Feng Shi


As one of the most distinctive characteristics of English insurance law, the duty of utmost good faith is essentially stated in sections 17-20 of the Marine Insurance Act 1906. According to the statutory rules, both of the insurance parties must observe utmost good faith before the conclusion of an insurance contract. After one century of its application, both the judiciary and academics expressed their concerns in terms of its legislative defects and complexity in practice. Some developments have been made in recent judicial decisions and in statutory reform, e.g. the English Consumer Insurance (Disclosure and Representations) Act 2012, and Recommendations, Statutes and Explanations on the Amendments of Chinese Maritime Code of the People’s Republic of China. Therefore, debatable issues and law reform programs in both English and Chinese law are considered in the main body of this thesis. The examination is essentially based upon, (1) the materiality test of the concealed/misrepresented circumstances which can empower the injured party to rescind the insurance abinitio; (2) the duration of utmost good faith and specific issues; (3) the protective measures related to innocent misconduct; (4) the legal status of good faith and its application to fraudulent behaviour; and (5) whether the classic English utmost good faith doctrine can be extended to Chinese law. Therefore, the main objective of this thesis is to provide a comprehensive study of the current status and developments of the duty of utmost good faith in both English and Chinese law, which is of fundamental importance, not only at the negotiation stage, but also throughout the performance and at the claiming stage of an insurance contract. After identifying and analysing these crucial issues, this thesis concludes with some possible solutions.

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