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The Mediation of Family Disputes in Contemporary China Michael Palmer Shantou University Law School and Cheung Kong Centre for Negotiation and Dispute.

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Presentation on theme: "The Mediation of Family Disputes in Contemporary China Michael Palmer Shantou University Law School and Cheung Kong Centre for Negotiation and Dispute."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Mediation of Family Disputes in Contemporary China Michael Palmer Shantou University Law School and Cheung Kong Centre for Negotiation and Dispute Resolution, China; SOAS School of Law and Centre of Chinese Studies, & Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (University of London); University of Notre Dame London Law Centre; Journal of Comparative Law. University of Navarra, 7 June 2012

2 Page  2 Left : A Corner of Cathay, by Adele Fielde, missionary to the Chaoshan ( 潮汕, cháoshàn) area. Right : A proposal of marriage in A Corner of Cathay, painting.

3 Page  3 Location of Guangdong ( 广东 ) and Shantou ( 汕头 )

4 Page  4 Left up: British Consulate, Swatow; Left Down: 1864 German Consulate, Swatow; Right: 1860 American Embassy - Swatow

5 Page  5 Minzu Road, Xiaogongyuan Shantou (‘Swatow’)

6 Page  6 Outline ABSTRACTINTRODUCTION(A) THE CHINESE FAMILY(B) MEDIATION IN CHINA(C) INTRA-FAMILY DISPUTES(D) DIVORCE AND MEDIATIONREFLECTIONSReadings

7 Page  7 Broad features of the family, mediation, and the use of mediation in family disputes Core differences between ‘Western’ and ‘Chinese’ approaches to dispute resolution Key aspects of the treatment of family disputes Facilitative nature of ‘western’ approaches Evaluative approach adopted in China

8 Page  8 Aims? The basic landscape of dispute resolution in mainland China since the late 1970s (post-Mao) How the approach is applied to family disputes INTRODUCTION

9 Page  9 INTRODUCTION, CONT ‘ADR’ and the Chinese legal system The late 1970s International influences Chinese legal culture A ‘harmonious society’ (hexie shehui: 和谐社会 )

10 Page  10 INTRODUCTION, CONT Rule of law or harmonious society?  Tension between mediation and adjudication 1990s SPCt president XIAO Yang PRC Constitution (1982) - a ‘rule of law state’ (yifa zhiguo: 依法治国 )  Changes in past few decades: –A shift towards formal justice –Resurgence of appreciation of informalism values

11 Page  11 Typology of response ◊ Lumping or tolerating the problem ◊ Bilateral negotiations ◊ Assisted bilateral negotiations ◊ Mediation ◊ Umpiring ◊ Force INTRODUCTION, CONT

12 Page  12 Mediation in Comparison: different Emphasis  Anglo-American common law world Ideal form: umpiring and “litigotiation”  People’s Republic of China Rely heavily on ‘mixing-in’ mediation A cultural preference: – ◊ “lumping” – ◊ making concessions or rang ( 让 ) INTRODUCTION, CONT

13 Page  13 (A) THE CHINESE FAMILY The Importance of the family in China today A key socio-economic entity Official hukou ( 户口 ) ‘robust’ birth control policies Development of family law in the People’s Republic of China (1949 to today) 1950 a revolutionary Marriage Law 1980 Marriage Law 2001 Marriage Law and following judicial interpretation

14 Page  14 (A) THE CHINESE FAMILY,CONT Historical roots Confucian ideology Marriage and Family reform from 19 th century onwards Confucious ( 孔子, 孔夫子 Kǒng Fūzǐ, “Master Kong”, BC).

15 Page  15 Left: “follow scientific development, construct harmonious family planning”; Right: “Control population, protect environment, cherish hoemland ”. Chinese family planning poster ( 计划生育, jìhuàshēngyù)

16 Page  16 Chinese children with their Mother

17 Page  17 (B) MEDIATION IN CHINA  Historical depth –Western Zhou Dynasty (1146 to 771 BC) –Preference for mediation –China's 1982 Constitution –People’s Mediation Committees ( 人民调解委员会 )  Confucius and Mao Zedong  A ‘harmonious society’ – Law on People’s Mediation 2010 post 1949 period

18 Page  18 (B) MEDIATION IN CHINA, cont  Differing forms of mediation Community mediation (renmin tiaojie: 人民调解 ) Administrative mediation (xingzheng tiaojie: 行政调解 ) Judicial or court-based mediation (fayuan tiaojie: 法院调解 ) …or more colloquially (fayuan chumian tiaojie: 法院出面调解 )

19 Page  19 (B) MEDIATION IN CHINA, cont  The meaning of ‘tiaojie’ Evaluative mediator A very active form of intervention Well-institutionalized process  Organisational framework: well-entrenched, well controlled The Villagers’ Committees and The Urban Residents’ Committees

