【明報專訊】THE National People's Congress (NPC) has passed the Civil Code at the meeting just concluded. Second only to the Constitution in terms of legal status, the Civil Code systematically lays down the law on the various rights and duties of individuals and legal persons. It provides the legal foundations for resolving various kinds of civil disputes. If properly enforced, the legislation can result in fewer disputes and lower transaction costs. Still, whether the legal code can ensure social harmony and smoothen business operations will depend on its implementation by the administrations and courts at different levels. Furthermore, whether the people can use the law effectively to protect their own rights will depend on the effort to make the law part of common knowledge through public education.