Professor John Capowski Discusses China’s Efforts to Reform Evidence Law
Web Editor - Published: February 10, 2008
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On Thursday, February 7th, Professor John Capowski traveled down from Harrisburg to address faculty and staff at the Delaware campus about his experience at "The International Symposium on Evidence Law and Forensic Science: International Perspectives and the Chinese Experience" in Beijing, China. Sponsored by the China University of Political Science and Law, the conference brought Chinese evidence law scholars together with evidence experts from the United Kingdom and Australia as well as Professor Capowski and Northwestern Professor Ronald Allen.

Professor Capowski discussed trends that he noted from the conference as well as the four-hour consultation meeting that he and Professor Allen had with the committee responsible for drafting China's first evidence code. He described China as a civil law country that relies mostly on affidavits and other documents to try cases, noting, “Only one percent to five percent of trials in China involve witnesses.” Several faculty members were curious why China would be interested in United States evidentiary law given that the U.S. legal system is common law based. Professor Capowski noted that “A number of Chinese lawyers have studied in the United States, and U.S. evidentiary rules have had a big impact on them.”

capowski china3“Practices are not uniform yet, but they are to be uniform,” said Professor Capowski in relation to Chinese codification efforts. During their meeting with the committee, Professors Capowski and Allen discussed first English translation of the draft code. The presentation concluded with some of the Professor’s observations about China as well as a slide show of photos from his trip, and Professor Capowski said, “China bears a lot of resemblance to the United States in the early 1900s.”