China's New Tort Law Raises Questions in an Uncertain Civil Landscape

Online Exclusive: China Addresses Privacy in New Law

Whatever the failings of China's new Tort Liability Law, critics will be hard-pressed to argue it was hastily conceived. When the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) passed the new law on Dec. 26, 2009, it had faced nearly eight years of consultation, debate and revision. The law, which takes effect on July 1, is a milestone in a country that already hosts more than one million tort actions annually.

Rights and Remedies

Fortunately, and unlike some other Chinese enactments, the law is not aimed at foreign corporations.

Work in Progress

In addition, considerable uncertainty remains regarding the Tort Liability Law's application. As with most Chinese enactments, the devil is in the details and the details are lacking. But some Chinese laws, like labor and foreign investment legislation, are at least the province of a regulating authority. There is, however, no authority regulating the Tort Liability Law.


Julius Melnitzer

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