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Durham University

Centre for Chinese Law and Policy (CCLP)

Centre for Chinese Law and Policy (CCLP)

The Centre for Chinese Law and Policy (CCLP) was officially established on 27th February 2019. It is an interdisciplinary centre that aims to become a leading research institution for Chinese law and policy outside of China. Members of the CCLP are committed to conducting original researches on Chinese law and policy issues that are of contemporary significance and disseminating the research results via leading publishers. The centre also brings together advanced scholars and practitioners around the world to study Chinese law and policy in the form of conferences, regular seminars, workshops, dialogues, etc.

The CCLP dedicates itself to the teaching of Chinese law in prominent ways. Apart from offering high-calibre modules of Chinese law within Durham Law School’s curriculum, the centre will develop intriguing extra-curricular activities for students and scholars who are interested in studying Chinese law.

The CCLP also seeks to expand the impact of its research and teaching through cooperation and by maintaining a wide range of academic, social, and political contacts with various academic institutions, think tanks, and government agencies within and beyond the UK.

The CCLP is a member of the Asia-Pacific and Europe Law Institutes Alliance, a recently established league that consists of a cohort of top institutions such as British Institute of International and Comparative Law, as well as prestigious law schools including those of Tsinghua University, Peking University, National University of Singapore, City University of Hong Kong, University of New South Wale, among others.

Force Majeure and Covid-19: An Assessment of the Contract Law and Civil Code of the PRC

Speaker: Dr Mimi Zou (Reader, University of Reading School of Law and Oxford University)
Time:13:00 p.m. (London time) Tuesday, 3 November 2020
As Covid-19 unfolded in late January, the Chinese government instigated a range of measures to contain and prevent its spread. Such measures had a significant impact on civil and commercial transactions within and outside of China, preventing the performance of many contracts by individuals and companies. Unsurprisingly, the disruptions brought by Covid-19 have seen substantial debates over the doctrine of force majeure. The Supreme People's Court of China, among other institutions, has sought to clarify the application of force majeure rules to contractual disputes in this context. In the tumultuous year of 2020, the long-awaited Civil Code of the PRC was also promulgated by the National People's Congress. In this talk, I assess the scope and effect of force majeure provisions, as well as the relationship between force majeure and change of circumstances under the 1999 Contract Law, related judicial interpretations, and the new Civil Code. The seminar is based on a paper co-authored by the presenter with Prof Wang Yi and Dr Wu Zhicheng from Renmin University, as well as a new book by the presenter titled Chinese Contract Law and the 2020 Civil Code (Lexis Nexis, 2020).


Dr Mimi Zou is a Reader in law at University of Reading Schol of Law and Director of Studies in Law at Regent's Park College, as well as the inaugural Fangda Career Development Fellow in Chinese Commercial Law at St Hugh's college Oxford. She also co-founded and runs the Deep Tech Dispute Resolution Lab at the Oxford Faculty of Law.

Dr Zou obtained her DPhil and BCL (Distinction) from Oxford on a Commonwealth Scholarship and a James Fairfax Oxford Australia Scholarship. She also graduated with first class honours degrees in Law, Economics and Social Sciences (University Medal) from the University of Sydney. She is a qualified lawyer in Australia and England and Wales. Her main areas of expertise are in Chinese and comparative contract law, employment law, law and technology, and commercial dispute resolution. Her research has won prestigious international prizes and featured in global media outlets. Dr Zou is a member of the World Economic Forum Experts Network in the areas of China, Justice and Blockchain. She is also a founding advisory board member of the Asia-Pacific Legal Innovation and Technology Association and a special advisor to the Great Britain China Centre. She also held appointments at Columbia, the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Utrecht University.

Dr Zou has worked in a number of international organizations, government departments and the judiciary, law firms and financial institutions in Asia and Europe over the past 15 years. In 2016, the Asia Society named her an 'Asia 21 Young Leader', which recognizes the accomplishments of rising change-makers in the region. She was a finalist in the Young Australian of the Year Awards, the UK Asian Women of Achievements Awards, and the inaugural 40 Under 40 Most Influential Asian-Australian Awards.

Doctoral Forum: Research and Career Development of Young Legal Scholars Studying in the UK.

The Centre for Chinese Law and Policy of Durham Law School invites postgraduate students in all sub-disciplines of legal studies to attend the upcoming doctoral forum: Research and Career Development of Young Legal Scholars Studying in the UK. The conference aims to cover broad issues of research management and career development for PGR students in UK law schools. Please see attached details of our doctoral forum on 6th November 2020 which will take place via ZOOM at 13:00 (UK time). You are invited to register for attending the conference, and the registration for attendance is free. If you wish to attend, please sign up no later than 05th November 2020, 18:00 (UK time) through

Durham CCLP Research Seminars: Prof Zheng TANG (Newcastle Law School)

13th October 2020, 13:00 p.m. Tuesday, Zoom

“Extraterritorial Effects of the Hong Kong National Security Law”

The very controversial Law of the People’s Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (“HK National Security Law” hereafter) was promulgated in the 20thsession of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) of China on 30 June 2020 and entered into effect in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) at 23:00 on the same day. This law defines four categories of offences and penalties, namely secession, subversion, terrorist activities and collusion with foreign or external elements to endanger national security. Article 38 provides: “This Law shall apply to offences under this Law committed against the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region from outside the Region by a person who is not a permanent resident of the Region.” This article extends jurisdiction of the HK National Security Law to the action of any individuals or organisations in any country, irrespective of their nationality, residence and the law of the countries where the action has taken place. The extraterritorial effect can be summarised as: no nexus or proximity, no double criminality, and no identity requirements. The legal basis for this jurisdiction is the protective principle, which allows a state to regulate extraterritorial conduct by foreigners or non-residents that may jeopardise its vital interests.

