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Resolution of civil disputes in China
UCLA Pacific Basin Law Journal (2001)
  • Vai Io Lo

[extract] Despite the prominent role of mediation in Chinese dispute resolution, the incidence of civil litigation has been rising over the years. Every year for the past two decades, except for 1983, the number of civil cases accepted by the courts of first instance steadily increased, from 300,787 cases in 1978 to 3,375,069 cases in 1998. Accordingly, this article attempts to achieve two objectives. First, against the backdrop of the overall dispute resolution scheme in China, this article aims at ascertaining the circumstances under which Chinese citizens have resorted to litigation to resolve civil disputes. Second, if "legal acculturation" is defined as the extent to which law has penetrated into the populace, another objective of this article is to examine whether Chinese citizens have utilized law, namely, legal institutions, to assert rights or resolve disputes in the past twenty years. Legal institutions, in a broad sense, refer to legal norms, the legal profession, the court system, and various enforcement mechanisms. This line of inquiry is salutary because the convergence or divergence between legal theory and actual practice should not be the only yardstick for measuring the efficacy of China's legal reforms.

  • civil disputes,
  • China,
  • dispute resolution,
  • litigation,
  • legal reform
Publication Date
January 1, 2001
Citation Information
Vai Io Lo. "Resolution of civil disputes in China" UCLA Pacific Basin Law Journal (2001)
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