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Durham University

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Staff Profile

Professor Lei Chen, LLB (Hons) (London) LLB (ECUPL) LLM (Aberdeen) PHD (Stellenbosch)

Chair in Chinese Law in the Durham Law School

Contact Professor Lei Chen (email at


Professor Lei CHEN (PhD) is Chair in Chinese Law at Durham Law School, Durham University, UK. He is an Adjunct Professor at School of Law, City University of Hong Kong and also teaches the EMBA programme at City University of Hong Kong Business School. Professor Chen holds Wenlan Visiting Chair of Comparative Law at Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, Wuhan, and Oriental Scholar Visiting Chair at East China University of Political Science & Law, Shanghai. Professor Chen has also been a Visiting Professor at Harvard, Columbia, Emory, Max-Planck Institute for Comparative Private Law, Paris Sorbonne, KU Leuven, Chuo University, National University of Singapore, Tsinghua, Renmin and University of Hawaii.

Professor Chen's research areas are Chinese civil and commercial law, comparative private law and international commercial dispute resolution. He has two LLB degrees (from both civil and common law backgrounds). He has significant successes in applying for research grants, and has been awarded General Research Funds (GRFs) three times from Hong Kong Research Grant Committee as a Principal Investigator. Professor Chen has published seven books (authored and edited) and a good number of leading journal articles. He sits on the editorial boards of peer-reviewed journals published by Oxford University Press, Hart, Springer, and Brill. He has been an elected member of the International Academy of Comparative Law since 2010 and a Fellow of the European Law Institute since 2013. Professor Chen is on the panel of arbitrators in many leading arbitration institutions such as HKIAC, SCIA, KCAB, CIETAC, BAC, SHIAC, AIAC, CAA and THAC etc. He is also a fellow of the Hong Kong Institute of Arbitrators.

In view of his academic stature, Professor Chen has been nominated as a member of Law Panel of Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) Hong Kong 2020. Apart from his participation in international academic networks, he also advises various international organizations, national governments and judiciaries, and frequently provides expert opinions in various arbitration institutions and courts in Hong Kong, PCA (Hague), Washington DC, Singapore and England.

Professor Chen has a very strong proven track record in promoting international activities and managing external relations. When he was Deputy Dean at City University of Hong Kong overseeing external relations, City University of Hong Kong Law School was ranked 25th and 31st in the world by the Times Higher Education (Law Subject Ranking) in 2019 and 2020 respectively. City University of Hong Kong was also ranked No. 1 in the world in 2019 in the indicator of international outlook and No.1 in industry income in Asia.

Selected Grants

  1. The Availability of Specific Performance in Chinese Courts: An Empirical Assessment, General Research Fund (GRF), Research Grant Committee (RGC), Hong Kong Government, Estimated Amount: HKD $460,000, Jan 2016 - Jul 2018, Lei CHEN (PI).
  2. Understanding Property Transitions: The Emergence of Rural Land Markets in China, General Research Fund (GRF), Research Grant Committee (RGC), Hong Kong Government, Amount: HKD $510,000, Jan 2015 - Jun 2017, Lei CHEN (PI) .
  3. Assessing Property Relations and Formalizing Condominium Ownership in China, General Research Fund (GRF), Research Grant Committee (RGC), Hong Kong Government, Amount: HKD $499,000, Nov 2012 - Nov 2015, Lei CHEN (PI) .
  4. Contract Law in China and Europe: A Comparative Approach, EU-China Research Grant, 2011 - 2014, Co-I Jan Smits (PI).
  5. Comprehensive Analysis of Diversity of Legal Systems in Asia-Pacific Region and Convergence towards Establishment of Rule of Law, Private University Research Branding Project, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science & Tech日本文部科學省, Amount: JPY $3,500,000, 2017 - 2018, Co-PI (Lei CHEN); Prof. Nobuyuki Sato (PI) .
  6. Cross-border Data Transfer among Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau, Research Project commissioned by Microsoft Int. Policy Research Grant, Amount: HKD $360,000, 2018 - 2019, Lei CHEN (PI).