In this seminar, we are going to discuss what is protective jurisdiction, whether the extraterritorial effect of the HK National Security Law is justifiable in international law, what the overseas impact of the HK National Security Law would be, especially on the freedom of speech, and how this law could be enforced in practice.


Professor Zheng Tang is a Chair in Law and Commerce at the Newcastle University; professor at the Wuhan University International Law Institute; associate at the University of Aberdeen; senior visiting scholar at the Duke University, USA and Max Planck Institute of Comparative and International Private Law, Germany; Barrister-at-Law and mediator in the UK; external expert, DG Justice, European Commission. Professor Tang is specialised in cross-border litigation and international arbitration in commercial fields, broadly defined, in which she has published extensively. Professor Tang is a member of the advisory board of Journal of Private International Law, an editor of the Chinese Journal of Comparative Law, and an editor of, the leading and most influential blog in conflict of laws. She is one of the authors of Cheshire, North and Fawcett: Private International Law (15th ed), the leading text in this field. Her monograph and article are cited by the Canadian Supreme Court. Her co-authored book Conflict of Laws in the People's Republic of China has received four prestigious awards from China.

Durham CCLP Research Seminars: Dr Matthieu Burnay (Queen Mary University School of Law)

10th March 2020, 13:00 to 14:00, Hogan Lovells Lecture Theatre, Durham Law School

'China and the Global Commons: Localisation of Transnational Legal Orders

The objective of this seminar is to analyse how and why the People’s Republic of China (PRC) influences the making of regulatory and non-regulatory frameworks governing commons. The seminar seeks not only to highlight common patterns in China’s engagement with the global commons but also to understand whether China’s engagement is – by and large – to be seen as a form of contestation of existing global governance structure, or rather a contribution thereto. In this regard, the seminar will assess the extent to which China acts as a ‘norm-taker’, ‘norm-maker’ or ‘norm-shaker’ of global governance. With the former two clearly linked to China’s constructive role as a complying actor and norm developer, the latter sees China’s role as a critical actor, contesting existing structures and regimes.


Dr Matthieu Burnay is a Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Global Law at Queen Mary University of London. He is also a Visiting Professor at Beijing Normal University and Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne, as well as an Associate Researcher at the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies, University of Leuven. He has an interdisciplinary background in law, political science and history. He holds a PhD in Law from the University of Leuven and a Double MSc degree in International Affairs from Peking University and the London School of Economics. His main research interests are in global law and governance; the study of the political and legal aspects of EU-China relations in global governance; as well as the comparative study of the rule of law in Europe and Asia. He is particularly interested in the relationship between international law and Chinese law in the areas of international security and trade governance. In 2018, he was awarded a Jean Monnet Network on EU-China Legal and Judicial Cooperation (EUPLANT).

Durham CCLP Public Lecture: Mr Peter Lu (Baker McKinsey)

18th February 2020, 16:00- 18:00, Calman Learning Centre 406, Durham Law School

'The Demand for International Excellent Lawyer and How to Be One' at 16:00- 18:00 in Calman Learning Centre 406.

Durham CCLP Research Seminars: Prof Eva Pils (KCL)

4th February 2020, 13:00 to 14:00, Hogan Lovells Lecture Theatre, Durham Law School

"Legal Resistance: The Experience of China's Human Rights Lawyers"

Legal resistance: the experience of China’s human rights lawyers. China’s human rights lawyers, a relatively small group of legal professionals who emerged in the post-Mao era, insist that the Party-State follow the law in all cases, including those deemed ‘sensitive’ by the authorities. Throughout their existence, they have faced a highly repressive system. Drawing on my work on Chinese human rights lawyers since 2006, I will argue that the contrast between their liberal outlook and a system in or neo-totalitarian regression has become sharper in Xi Jinping’s ‘New Era,’ further pushing the lawyers to engage in legal advocacy as a form of liberal resistance.

Eva Pils is Professor of Law at King’s College London. She studied law, philosophy and sinology in Heidelberg, London and Beijing and holds a PhD in law from University College London. Her most recent book, Human rights in China: a social practice in the shadows of authoritarianism, was published in 2018. Before joining King’s in 2014, Eva was an associate professor at The Chinese University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law.

2019 ECLS Annual Conference in Durham

Date: 26 to 28 July, 2019

2019 Durham Summer School for Chinese Law and Policy

Date: 14 to 26 July, 2019

2019 ECLS Annual Conference Call for Papers

Date: 26 to 28 July, 2019

Contact Details

Durham Law School
Durham University
Palatine Centre
Stockton Road
Durham DH1 3LE