News 12 Feb, 2013

Changes in the law affecting personal injury claims in China

The Managers are grateful to Messrs. Wang Jing & Co for their advice concerning a recent announcement by the PRC Supreme Court that the Rules for Trial of Cases over Compensation for Foreign-related Maritime Casualties 1992 (the 1992 Rules) have been abolished with effect from 18th January 2013.  Instead, the general provisions of the PRC Maritime Code and official interpretations by the PRC Supreme Court concerning compensation for personal injury claims will be applied. 

The most striking impact of the abolition of the 1992 Rules is that the maximum compensation limit of RMB 800,000 per person for injuries or loss of life arising from “foreign-related” maritime casualties will no longer apply. “Foreign-related” means an incident where a foreign element is involved, such as a collision between a foreign vessel and a Chinese fishing vessel. The changes therefore do not affect matters involving Chinese domestic interests only. The maximum compensation for claims in tort will now be subject to tonnage limitation provided in the PRC Maritime Code but this might obviously be of limited assistance.  These developments are likely to lead to increases in the quantum of compensation claims for personal injury and loss of life in China.   

For Chinese crew, compensation will continue to be assessed under the terms of  their employment contract, however increases in contractual compensation levels may also be expected.

Further advice of the effect of these changes and copies of the official interpretations of the PRC Supreme Court (in Chinese with English translation) are available from the Managers.