Selected Publications

Authored Books:

Lei Chen, Property Law in China, Cambridge University Press, (forthcoming)

Lei Chen, The Making of Chinese Condominium Law, 2010, Intersentia, Cambridge. 211 pages.

Edited Books:

Lei Chen & Jassen, Andre (2020) Dispute Resolution in China, Europe and World, Springer.

Ken Oliphant, Lei Chen, and PH Zhang (2018). The Legal Protection of Personality Rights in China and Europe, Brill. 280 pages.

Lei Chen & DiMatteo Larry (2017), Chinese Contract Law: Civil and Common Law Perspectives, Cambridge University Press. 540 pages.

G Howells, C. Twigg-Flesner, H. Micklitz, and Lei Chen, (2017) Comparative Consumer Sales Law, Routledge. 190 pages.

Lei Chen & C.H. van Rhee (2012). Towards A Chinese Civil Code: Historical and Comparative Perspectives, Brill. 562 pages.

Translation Book:

The Chinese Civil Code Study Group (led by Lei Chen), An English Translation of the Civil Code of PRC 2020, Brill, 2021

Journal Articles: (2014-now)

YM Tang, Lei Chen & Zhuang Liu (2021). Judicial Transparency as Judicial Centralization: Mass Publicity of Court Decisions in China, Journal of Contemporary China ( forthcoming) [Q1 (2019) Impact Factor Best Quartile; 2.13 (2019) 5 year IF]

Lei Chen, (2021). Continuity and Change: Some Reflections on the Chinese Civil Code, 29 (2) Asia Pacific Law Review (forthcoming) [Citescore 0.667 (2019) Impact Factor Q3 (2019)]

Sebastien de Rey & Lei Chen,(2021)Non-Monetary Relief for Breach of Contract: A European Perspective on Chinese Contract Law, 29 (2) Asia Pacific Law Review (forthcoming) [ Corresponding author: Citescore 0.667 (2019) Impact Factor Q3 (2019)]

Lei Chen & Qiyu Wang (2021) Demystifying the Doctrine of Change of Circumstances under Chinese Law—A Comparative Perspective from Singapore and English Common Law, Journal of Business Law

Lei Chen & Larry Di Matteo (2020) Inefficiency of Specific Performance as a Contractual Remedy in Chinese Courts: An Empirical and Normative Analysis, Northwestern Journal of International Law and Business. 40:3. pp 275 – 333 [2019 Impact Factor 0.786; Q 2; 75/153 in Law (Web of Science 2019)

Geraint Howells, Christian Twigg-Flesner. Lei Chen etc. (2020) Consumer law and policy relating to change of circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 43 Journal of Consumer Policy, pp 437-450 [ 2019 SJR 0.408; Q 2 in business, management, and accounting]

Lei Chen & Liu Zhuang, (2020) “Does the Jury Enhance Public Trust in the Judiciary”, 28 (2) Asia Pacific Law Review, 165 [0.667 (2019) Impact Factor; Q3 (2019)]

Lei Chen (2019). Specific Performance as a Contractual Remedy in Chinese Courts: An Empirical Study 7 (1) Chinese Journal of Comparative Law, pp 95-123 [ 2017 SJR 0.412: Q2]

Lei Chen & J Wang (2018). Will Innovative Technology cause Innovative Legal Framework? Smart Contracts in China. European Review of Private Law. 26 (6). pp 21-42

Lei Chen (2017). Debating Personality Rights Protection in China: From a European PerspectiveEuropean Review of Private Law. 26 (1) pp. 16-38

Lei Chen 陈磊. (2017). 超越边界:业主的权利限制之比较分析 (Beyond Boundary: A Comparative Analysis of Homeowner's Tradable Entitlements). 南京大学学报 (Journal of Nanjing University) 2017: 4; pp 6-23

Lei Chen (2015). “Land Registration, Property Rights, and Institutional Performance in China”, 2014 Hong Kong Law Journal 44 (3), pp. 841-864 [SJR 2013 0.212; Q 3]

