The Reform of Swiss Code of Obligation and the making of Chinese Civil Code

The 4th Plenary Meeting of the 18th Central Committee of CPC of 2014 made the decision of accelerating the formulation of the Chinese civil Code in China. To echo this initiative, the National People’s Congress officially launched the formulation of the Civil Code. First and foremost, is to draft the general principle for the Civil Code. Since the reform of the Qing Dynasty, China’s legislation has been following the framework of the statutory law, which is also referred to as the civil legal framework, with the Civil Code as its core symbol. The Civil Code is not only a legal reflection of social and economic life but also a summary of people’s lifestyle. However, as opposed to the legislation model in Germany and France, which separates the legislation of the Civil Code and the Commercial Code, China integrates the legislation of the Civil and Commercial Laws, which is in line with the concept of legislation in Switzerland. Although Switzerland has modified its Obligation Law based on the economic and social changes, the legal logic behind its laws can still be applied to the legislation in China even if these two countries differ a lot in terms of economic and social aspects. It is generally acknowledged in the legal community that the Law of Obligation in Switzerland is praised for its succinctness and articulation. Two important principles are established in the legislation: the first is that every clause should contain a maximum of three paragraphs; second, every paragraph cannot be more than one sentence. With hundreds of years of development, the above principles are followed and respected. The Obligation Law in Switzerland is a federal law, and it is deeply rooted in the practice of laws, making it flexible and accepted by citizens. The pragmatism of the law also influenced the law enforcement in the domestic courts. The public can clearly understand the regulations stipulated in the law, and the law enforcement bodies tries to be precise in the application of laws. This technique of legislation incorporates the rigorousness of the German laws and the resilience of the French laws, which makes it advantageous in the practice of laws. The legislation of China’s Civil Codes is in a critical stage. However, in the legislation of General Principles, launched at the very beginning of the overall process, certain emphasis is placed on debts. Therefore, China could draw experience from the revision of the Law of Obligation in Switzerland in the formulation of the General Principles of the Civil Code, the Chapter of Debt and the Law of Obligation.

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