Brooklyn Journal of International Law


Chunyan Ding


This article investigates the nature of the operation and the role of expert opinions in Chinese medical negligence litigation, drawing on content analysis of 3,619 medical negligence cases and an in-depth survey of judges with experience of adjudicating medical negligence cases. It offers three major findings: first, that both parties to medical negligence disputes show significant selection bias of medical opinions, as do courts when selecting court-appointed experts; second, expert opinions in medical negligence litigation demonstrate substantial adversarial bias; third, courts display very strong judicial deference to expert opinions in determining medical negligence liability. This article fills the methodological gap left by the existing literature because there has been no empirical discussion on expert opinions in Chinese civil litigation. Moreover, it has important implications for the ongoing reform of the medical negligence authentication mechanism proposed by the Chinese government. The article also sheds insights on the social, legal and institutional factors that contribute to selection bias, adversarial bias and judicial deference to expert opinions in the Chinese medical negligence litigation setting.