As Covid-19 unfolded in late January, the Chinese government instigated a range of measures to contain and prevent its spread. Such measures had a significant impact on civil and commercial transactions within and outside of China, preventing the performance of many contracts by individuals and companies. Unsurprisingly, the disruptions brought by Covid-19 have seen substantial debates over the doctrine of force majeure. The Supreme People's Court of China, among other institutions, has sought to clarify the application of force majeure rules to contractual disputes in this context. In the tumultuous year of 2020, the long-awaited Civil Code of the PRC was also promulgated by the National People's Congress. In this talk, I assess the scope and effect of force majeure provisions, as well as the relationship between force majeure and change of circumstances under the 1999 Contract Law, related judicial interpretations, and the new Civil Code. The seminar is based on a paper co-authored by the presenter with Prof Wang Yi and Dr Wu Zhicheng from Renmin University, as well as a new book by the presenter titled Chinese Contract Law and the 2020 Civil Code (Lexis Nexis, 2020). 


Dr Mimi Zou is a Reader/Associate Professor at University of Reading School of Law and Director of Studies in Law at Regent's Park College. She held the inaugural post of Fangda Career Development Fellow in Chinese Commercial Law at St Hugh's College Oxford. She also co-founded and runs the Deep Tech Dispute Resolution Lab at Oxford Faculty of Law. 

Dr Zou obtained her DPhil and BCL (Distinction) from Oxford on a Commonwealth Scholarship and a James Fairfax Oxford Australia Scholarship. She also graduated with first class honours degrees in Law, Economics and Social Sciences (University Medal) from the University of Sydney. She is a qualified lawyer in Australia and England and Wales. Her main areas of expertise are in Chinese and comparative contract law, employment law, law and technology, and commercial dispute resolution. Her research has won prestigious international prizes and featured in global media outlets. Dr Zou is a member of the UNIDROIT Working Group on Digital Assets and World Economic Forum's Experts Network in the areas of China, Justice and Blockchain. She is also a founding advisory board member of the Asia-Pacific Legal Innovation and Technology Association and a special advisor to the Great Britain China Centre. 

Dr Zou has worked in a number of international organizations, government departments and the judiciary, law firms and financial institutions in Asia and Europe over the past 15 years. In 2016, the Asia Society named her an 'Asia 21 Young Leader', which recognizes the accomplishments of rising change-makers in the region. She was a finalist in the Young Australian of the Year Awards, the UK Asian Women of Achievements Awards, and the inaugural 40 Under 40 Most Influential Asian-Australian Awards. 


Additional information

Please register for the webinar by contacting Xiao MAO: xiao.mao@law.ox.ac.uk. The event is jointly organised with Durham University Centre for Chinese Law and Policy.




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