Lei Chen, (2014) “Evolving Property Rights in China: Patterns and Dynamics of Condominium Governance” The Chinese Journal of Comparative Law, 2014 Oxford University Press, pp. 21-42 [2016 SJR Q 2]

Lei Chen. “Whither Adverse Possession in Hong Kong? Some reflections on the Consultation Paper by the Hong Kong Law Reform Commission”, 2014 (5) Conveyancer and Property Lawyer, (with Gordon Sng) pp. 413-429

Lei Chen, “The Emergence of Private Property Law and its impacts on Human Rights”, (2014) 15: 1 Asian-Pacific Law and Policy Journal, (with M. Kielsgard); pp. 94-134

Chapter in Book: (2014-now)

陈磊, “中国商事仲裁司法审查的评估和展望”,李伟芳(主编)国际法前沿问题(International Law Frontiers),北京大学出版社 (Peking University Press), 2021, 28-46.

Lei Chen & Hao Wang (2020) Judicial Control over Arbitral Awards in Mainland China. In The Cambridge Handbook of Judicial Control of Arbitral Awards. Cambridge University Press. 208-223

L. Trakman, Q. Liu. & L. Chen (2020) Investor-state Arbitration in China: A Comparative Perspective. In Dispute Resolution in China, Europe and World, Springer. 231-261

Lei Chen, A. Michelak & J. Wang (2019) The Norm of Property’s Social Function: A Chinese Perspective. In Duguit and the Social Obligation Norm of Property. Springer. 220-241

J Wang & L Chen (2019). Regulating Smart Contracts and Digital Platforms: A Chinese Perspective. The Cambridge Handbook of Smart Contracts, Blockchain Technology and Digital Platforms. Cambridge University Press.

Lei Chen, (2018) Changing Perceptions of Land Ownership in China: Between the Socialist Heritage and Liberal Market. Pip Nicholson (et al) Socialist Law in Socialist East Asia. Cambridge University Press 383-404

Lei Chen, Damages and Specific Performance in Chinese Contract Law. Larry DiMatteo & Lei Chen (eds), Chinese Contract Law: Civil law and Common Law Perspectives (Cambridge University Press, 2017); pp 377-403

Lei Chen & L. DiMatteo, History of Chinese contract law, in Larry DiMatteo & Lei Chen (eds), Chinese Contract Law: Civil law and Common Law Perspectives (Cambridge University Press, 2017); pp. 3-28

Lei Chen, Relaxations to Contractual Privity and the Need for Third Party Rights in Chinese Contract Law. Mindy Chen-Wishart, Alex Loke & Stefan Vogenauer (eds) Formation of Contract and Third Party Beneficiaries: Studies in the Contract Laws of Asia (Oxford University Press, 2017)

Lei Chen and Geraint Howells, Consumer Sales Law in Hong Kong, in Micklitz (et al) Comparative Consumer Sales Law, (Routledge, 2017); pp 69-82

Lei Chen, “The Availability of Specific Performance in Chinese Contract Law” in Mindy Chen-Wishart and Alexander Loke (eds) Remedies for Breach in Asia, Oxford University Press, 2016 pp 21-4

Lei Chen, “Codifying Personality Rights in China: Legislative Innovation or Scaremongering?” in Oliphant K. (ed al)The Legal Protection of Personality Rights in China and Europe (Brill, 2018) 32-52

Lei Chen, The Changing Landscape of Condominium Laws and UrbanGovernance in China. In Lehavi A. (ed) Private Communities and Urban Governance: Theoretical and Comparative Perspectives (Springer, 2016) pp 1-26

Lei Chen, “The Legal and Institutional Analysis of Land Expropriation in China” in John Gillespie & Fu Hualing (eds), Resolving Land Disputes in East Asia (Cambridge University Press, 2015) pp. 57-84

Research Groups

Durham Law School

  • Centre for Chinese Law and Policy
  • Institute of Commercial and Corporate Law

Research Interests

  • Chinese civil and commercial law
  • Comparative contract law
  • International arbitration
  • Property law


Indicators of Esteem

  • 2020: Law Panel Member of Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) 2020 Hong Kong:
  • 2014: Fellow of European Law Institute :