China tort law set to further guard individual rights

20:46, July 02, 2010      

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China's newly-implemented tort law, the country's first special law on liability for acts of infringement, is likely to further safeguard individuals' personal and property rights and better gauge social behavior, law experts said Friday.

The Tort Liability Law, which took effect Thursday, provides that people may sue for damages following medical accidents, road accidents, harm from pollution, mental distress, and violations of privacy or reputation on the Internet, as well as injuries from objects thrown from high-rise buildings.

"Due to the lack of a legal basis to handle infringement cases in the past, the enforcement of the tort law will possibly trigger a surge in civil claims in the near future," said Wang Jun, a professor from the law school of Shanghai-based Fudan University.

The tort law, approved in December of last year, has been seen as one of the key laws within China's legal framework of civil rights protection.

But experts warned that the law should not apply to cases that happened before the day it took effect, as some media reports said Friday courts in Shanghai and other cities had accepted dozens of infringement cases, for possible future hearings, Thursday.

"The law cannot be retroactive, but somehow it can provide a reference for judges handling cases that happened before July 1," said Wang Limin, a professor of civil law from Beijing-based Renmin University who also participated in writing the law.

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