Odd or Equivalent, Fussy or Unobservant: When American Law Meets its Chinese Counterpart Eye to Eye?: Through the Prism of Duty to Protect

Xiaoqian Hu, University of Turin


This essay is intended to investigate the similarities and differences between American and Chinese law. The issue being compared in this essay is “Duty to Protect”, which refers to the duty (if it existed) of the defendant to protect the victim from being injured by a third person.

Unlike many other essays which take a third person’s perspective throughout the entire investigation as if making a documentary film, this essay views and analyzes issues in one legal system through the lens of the other legal system. In the essay an American lawyer Mr. West and a Chinese lawyer Ms. Dong take a journey through the legal landscape of each other’s country and narrate what they have seen. At the end of the journey, Mr. West and Ms. Dong have a series of discussions on the oddities and parities in their discoveries.

The essay does not aim to be an encyclopedic coverage of the Duty to Protect rule in American and Chinese private law. Rather, it creates an interactive encounter of the two legal systems as represented by their lawyers at a venue named Duty to Protect cases. As a result of the encounter the essay seeks a mutual understanding of both legal systems.