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Australian Journal of Asian Law

Abstract from Volume 3 No 1 (2001)

Through a Glass Darkly: China, Transparency and the World Trade Organisation

Sarah Biddulph has a BA (Chinese Studies) and LLB from Sydney University. She is Chief Representative, Blake Dawson Waldron International Lawyers, Shanghai and Associate Director (China), Asian Law Centre, University of Melbourne.

The transparency of China's legal system is a significant issue as China seeks accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The author examines the three principles of transparency - public availability of laws, procedural fairness in decision making, and an independent system of judicial review - as they are implemented in the Chinese legal system. Particular attention is paid to the framework of administrative decision making, including the institutionalisation of broad administrative discretion, and to bureaucratic culture. The author argues that no country can claim to implement perfectly all the components of legal transparency and that the features of China's legal system that are at odds with the transparency ideal must be placed in the context of China's economic transition and its rapidly developing legal system.

(2001) 3(1) Asian Law 59

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