Dr Ying Yu is a Stipendiary Research Fellow at Wolfson College, and a member of the Faculty of Law in the University of Oxford. 

Ying is interested in researching the emerging issues in protecting individual consumer in digital economy building on her former work on international trade, maritime law and private international law. Her research includes national systems, the European Union, and the international dimension. Among the numerous issues concerning such rights and protections, she has concentrated on several: consumer protection; forms of dispute resolution; e-commerce; financial services, tourism and cross-border transactions. She is preparing a new project starts at 2020, namely Trust Building in Digital Economy: Blockchain ODR.

Ying combines her academic research and writing with active engagement in policy issues. Ying is a frequent speaker at UN meetings on consumer protection and digital economy, she is a Committee Member of the ILA (International Law Association) Consumer Protection Committee. She leads the UNCTAD RPP Project of Best Practices of Consumer Redress in UNCTAD, Geneva.  She founded the Research Centre for Policy and Law on Global Consumer Protection which was the first consumer NGO  in China.

Ying is writing a book on Chinese Legal Cultural Heritage: Confucius' ideas on Law, Justice and Society. This work is a re-interpretation of Confucius' idea on how to maintain a good social order by his design, in particular,  “Non-litigation (无讼)” in dispute resolution, distributive justice and due process. Ying has been engaging with the foremost Chinese anti-corruption think tank, Hunan Anti-corruption Research Centre. As a Special Expert of the centre, Ying is collaborating with Dr Xinming Chen on redefining the essence of incorruptible culture in ancient China from Confucius’ thought.



