Samuel Issacharoff, Bonnie and Richard Reiss Professor of Constitutional Law, and Cynthia Estlund, Catherine A. Rein Professor of Law, traveled to Beijing as part of an American Law Institute (ALI) delegation attending the Sino-U.S. International Conference on Tort Law, which was co-sponsored by the ALI and Renmin University of China School of Law. The event took place at Renmin University on July 11 and 12.

Attracting scholars, judges, and lawyers from all over China, the conference focused on two ALI projects, one involving products liability and the other on aggregate litigation. China is working to complete a tort code as part of a decade-long process to create a comprehensive civil code. Legal experts there differ sharply on which procedures to use in cases of mass harm, including recent events such as the tainted milk scandal and the collapse of poorly constructed schools in the Sichuan earthquake.

“One of the most remarkable parts of the conference was the candid and frequent disagreements among the Chinese participants,” Issacharoff said. The reporter for the ALI aggregate litigation project, he presented an overview at the conference of why consolidating mass cases is fair and efficient. Estlund gave a talk on the law of workplace injuries in the U.S.

“All the Americans were struck by the sophistication of Chinese lawmakers concerning developments around the world,” Issacharoff observed, adding that attendees asked many questions about the development of aggregate procedures in the U.S. and Europe.

Posted on July 28, 2009