20 Page  20 (B) MEDIATION IN CHINA, cont  The role of people’s mediator Qualification Pro-active  Adjudication and court-based mediation Mediation targets Part of litigation process Mediation statement (tiaojieshu: 调解书 )

21 Page  21 (C) INTRA-FAMILY DISPUTES  Policy emphasis on securing a mediated outcome Implementation assistance Same judge Type of family cases  Children’s best interests? Custody as example

22 Page  22 “Harmonious human relationships, treasure the harmony” ( 和为贵, héwéiguì)

23 Page  23 (D) DIVORCE AND MEDIATION  Divorce Low divorce rates Complication in property issues  Divorce by mutual consent Two-fifths of all Chinese divorce  Contested Divorce Applications 1980: a breakdown in mutual affection (ganqing polie: 感情破裂 ) 1989 Supreme People’s Court Opinion 2001: Grounds for divorce

24 Page  24 (D) DIVORCE AND MEDIATION,CONT  Compensation for misconduct? Serious misconduct Matrimonial fault  Domestic violence Mediatory and administrative intervention A matter of public  Cohabitation De facto marriage Community mediation

25 Page  25 New Judicial Interpretation Concerning the Application of the "Marriage Law of the PRC" (III) 2011 aroused controversies over property issues

26 Page  26 Anti-domestic Violence poster

27 Page  27 Divorce Procedure

28 Page  28 REFLECTIONS  Common law jurisdiction Mediation Mediator  People’s Republic of China Active role Highly evaluative and ‘educational’ Important aspects of Chinese legal culture

29 Readings  PALMER, Michael (2005) “On China’s Slow Boat to Women’s rights: Revisions to the Women’s Protection Law, 2005,” in P. W. CHAN (ed.) special issue of International Journal of Human Rights on Equality in the Asia Pacific, March 2007, Vol. 11, Nos. 1-2, pp Also as book chapter in Phil C. W. Chan (ed.), Equality in Asia-Pacific: Reality or a Contradiction in Terms? (London: Routledge, 2007; Foreword by Archbishop Desmond Tutu), 200–226  PALMER, Michael (2005) “Patriarchy, Privacy and Protection: Slowly conceptualising domestic violence in Chinese law,” IN Natalia Iu. Erpyleva, Jane Henderson and M. Butler (eds.) Forging a Common Legal Destiny: Liber Amicorum in honour of Professor W. E. Butler, London and New York: Wildy, Simmonds and Hill, 2005, pp  PALMER, Michael (2007) “Ma Xiwu,” IN David S. Clarke (ed.) Encyclopaedia of Law and Society: American and Global Perspectives, Los Angeles, London, New Delhi and Singapore, Sage Publications, 2007.

30  PALMER, Michael (2007) “Mediation in China,” IN David S. Clarke (ed.) Encyclopaedia of Law and Society: American and Global Perspectives, Los Angeles, London, New Delhi and Singapore, Sage Publications,  PALMER, Michael (2007) “The Transformation of Family Law in Post- Deng China: Marriage, Divorce and Reproduction,” The China Quarterly, No. 191, October 2007, pp ; republished in March 2008 as Donald C. Clarke (ed.) China’s Legal System: New Developments, New Challenges, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.  PALMER, Michael (2010) “Administrative Suits and Harmonious Settlements: A Twilight Issue in the Legal Development of Contemporary China,” Journal of Comparative Law, Vol. 4, No. 2, pp.71-78, (in “Global Wrongs and Private Law Remedies and Procedures”, Special Issue of the JCL, 2010, Guest Editor: Stathis Banakas)  ROBERTS, Simon and Michael PALMER( 2005) Dispute Processes: ADR and the Primary Forms of Decision Making, Second Edition, London and New York: Butterworths Press – Chapter Four “Disputes and Disputes Processes” at pp , especially pp on “Typologies of Response”.

31  PALMER, Michael (2012, forthcoming) “China: Bringing the Law Back In,” in Elaine Sutherland (ed.), The Future of Family and Child Law, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [Forthcoming: proofs available upon request, as at April 15, 2012]  PALMER, Michael (2012, forthcoming) “Rethinking Children’s Rights and Interests?: Economic Reform, Social Protection and Legal Culture in Post- Mao China,” Journal of Comparative Law, Vol. 5, No. 2, pp , in “Using Legal Culture”, Special Issue of the JCL, 2011, Guest Editor: David Nelken)  PALMER, Michael (2008) “The Development of the Legal System of the People’s Republic of China,” IN Stanley N. Katz (ed.) Oxford Encyclopaedia of Legal History, New York: Oxford University Press),  PALMER, Michael (2008) “Adoption in Chinese Law,” IN Stanley N. Katz (ed.) Oxford Encyclopaedia of Legal History, New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.

32 THANK YOU 谢谢!


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