chinese Tort Law, Rule of Law, personal injury, property damage, institutional practices, equal treatment, injury compensation, legal provisions, transparency, stare decisis, neutral principles, judicial reviewability, objectivity, procedural safeguards, fair notice, the right to be heard, substantive limitations, official accountability, the exclusionary rule, judicial independence, official immunity, human dignity, guanxi.

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