New Courts in Asia: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

New Courts in Asia

1st Edition

Edited by Andrew Harding, Penelope Nicholson


444 pages | 2 B/W Illus.

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This book discusses court-oriented legal reforms across Asia with a focus on the creation of ‘new courts’ over the last 20 years. Contributors discuss how to judge new courts and examine whether the many new courts introduced over this period in Asia have succeeded or failed. The ‘new courts’ under scrutiny are mainly specialist courts, including those established to hear cases involving intellectual property disputes, bankruptcy petitions, commercial contracts, public law adjudication, personal law issues and industrial disputes.

The justification of the trend to ‘judicialize’ disputes has seen the invocation of Western-style rule of law as necessary for the development of the market economy, democratization, good governance and the upholding of human rights. This book also includes critics of court building who allege that it serves a Western agenda rather than serving local interests, and that the emphasis on judicialization marginalises alternative local and traditional modes of dispute resolution.

Adopting an explicitly comparative perspective, and contrasting the experiences of important Asian states - China, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei, Thailand and Indonesia - this book considers critical questions including:

  • Why has the ‘new-court model’ been adopted, and why do international development agencies and nation-states tend to favour it?
  • What difficulties have the new courts encountered?
  • How have the new courts performed?
  • What are the broader implications of the trend towards the adoption of judicial solutions to economic, social and political problems?

Written by world authorities on court development in Asia, this book will not only be of interest to legal scholars and practitioners, but also to development specialists, economists and political scientists.


'The Routledge series has brought important issues of legal and social change in Asia to the fore, and this book expands upon the corpus… I commend New Courts in Asia to readers and look forward to what the series yet has to offer.' - Nick Cheesman; Asian Criminology (2012).

Table of Contents

List of contributors Preface 1. New Courts in the Asia-Pacific Region: Law, Development and Judicialization - Andrew Harding and Pip Nicholson PART I: Introducing Economic Courts in Asia 2. Legitimacy and the Vietnamese Economic Courts - Pip Nicholson with Minh Duong 3. Reading the Tea Leaves in the Indonesian Commercial Court: A Cautionary Tale, But for Whom? - David K. Linnan PART II: Introducing Intellectual Property Courts in Asia 4. The Intellectual Property High Court of Japan - Shigenori Matsui 5. Specialized Intellectual Property Courts in the People’s Republic of China: Myth or Reality? - Connie Carter PART III: Constructing Constitutional Courts 6. A Turbulent Innovation: the Constitutional Court of Thailand, 1998–2006 - Andrew Harding 7. The Constitutional Court and the Judicialization of Korean Politics - Tom Ginsburg 8. Institutional Choice and The New Indonesian Constitutional Court - Hendrianto 9. The Indonesian Human Rights Court - Mark Cammack PART IV: Assembling Administrative Courts 10. ‘Shopping Forums’: Indonesia’s Administrative Courts - Adriaan Bedner 11. The Genealogy of the Administrative Courts and the Consolidation of Administrative Justice in Thailand - Peter Leyland 12. Compromising Courts and Harmonizing Ideologies: Mediation in the Administrative Chambers of the People’s Courts of the People’s Republic of China - Michael Palmer PART V: Analysing Anti-Graft Courts 13. The Politics of Indonesia’s Anti-Corruption Court - Benjamin H. Tahyar 14. The Philippines’ Sandiganbayan: Anti-Graft Courts and the Illusion of Self-Contained Anti-Corruption Regimes - Raul C. Pangalangan PART VI: Setting up Special Courts 15. Malaysian Royalty and the Special Court - H. P. Lee 16. Informed by Ideology: A Review of the Court Reforms in Brunei Darussalam - Ann Black 17. Courts in Xinjiang: Institutional Capacity in China’s Periphery - Pitman B. Potter Part VII: Juries, Regulation and Renovation in Japanese Courts 18. Japan’s New Criminal Trials: Origins, Operations and Implications - Kent Anderson and David T. Johnson 19. Dollars to Donuts: Japanese Courts and Corporate Accountability - Veronica L. Taylor Index

About the Editors


Constitutional Landmarks in Malaysia: the First 50 Years (2007)

Access to Environmental Justice: a Comparative Study (2007)

Comparative Law in the 21st Century (2002)

Law, Government and the Constitution in Malaysia (1996)


Pip Nicholson and Sarah Biddulph (eds) (2008) Examining Practice and Interrogating Theory: Comparative Legal Studies in Asia, Brill, Leiden (Hardback) US$148.00

Nicholson, P. (2007), Borrowing Court Systems: The Experience of Socialist Vietnam, Martinus Nijhoff, Leiden (Hardback) US$194.00

Nicholson, P. and Gillespie, J. (eds.) (2005), Asian Socialism & Legal Change: The Dynamics of Vietnamese and Chinese Reform, Asia-Pacific Press, Canberra (Hardcopy) AUS$42.00

About the Series

Routledge Law in Asia

The series examines legal system development and rule of law in Asia, using Western legal systems as comparison points. Given the great diversity among legal systems, the purpose is to understand how rule of law is conceived and implemented, and the role of law and the legal system with respect to economic growth, political reform and democratization, the protection of human rights, geopolitical stability and the engagement of Asian countries with other countries in the international arena. The project also addresses the Euro-American centricism of comparative law by replacing outdated stereotypes with empirically grounded, in-depth and up-to-date analyses of Asian legal systems across a wide range of issues and areas of law.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / General
LAW / Courts
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General