Project Details
Funding Scheme : General Research Fund
Project Number : 17624424
Project Title(English) : Appeals and Inequalities in China’s Plea Leniency System 
Project Title(Chinese) :  
Principal Investigator(English) : Prof He, Frank Xin 
Principal Investigator(Chinese) :  
Department : Department of Law
Institution : The University of Hong Kong
Co - Investigator(s) :
Prof SUN, Jin
Panel : Humanities, Social Sciences
Subject Area : Social and Behavioural Sciences
Exercise Year : 2024 / 25
Fund Approved : 1,040,000
Project Status : On-going
Completion Date :
Abstract as per original application
Few existing studies have been able to crack open the black box regarding guilty pleas. China’s plea leniency system, which allows defendants to negate their own agreement with sentencing recommendations and appeal against court decisions, provides an excellent window into this black box. In this project, we will first collect information from plea leniency appeal decisions, including the types of defendants, legal representatives, reasons for appeal, protests of the procuratorate, recommended sentences, and final decisions. Then, we will interview relevant lawyers and prosecutors in four areas representative of different levels of caseload, economic and institutional development, political pressures, and judicial professionalism. Our analysis of the quantitative and qualitative data will, for the first time, uncovers the impact of social inequalities in legal processes and outcomes. The findings will also allow us to explore how the procuratorates exercise their enormous power and the role of lawyers. The project will not only generate policy recommendations for reforms to the criminal procedure in China but also provide evidence for broader theoretical debates about the relationship between law, fairness, and efficiency, as plea-oriented criminal proceedings have swept the world.
Research Outcome
Layman's Summary of
Completion Report:
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