Administrative Agreement Law in China and the Case of Public-Private Partnerships

Event date
21 November 2023
Event time
16:00 - 17:00
Oxford week
MT 7
Faculty of Law - Seminar Room D

Dr CHEN Tianhao (Associate Professor, Tsinghua University, China), in discussion with Professor Anne Davies (University of Oxford) 


The revision of China’s Administrative Litigation Law in 2015 introduced the administrative agreement legal system, bringing contract disputes between the government and market entities into administrative litigation for resolution. In 2020, the Supreme People’s Court enhanced the related dispute resolution mechanisms through a Judicial Interpretation. However, this Interpretation still faces several unresolved issues. Public-Private Partnership (PPP) contracts represent a typical form of administrative agreements. Since 2014, the PPP model in China has undergone a journey from widespread promotion to setbacks, and is now considering a relaunch, posing requirements for refining China’s administrative agreement system.

In this talk, Professor CHEN Tianhao will introduce the genesis, doctrinal developments and practical dilemma of ‘administrative agreements’ as the interactive product of the administrative litigation and government contracting practices in China, instantiated by the Public-Private Partnership contracts – a category of contracting instruments with mixed influences from the UK PFI/PF2, the French system of concession and the Chinese infrastructure-driven economy. We are very honoured to have Professor Anne Davies as the discussant to bring in comparative perspectives and explore the relations between public law and PPP contracts in the UK context.


Dr. CHEN Tianhao obtained his Ph.D in Public Law from Université de Bordeaux in France and is currently an Associate Professor jointly appointed by the School of Public Administration and the School of Law at Tsinghua University, China. With expertise in both doctrinal and socio-legal studies, his main areas of interests include Chinese administrative law, government contracts, and technology regulation, with research outputs appearing in several top tier academic journals in China. In particular, his several articles about characterisation and doctrinal enrichment of public law contracts, or ‘administrative agreements’ as distinguished from private contracts in China, have greatly contributed to the relevant legal developments, culminating into an authoritative Supreme People’s Court’s judicial interpretation on administrative agreements in 2020. He also serves as the Deputy Director of the Government Legal Research Center at School of Public Administration and the Assistant Director at the Center for Science and Technology Development and Governance at Tsinghua University.


Anne Davies is Professor of Law and Public Policy at Oxford and Fellow of Brasenose College. Holding a BA and D.Phil. from Oxford, she was a Prize Fellow at All Souls College from 1995 to 2001, and the Garrick Fellow and Tutor in Law at Brasenose College from 2001 to 2015. From 2015-2020 she was Dean of the Oxford Law Faculty. With a focus on public law and labor/employment law, she authored highly impacting articles and books in these areas. Her 2001 Book ‘Accountability: A Public Law Analysis by Contract’ and 2008 book ‘The Public Law of Government Contracts’ have been widely acclaimed as systematic diagnoses of public law concerns in internal contracts and procurement contracts deployed by the UK government for public services provision. Currently, Professor Davies leads the SPARKS project, exploring government contracts’ role in achieving net zero targets.

Found within

Public Law