Norwegian China Law Centre

Introductory course in Chinese law

The Faculty of Law in Bergen offers an introductory course in Chinese law.

Hongjie Man
The introductory course in Chinese Law is developed by associate Professor Hongjie Man. He is a very popular lecturer at his home university in Jinan.
André Kvalvågnes

Main content

The course in Chinese law has been developed by Associate Professor Hongjie Man, who is also Assistant Dean at Shandong University School of Law in Jinan. The course was arranged for the first time in 2016, and will be offered again autumn 2017. The lectures will be held in a concentrated period of three short weeks in September/October. Students will get an overview of the entire Chinese legal system, but the course focuses on civil law.

– For future Norwegian lawyers who perhaps envision working in China, or in Norwegian companies with business ties to China, it will be particularly useful to have some insight into Chinese contract law, business law and labour law. Obviously the course does not provide sufficient skills to handle legal conflicts in China independently, but we believe the introductory course will provide the necessary basis for collaborating with Chinese lawyers, says Vice Dean Bjørnar Borvik.

Immature legal system

Borvik has taught in China on several occasions, and has thus acquired some insight into Chinese society.

– China is an old country with long traditions. Nevertheless, the current legal system is quite immature, and this has the consequence that there are also significant developments taking place in Chinese law. We envision that everyone who wants knowledge about a legal system that is very different from our own will benefit greatly from taking this course, he says.

Important trade partner for Norway

The establishment of the introductory course in Chinese law is one of the elements in the Faculty of Law's extensive collaboration with several renowned Chinese universities. China's political ambitions on the global arena are clear, and the country's importance to the global economy is on the rise. China is also an important trade partner for Norway, and many Norwegian companies do business in China. The Faculty therefore wants more future Norwegian lawyers to have basic knowledge about Chinese law.

–Though our students are increasingly going to China on exchange, not everyone has this opportunity. We also want those who cannot themselves go to China to have the opportunity to gain this knowledge. The Faculty of Law in Bergen is the first in Norway to offer this type of course in Chinese law, and we anticipate that this course will also be of interest to our incoming students from other countries, says Borvik.

Popular lecturer

According to Borvik, Associate Professor Man is a very popular lecturer at his home university in Jinan. Synne Slettebø, one of the students who attended the indroductory course in 2016, can see why.

- It was a short and intensive period with lectures, but in return, these were very enlightening. The lecturer was very engaging, she says.

- Personally, I believe that one should choose this course if you are curious about other countries' history and legal system in general, and wanting to learn more about the Chinese development in particular. Then you also will be better able to see and assess your own contry's traditions, Slettebø says.