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Civil law and commercial law

Updated : 2015-06-02

Civil law covers property and personal relations between citizens, between legal persons and between citizens and legal persons that are equal subjects, where property relations means social relations between people arising from the possession, use and distribution of material wealth. Civil law does not regulate all property relations, just those between equal subjects, such as relations of ownership and credit. It primarily consists of the General Principles of the Civil Law and special civil laws. The General Principles are the basic civil law, while special civil laws include the Contract Law, Guaranty law, Marriage Law, Law of Succession, Adoption Law, Trademark Law, Patent Law and Copyright Law. There are some special civil regulations, such as those on the Implementation of the Copyright Law, the Implementation of the Trademark Law and the Implementation of the Patent Law. China is drafting a Civil Code and a Real Rights Law, and a better definition of the Civil Law to address the needs of market economy.

The Commercial law regulates commercial acts and relations between commercial subjects with equal status. It includes the Company Law, Securities Law, Law on Negotiable Instruments, Insurance Law, Enterprise Bankruptcy Law (for trial implementation), and Maritime Code, and many concepts, rules and principles relating to civil relations as provided for by civil law that apply to commercial law. The Chinese system is a combination of civil and commercial codes.