On May 28th this year, the third session of the 13th National People’s Congress held its closing session in the Great Hall of the People, and the People’s Republic of China’s Civil Code was passed by a vote and will become effective from January 1st, 2021.

Sourcing the origin of the Civil Code, the very beginning of the use of the word “civil law” was derived from the Civil Law of Citizens (Juscivile) found within the Roman laws. In the Roman legal system, the Civil Law of Citizens is against the Civil Law of all Nations (Jus gentium). The so-called civil law of the citizens is the law regulating the relationship between the citizens of Rome, and the civil law of all nations is the law regulating the relationship between the citizens of Rome and foreigners, as well as between foreigners. Later jurists generally believe that the Civil Law of Citizens is the origin of civil law, and the Civil Law of all Nations is the origin of private international law. However, the main content of modern civil law comes from the Civil Law of all Nations, which best reflects the relationship with a more commodity based economy.

With the development of the economy and the expansion of the territory, the Roman Empire gradually recognized the freedom of non-Roman citizens to enjoy civil rights, so the Civil Law of Citizens and the Civil Law of all Nations gradually merged into one. In the 6th century AD, under the guidance of Emperor Justinian of East Rome, the Roman laws were compiled into the Justinian Code together with other four legal compilations, which were collectively called “the Corpus Juris Civilis” until the 12th century AD, the content of which belongs to the civil legal norms in order to administer the relationship between citizens. For instance, the ” The law of persons” stipulates personality rights, identity rights, and kinship rights, etc., and the ” The law of property and possession” stipulates property ownership, inheritance rights, and various creditor’s rights. Since then, the concept of civil law has been gradually accepted by countries all over the world and the term “civil law” used in modern countries has been translated from ” the Civil Law of Citizens (Juscivile)”.

So is the PRC Civil Code, the so-called “Encyclopaedia of Social Life”, similar to Justinian Code? Almost all civil activities in China, from contract signing to company establishment, to payment of property management fees, can be found in the PRC Civil Code. As the Civil Code puts people first, it fully reflects the characteristics of the times, the concerns of the people, and responds to the yearning for a better life. Marriage, housing, privacy, inheritance… from the cradle to the grave, every right in one’s life is closely related to the Civil Code.

However, how much do you know about this “Declaration of Civil Rights” which is closely related to everyone? How do the contents of the 7 section plus by-laws/ 84 chapters/ 1260 articles and more than 100,000 words affect people’s rights? In preceding years, namely, 1954, 1962, 1979 and 2001, China attempted to start the formulation of the Civil Code but failed to achieve practical results for various different reasons, therefore, how then does this 66-year-old “classic” , from its meticulous and cautious development affect our lives and businesses?

We at D’Andrea & Partners Legal Counsel have a team of experts capable of fully illustrating the articles of the Civil Code and assist our readers in understanding the strong legal guarantees provided by its promulgation and implementation. Do not miss out on our series of Civil Code articles throughout the next few weeks, meanwhile you may get in touch with us at info@dandreapartners.com for any queries or assistance in civil aspects of the law.