Elgar Asian Commercial Law and Practice series
Chapter 14: CHINESE CONFLICT OF LAWS: PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE
Chinese conflict of laws has been gradually developed and updated over the past three decades, as a direct consequence of the economic and political reform. The development of Chinese conflicts rules has gone through three stages: foundation, progression/transition, and modernization. The formation stage started from the 1978 economic reform until the mid-1990s, with the adoption of conflicts rules in foreign-related matters in a number of legislative works, including the GPCL (1986), CPL (1991), Maritime Law (1992), Arbitration Law (1994), Civil Aviation Act (1995) and Bill of Exchange Act (1995). The early system covered many areas and provided common conflicts issues, responding to the urgent needs to improve international civil and commercial relations following the ‘open door’ policy. The early system was piecemeal, oversimplified and impractical. The implementation of the system encountered many uncertainties and, in practice, proved difficult. Fortunately, the SPC published a series of important judicial interpretations and provided numerous directions to the lower courts, filling in the gaps in the legislation. The SPC interpretations and directions played an invaluable role in the implementation and improvement of the Chinese conflicts system; continuously enriching and improving it by various judicial interpretations and reform and enactment activities.Two major events further contributed to the need for improvement. One was the reunification of Hong Kong and Macau and the improved civil and commercial relationship with Taiwan, which resulted in the establishment of interregional conflicts system.
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