The Power of the Supreme People's Court: Reconceptualizing Judicial Power in Contemporary China, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Power of the Supreme People's Court

Reconceptualizing Judicial Power in Contemporary China, 1st Edition

By Ding Qi


216 pages

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Hardback: 9780367189501
pub: 2019-08-30
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This book explores the recent development of the Supreme People’s Court of China, the world’s largest highest court. Recognizing that its approach to exercising power in an authoritarian context has presented a challenge to the understanding of judicial power in both democratic and non-democratic legal settings, it captures the essence of the Court through its institutional design as well as functional practice. It argues that regardless of the deep-seated political and institutional constraints, the Court has demonstrated a highly pragmatic interest in fulfilling its primary functions and prudently expanding judicial power in the context of reform-era China. This notwithstanding, it also discusses how the Court’s incompetence and reluctance to challenge the bureaucratism and politicization suggests that the call for an impartial and authoritative judicial power will continue to be jeopardized while the Court operates in the shadow of Party authority and lacks meaningful checks and balances. Drawing on the experience of the Court, this book reflects on some deep-rooted misunderstandings of legal development in China, providing a source of inspiration for reconceptualizing the internal logic of a distinct category of judicial power.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction;

2. The Power of the Court from an Institutional Perspective;

3. The Judicial Practice of the Court;

4. The Extrajudicial Practice of the Court;

5. The Power of the Supreme People’s Court: Rethinking and Reinterpretation;


About the Author

Dr. Ding Qi is a Senior Research Fellow at the Research Center for Legal Services of Xiamen University, China. Her research focuses on the recent development of the Chinese legal system and judicial reform, law and policy-making, alternative dispute resolutions (ADR) and online dispute resolutions (ODR) from a comparative perspective. Dr. Ding Qi also works as a legal consultant to study, test, and design online platforms and digital legal products for a wide range of court and government users in China.

About the Series

The Rule of Law in China and Comparative Perspectives

The Rule of Law in China and Comparative Perspectives

There is no doctrine more effective than the rule of law in portraying the complex transformation of Chinese society from the rule of men towards the rule of law - a process inaugurated in post-Mao China which is continuing to advance legal reforms to the present day. In other parts of the world, striving for the rule of law is also evident: countries in transition face a similar mission, while the developed democratic countries are forced to tackle new challenges in retaining the high benchmark of the rule of law that has been established.

Research on the legal system in China and in comparison with other countries in the framework of the rule of law covers broad topics of public and private law, substantive law and procedural law, citizens’ rights and law enforcement by courts. Based on this broad understanding of the rule of law, the series presents international scholarly work on modern Chinese law including: comparative perspectives, interdisciplinary, and empirical studies.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / General
LAW / Comparative
LAW / Constitutional
LAW / Courts
LAW / Public
LAW / Judicial Power
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / Civil Rights
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Government / Judicial Branch