China did not have a single body of torts law until 2009. As a new piece of legislation in the country, the Torts Law of China, effective as of July 1, 2010, forms a comprehensive framework that regulates torts and provides a legal mechanism to govern liabilities and remedies. A product of the civil law tradition, common law practice and Chinese reality combined, adoption of the Torts Law is hailed in China as an important move toward a civil society that is ruled by law.
The Torts Law premises torts on the fault liability with a few exceptions where the non-fault liability is imposed. Structurally, the Torts Law is distinctive in that it stresses principles and rules of general application, and in the meantime prescribes peculiar tortfeasors and special torts that need to be dealt with differently. In substance, the Torts Law is ambitious because it intends to embrace not only traditional torts but also the newly developed area of torts. In many aspects, the Torts Law is also keen to maintain the Chinese characteristics.
Still, there is a substantial gap between the law on the paper and the law in action. Many ambiguities exist, which require both legislative and judicial interpretations. In addition, many unsolved issues may become obstacles to the application of Torts Law. More significantly, Torts Law enforcement remains a major challenge to the Chi- nese legal system in general and to the Chinese judiciary in particular.
Tort Liabilities and Torts Law: The New Frontier of Chinese Legal Horizon,
Rich. J. Global L. & Bus.
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