Teacher Interviews

Liang Huixing
Chinese Legal Practice and Education

 

 

(Professor Liang Huixing)

 

As an eminent scholar with extensive study into civil jurisprudence, Liang Huixing was a member of the Presidium in the 11th National People's Congress(NPC) and its Law Committee. Being a researcher at the Institute of Law in Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), he is a major participant in the ongoing compilation of Chinese Civil Code.

 

After completing his undergraduate studies at Southwest College of Political Science and Law (Now SWUPL) in 1966, Mr. Liang received a master's degree in civil law from the Graduate School of CASS, after which he has been studying civil jurisprudence in CASS for decades. As a doctoral supervisor at SWUPL and Shandong University, he was also the Dean of SDU Law, and a member of the Academic Degree Committee, a subordinate body of the State Council in charge of the degree granting system in China.

 

Apart from his experience in legal practice and education, as a distinguished jurisprudential academic, Professor Liang has authored multiple classics and scholarly articles in the study of civil law, and is also the editor-in-chief of Jurisprudential Study, an academic journal.

 

On April 13th, 2013, Professor Liang visited SHUFE Law and addressed a lecture titled "Interpretation and Comment of Tort Law"(see article), and we had the honor to listen to this venerable senior's insight into the status quo and future prospects of Chinese legal practice and education.

 

(In the interview, from left to right: Prof. Liang, Jade Cheung, Tang Guanhong)

 

SHUFE Law (SL): As a major participant in the compilation of Chinese Civil Code, can you give us a brief description on its current status? About when could we see its official publication?


Liang Huixing (LH): Currently, we've already had the General Principles of Civil Law as well as multiple singular civil regulations in force. Here is the basic history of Chinese civil law. In 2002, the exposure draft of the Civil Code of PRC was first released for public comment after deliberation of the 9th session of Standing Committee of the National People's Congress(SCNPC). In 2003, considering the complexity and extensiveness of the Code's content, the 10th SCNPC decided to consider and pass each session of the Code separately, and compile the Code in accordance with its layout afterwards. Since then, several singular civil regulations have been published, including the Real Right Law, the Contract Law, the Guaranty Law, The Marriage Law, the Law of Succession, and the Tort Liability Law. From my view, the compilation of Chinese Civil Code, given its technical and procedural difficulties, still has a long way to go. My personal guess, on the time of its publication, would be around the time when the 14th SCNPC is in session.

 

SL: In the Chinese mindset, it is usually deemed inauspicious to get involved in a lawsuit. Given choices, most people would like to avoid a trial. But the ideal of the "struggle for the Recht", as Rudolf von Jhering put it, however, requires every individual to pluck up their courage and initiate the litigation against every tort occurred, however trivial it might seem, and that struggle was necessary for the transformation of China from a duty-oriented country to a right-oriented one. What do you think of this contradiction between reality and ideal?


LH: The validity of the implied premise in this question still need to be proved by positive or statistical evidences. There is, however, disrespect to the law in this country. China had been through decades of the centralized planned economy, in which law was given little significance compared with administrative authority. Though now the economic system has been transformed into market economy, the mindset of that time largely remains. For starters, the civil servants, even some in the justice office, are sometimes lacking in respect to the rule of law, which undermines their own authority. Apart from that, the current legal education focues more on knowledge rather than belief in law and justice, in what is right and what is wrong. How could a plagiarist in school be an impartial judge in court? I think we should start from building up law student and practitioner's respect to the sanctity of law, only then could we transform the whole nation's mindset towards a more law-respecting path.

 

SL: Starting this year, SHUFE Law has set up the class for common law certification, inviting Jurum Doctor graduated from American Law school, with extensive experiences of legal practice, as lecturer. All the studies in this class are done in English in order to underpin student's linguistic and academic capacities for their future studies of comparative jurisprudence, as well as to train talents with international prospects in the field of law. What's your opinion about this new program?


LH: Personally, I think it is approvable. It is of great significance for law students to gain the knowledge of law and the language in other jurisdictions. In fact, the law school of Shandong University, where I hold the position as a dean, has set up a class to study both Chinese and Japanese law, as well as the Japanese language. Most of its graduates are now working in major firms of Japan, or participating in litigation with both countries involved. My suggestion, however, would be that we should not limit our visions to the developed world, but also pay attention to the newly industrialized economies, such as South Africa, Brazil, etc. More optional courses should be available for students who could handle them outside their studies of Chinese law, as a means to cultivate talents with specific strengths.

 

SL: In recent decades, an increasing number of Chinese jurisprudential academics and legal practitioners have laid their eyes on other countries, reverting to their historical past and referring to their current experience for lessons in pursuit of shaping a better future for Chinese legal system. Historically speaking, it is also by studying foreign experience and theories that Chinese built up their own legal system. In this sense, which country's legal theories and practices will you suggest law students and schools pay attention to?


LH: As I said, we should focus more on countries outside the developed world, on countries in South America, Africa, or the Muslim world. With increasing contacts between China and these countries, the shortage of Chinese legal practitioner in these countries has been expanding at an accelerating speed. My suggestion for Chinese law schools will be that they could enroll more students with training in foreign languages, especially minority languages, in their Juris Master program. The city where SHUFE stands, Shanghai, in particular, has a predominant advantage in foreign exchange, and that's the advantage which SHUFE should take.

 

SL: Which book in particular will you recommend to law students?


LH: Actually, I've written a manual for the instruction of J.M. program at SDU, Statute Reading and Civil Law Learning(Click and see), which I deemed recommendable, and it's available online. The reason I wrote this book is because that unlike students of LL.B. degree, J.M. students are not major in law in their undergraduate studies, and instead of starting from the basic concept and principles of law, I think learning civil law from statute reading is more efficient and is also a practical way to grasp the spirit of law.

 

(Group photo, from left to right: Tang Guanhong, Liang Huixing, Bob Zhao)

 

(Jade Cheung, photo: TT)

 

Published:2013-05-04 Hit:868
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