Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Law

Research Student: Alison (Lu) Xu

Party Autonomy in Proprietary Rights of Movables – from the perspective of conflict of laws

Photo of Alison (Lu) Xu

The aim of this research is to explore different application of party autonomy in China and UK regarding movable property.

In this regard, it will first address to the concept of party autonomy in conflict of laws. Three aspects will be considered as possible reasons for its application in respect of proprietary rights: the theoretical merits of the principle of party autonomy as a choice of law rule, its distinctive attractions in context of contractual obligations and the recently developed application in non-contractual obligations. 

Then it will examine address to the transformation of choice of law rules for proprietary rights. In this respect, the thesis will consider the significance of situs as the primary connecting factor in determining proprietary choice of law, and also the challenges it faces under modern business transaction forms. The suitability of both situs rule and party autonomy principle in different situations may explain for the possible accommodation of party autonomy as valuable supplement to the traditional situs rule.

An examination will be conducted at the level of choice of law methodology, particularly including an analysis of choice of law rule configuration. Consideration shall be given to the respective value of party autonomy and lex situs rule as different choice of law approaches and how they develop separately in connection with newly emerging transaction modes.

Finally, at a practical level, the role of party autonomy under current English conflicts of law rules will be further explored. It is necessary in this examination to consider the common law as well as the European law backdrop to the current rules. Then the thesis will consider the new China Applicable Law Act and address how this might be reformed in future.


I obtained a LLB from Huazhong University of Science and Technology in 2011, LLM from China University of Political Science and Law in 2014.

From 2011 to 2014, I was an editor of Graduate Law Review, an academic-oriented journal sponsored by CUPL.

I have published three articles during my Masters programme. They are written in Chinese, and available through CSSCI (Chinese Social Sciences Citation Index):

• On the Legal Assimilation of Foreign-related Civil and Commercial Relationship under the Context of Globalization

• On the Restrictions of Autonomy in the Application of Laws over the Real Rights of Movables

• Implications of Flag of Convenience on the Private International Law and Applicable Strategy

My research project is funded by CSC-UoL scholarship.

What makes me passionate about my subject?

I have been interested in research relating to this topic for a long time. This topic seems particular attractive to me for its complexity. It is an intellectual challenge of doing the research, and that is the root of my passion.

What are my plans once I have completed my PhD?

I would like to either continue an academic career working in a research based university, or consider applying for judgeship in China.

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