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  • Y Yu, International Cooperation on Consumer Protection in Cross-border E-Commerce, paper presented at Intergovernmental Group of Experts on E-commerce and the Digital Economy, UNCTAD e-commerce Week 2019, United Nations
    The presentation was addressed to the 'International Cooperation on Consumer Protection in Cross-Border E-Commerce' session on 3 April. It illustrated China's top importation partnering countries by trade volume, the range of transactional problems that hinder the development of cross-border trading, and the challenges that prevent countries from resolving these issues successfully. The presentation further discussed how the introduction of blockchain technology and its applications into consumer protection regime for cross border e-commerce can become best practice. In response to the session chair's question on the role of the UN, Ying suggested that UNCTAD is well-positioned to bring together all stakeholders horizontally and vertically for international cooperation on consumer protection. This means cooperating not only between jurisdictions but across sectors within each respective jurisdiction. In addition to the pubic sector, private sectors experiences are also invaluable in this context.
  • Y Yu, Best Practices of Dispute Resolution and Redress (United Nations Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Consumer Protection Law and Policy, third session, 9-10 July, 2018, Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland 2018)
    Consumer is the most significant and frequent identity of modern citizen among all the legal status. But so often, in terms of consumer access to justice, the civil justice system is not adequate, even missing. Moreover, the existing judicial scheme, is over-emphasing on procedural justice, rather over-looking substantive justice which is the purpose of redress. The reality is, the more complicated the procedural is, the less consumer approach it. The consequence is that the current formal judicial scheme which is litigation centered is pushing consumer away further and further.
  • Y Yu, Global e-commerce: Online consumer protection and logistics (World Economic Forum Workshop: Global E-commerce Best Practices, 18 Apr, 2018 in Geneva 2018)
    The relationship between online consumer protection, e-commerce and trade policy. To what extent e-commerce consumer protection relate to trade policy? 1. WTO, what goods and services can be trade online? For example, opening financial service market is very much relating to online payment and cross-border transactions; 2. Customs tariff; 3. Domestic taxation: VAT; 4. Transportation and Logistic; 5. Private International law. Business rely on trust. How to offer a risk free eco-system is the key both to public sector and private sector need to think about.
  • J H Xue, A Chung and Y Yu, Legal and Regulatory Challenges of the Sharing Economy (The Foundation of Law Justice and Society Policy Brief 2018)
    This policy brief examines the issues raised by the emergence of huge companies such as Uber in the UK and Didi in China that operate in the so-called ‘sharing economy’. The business model of these companies represents a fundamental realignment of the relations between capital and labour, and raises questions about the liability for public safety, the need to preserve the jobs of traditional ‘offline’ operators, and the unfair use of consumers’ personal data. The authors examine recent cases involving Uber and Transport for London which saw the company’s licence temprarily suspended, and the 2016 ruling in favour of two Uber drivers which recognized them as employees under UK employment law, rather than as independent contractors or self-employed. The brief concludes that the rapid expansion and diversification of the sharing economy requires carefully crafted measures that can be implemented by existing regulatory bodies, or by new and alternative forms of regulators altogether.
  • Y Yu, Reinterpreting Confucius’ Ideas on Law, Justice and Society, paper presented at FLJS Lecture, Wolfson College, University of Oxford, 13 June, 2018
    It is a generally thought that the Chinese legal tradition is so different from the western there is no basis for comparison, that they begin with different premises, different understandings and assumptions, and proceed according to different cultural traditions. However, re-examination of the writings of Confucius, reveals that he was preoccupied with ideas of natural justice, and the practical application of those ideas, in particular in relation to due process. Although he did not use the term due process, Confucius advanced ideas about the relationship between justice and procedures, which after all is the essence of due process. On close examination of his writings, it becomes clear, first, that his ideas and concepts are well-developed, and, secondly, are similar to the foundational ideas of western legal systems.
  • Y Yu, The Role of Business in Protecting Online Consumer, paper presented at United Nations UNCTAD e-commerce week 2018
    Why businesses have to be bothered to offer consumer protection and dispute resolution? what the incentives of businesses for consumer protection? “No trust, no business”, Dr Ying Yu of Oxford on business consumer relations @UNCTAD e-Commerce Week.
  • Y Yu, Consumer beyond Borders: Justice of E-commerce Consumer, paper presented at 1st Thinkers’ Summit of Trans-lingual Communication on Life: Space · Symbol · Wisdom, Beijing, 2016
  • Y Yu and D. J. Galligan, Due Process of Consumer Protection, paper presented at United Nations Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Competition Law and Policy, Fifteenth Session Geneva, October 2016
  • Y Yu, 'Consumer Movement in China' in S. Brobeck and R. N. Mayer (eds), Watchdogs and Whistleblowers A Reference Guide to Consumer Activism (ABC-CLIO 2015)
  • Y Yu and M. Shen, 'Consumer Protection as the “Open Sesame” that allows Alibaba to crush the Forty Thieves' (2015) The Journal of Antitrust Enforcement 228
    Following in the footsteps of the man whose name is associated with the Forty Thieves, and whose immortal words gave him access to the treasure, the 21st century’s Alibaba found his pot of gold in Chinese consumer with his ‘Open Sesame’: the protection that Alipay delivers to consumers. By offering an escrow service, Alipay accounts for approximately half of the online payment transactions in China, becoming the biggest threat to China’s banks in the state-backed financial industry. This article aims to discover how Alipay drives Alibaba’s growth by analysing current consumer protection issues in China, Alipay’s legal character and its consumer redress. It also examines why Chinese banks’ triple advantages, that is, state support, public trust, and monopoly status failed to help them secure their share in Chinese online market. China’s announcement of the final drafting of The Deposit Guarantee (Insurance) Scheme indicates that opening up the Chinese financial market completely is only a matter of time. How to win back the trust of consumers and compete with both domestic and foreign finance institutions are currently the biggest challenges facing the banks in China. Alibaba’s success demonstrates that harnessing consumer trust is the main source of its increasing market power.
    ISBN: 2050-0688
  • Y Yu, R. Simpson and M. Yu, Global Challenges for Consumer Protection (Wuhan University Press 2015)
    ISBN: ISBN 978-7-307-14953-3
  • Y Yu, Drafting ODR Legislation in China (Consultant report to SAIC (The State Administration for Industry & Commerce of the People’s Republic of China), Beijing 2014)
  • Y Yu, The First Amendment of China Consumer Protection Law, paper presented at International Law Association (ILA) 76th Biennial Conference, Washington, USA
  • Y Yu, The Revision of the UN Guidelines on Consumer Protection, paper presented at International Law Association (ILA) 76th Biennial Conference, Washington, USA
  • Y Yu, Best Practices in Consumer Redress, paper presented at United Nations, UNCTAD RPP Conference, Geneva
  • Y Yu, 'Distance Consumer Protection in China' in Y. Yu and others (eds), Justice of Consumer Rights (Wuhan University Press 2013)
  • Y Yu, 'Financial Consumer Protection in China' in Y. Yu and others (eds), Justice of Consumer Rights (Wuhan University Press 2013)
  • R. Simpson and Y Yu, 'The Evolution of Consumer Rights in International Law: a global perspective' in Y.Yu and others (eds), Justice of Consumer Rights (Wuhan University Press 2013)
  • Y Yu, 'Characterization of Third-party Payment Mode: Escrow in Distance Consumer Protection” “第三方支付之定性:试论托付法律关系' (2012) Journal of Law Application 《法律适用》 51
    ISBN: 1004-7884
  • Y Yu, 'Consumer Protection in Private International Law of China: Comment on Art.42 of New PIL Code” “《涉外民事关系法律适用法》第42条评析:我国国际私法对消费者之保护' (2011) Journal of Legal Comments 《法学评论》 65
    ISBN: 1004-1303
  • Y Yu, Contemporary Lex Mercatoria in China: A Hybrid Approach to Protect Distance Consumer , paper presented at 13th IACL Conference, London
  • Y Yu, 'Reform on Conflict Rules of Cross-Border Distance Consumer Contracts” “跨境远程消费者合同的冲突规范重构' (2010) Peking University Press, 《中国国际私法与比较法年刊》 155
  • Y Yu, 'Establishing Internet Escrow Legal System in China” “我国设立电子商务Escrow法律制度初探' (2009) Journal of Law Application 《法律适用》 36
    ISBN: 1004-7884
  • Y Yu, 'Jurisdiction,管辖权' in G. Q. Qu (ed), International Civil Procedure Law 《国际民事程序法》 (Jilin University Press 吉林大学出版社 2004)

Research programmes

Research Interests

Blockchain Policy and Law; Consumer protection law; Private international law; E-commerce; Financial services; Consumer redress and Dispute resolution (CDR, ADR and ODR); Confucius and Legal culture heritage

Research projects