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Legal System and Civil Process in China

Abstract

A country’s legal system plays an important role in adjusting social order and economic development. A capable legal system will enlarge the range of anonymous market transactions76 and reduce the market transaction costs with the rules.77 In China, high costs in defining property rights and the difficulties in building up a well-functioning market mechanism to large extent relate to the functioning of civil law. As China has more than 2000 years of Confucianism tradition, informal law still has a strong influence in Chinese society today. For example, in urban areas, the resolution of disputes still relies heavily on customs, morals, trust and reputation. ‘It has admittedly been observed that the tradition of Confucianism ... leads to a dim view of law and a characteristic tendency to resolve disputes otherwise than by recourse through the courts’.78 Due to the long tradition of Confucianism and its influence on dispute resolution, the legal system does not work efficiently. The influence of Confucianism sometimes even hinders the development of legal development. From history, informal means of dispute resolution have a long tradition in China and are enormously more important. The legal system in China has roots in its culture and social background with distinctive features. The law in China “differs fundamentally from legal families of Western laws which are used for purpose of dispute resolution by issuing a conclusive and binding judgment and taken as a means of ordering social life”.79 From historical viewpoint, social relations are regarded as part of the natural order in China. Such a view is found in the doctrines of Confucianism80, which has long tradition and strong influence on Chinese social life and the development of legal system in China. Confucianism was adopted as the ruling tool in Han Dynasty when Tun Chung-Shu (174 to 104 BC) incorporated elements of his philosophical thoughts into Confucianism and produced a doctrine of cosmic harmony.81

Keywords

Legal System Civil Procedure Appellate Court Judicial Independence Civil Case 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Deutscher Universitäts-Verlag/GWV Fachverlage GmbH, Wiesbaden 2006

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