The Twenty-fourth lecture "How to Treat the Civil Code without 'General Principles of Debt Law'" was successfully held in Beijing Normal University, Zhuhai on the afternoon of November 17th, 2021. This lecture was given by Professor Zhang Gu of Guanghua Law School of Zhejiang University, Associate Professor Cui Wenxing of Law School of Beijing Normal University, and Mr. Niu Zihan of Rule of Law Development Research Center of Beijing Normal University. More than 150 students of bachelor's degree, master's degree and doctor's attended the lecture.
Before the lecture started, the host, Mr. Niu Zihan, solemnly introduced the keynote speaker Professor Zhang Gu to the students. Professor Zhang Gu is a professor and doctoral tutor in Guanghua Law School of Zhejiang University, and his teaching and research also covers civil law and commercial law.
In the lecture, Professor Zhang Gu first pointed out that "after the implementation of the General Principles of Civil Law for 20 years, the property law has made a positive result, on the contrary, the creditor's rights established in the General Principles of Civil Law have failed to become a part of the code", and introduced the criticism of domestic and foreign scholars that there is no "General Principles of Debt Law" in the civil code, the argument about whether to choose debt compilation or contract compilation in the process of compiling the civil code, and the argument of scholars about the independent compilation of personality rights objectively weakened the choice between debt compilation and contract compilation, which may be more beneficial. Professor Zhang Gu believes that although the Civil Code does not directly stipulate the general principles of debt law, the general principles of contract compilation have the structure of general principles of debt law to a certain extent, and also play the function of general principles of debt law. Secondly, Professor Zhang Gu asked why there was no "General Principles of Debt Law" from the perspective of legislative history. Professor Zhang pointed out that, on the one hand, after 1981, the Economic Contract Law, the Foreign-related Economic Contract Law and the Technical Contract Law formed a "three-legged stand", and it was not until 1999 that they were unified by the Contract Law. In the fourth drafting of the civil law in 2002, in view of the fact that the Contract Law has only been applied for three years, the cost of replacing the contract compilation with the debt compilation is not too great, so the legislature decided to keep the contract law and make it a contract compilation. In 2017, due to the tight time and heavy task, it is actually difficult for the legislature to revise the compilation of the specific provisions of the Civil Code. Instead, it is conservative to maintain the compilation of contracts according to the purpose of compilation and revision, which should actually be read as the compilation of "debts of contracts". On the other hand, the General Principles of Civil Code doesn't define tort as "creditor's rights", but it is placed in the chapter of civil liability. For a long time, people's interpretation of the General Principles of Civil Code has not been properly done, so the fallacy that "the tort result is not debt but civil liability" is prevalent. In addition, people exaggerate the function of tort liability inappropriately, and regard it as the last means of safeguarding rights, which must be taken as the temple army of the code. These views certainly increase the difficulty of choosing debt compilation.
Finally, Professor Zhang said that the Civil Code adopted debt compilation, which is of course very good. Not using debt compilation in the name of debt compilation does not mean that there is no debt, and it is not absolutely unacceptable. If you think deeply, there may even be unexpected effects of system reform. The general rules of contract compilation, through "pointing", only revealed the hidden "three-level" hidden structure of the original Contract Law. The so-called three-level structure, the first level is the general provisions on debt relations; The second level is the common rules about contractual debt relationship; The third level is about the common rules of bilateral contracts.
At the end of the lecture, Professor Zhang encouraged the students to study the part of the contract and then study the whole civil law. At the same time, it enlightens us that civil law should let a hundred flowers blossom and be eclectic. When a certain civil law system and civil law ideology are absolutely dominant, we should not lose the spirit of criticism and reflection, but also have the spirit of freedom to think independently. At this point, this lecture was successfully concluded with warm applause from the students.