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71 Hastings L.J. 1 (2019-2020)

handle is hein.journals/hastlj71 and id is 1 raw text is: 


      Do the Haves Come Out Ahead in Chinese

  Grassroots Courts? Rural Land Disputes Between

      Married-Out Women and Village Collectives

                               BY PETER C.H. CHANt

This Article tests Galanter's party capability theory in China's grassroots courts  by
empirically examining 858 sampled judgments of rural land dispute lawsuits between married-
out women (the have-nots,  or the less resourceful party) and village collectives (the
haves,  or the more resourceful party) throughout China from 2009 to 2017. An analysis of
this study's results yields a groundbreaking discovery, the have-nots came out ahead in
China's courts by a substantial margin. This finding contradicts Galanter's theory-under
which the haves should prevail and the established view that the haves should come out
ahead in China (a leading study on Shanghai courts found the haves prevailing by large
margins). This discovery is significant because the Chinese judicial system, like its
counterparts in other authoritarian states, is commonly seen as a system that favors the
haves in a disproportionate manner due to the lack of judicial independence, which
enhances the likelihood of courts being swayed by powerful external influence in favor of the
stronger party. This Article argues that Galanter's theory is inapplicable, as the data shows,
when courts favor the have-nots over the haves.  It is believed that the courts 'favor for
the have-nots neutralized the party-capability advantages enjoyed by the haves and
propelled the have-nots to victory.

      Assistant Professor, School of Law, City University of Hong Kong. Email: pchchan@cityu.edu.hk.
The work described in this Article was fully supported by a grant from the Research Grants Council of the
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China (Project No. CityU 21606517). The Author owes a deep
debt of gratitude to Liu Xuanxi for her excellent research assistance throughout this project. The Author is
grateful for helpful comments by Feng Jing, He Xin, Hao Jiang, Mark Kielsgard, Irene Lee, Liu Xuanxi, Xiao
Huina, and Jonathan Jianhua Zhu. I would also like to thank the editors of Hastings Law Journal for their
excellent editing support. All errors are my own.

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