Project Details
Funding Scheme : Early Career Scheme
Project Number : 27603721
Project Title(English) : The Socialist Reception of Precedent: A Computational Analysis of Guiding Cases in the People’s Republic of China 
Project Title(Chinese) : 先例制度在社会主义法律体系的发展:中国指导性案例的量化计算分析 
Principal Investigator(English) : Dr Chen, Minhao Benjamin 
Principal Investigator(Chinese) :  
Department : Department of Law
Institution : The University of Hong Kong
Co - Investigator(s) :
Panel : Humanities, Social Sciences
Subject Area : Social and Behavioural Sciences
Exercise Year : 2021 / 22
Fund Approved : 696,320
Project Status : On-going
Completion Date : 31-8-2024
Abstract as per original application
Is the idea of precedent anathema to socialist legality? If so, is the aversion to case law merely superficial or is it instantiated by judicial practice and legal outcomes? And what do the answers to the questions tell us about how legal ideas morph and spread throughout the globe? This project explores the receptivity of socialist legal systems to the common law notion of precedent. In contrast to common law jurisdictions like the United States, the United Kingdom, and Hong Kong, socialist and civil law regimes do not recognize judicial opinions as establishing a legal rule for future cases. Under socialist legal ideology, judges administer the rules laid down by legislatures but do not pretend to expound them. Because judicial opinions are binding only on the disputing parties, cases do not alter the legal fabric. Recent legal developments in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the People’s Republic of China are blurring the divide between legal systems that are built on precedent and those that are not. Over the last decade, the supreme courts of the two socialist regimes have sought to interpret and unify national law by promulging cases that all judges must take reference from. In contrast to the Vietnam, however, reception of this innovation in China has been lukewarm. According to empirical studies conducted by researchers at the City University of Hong Kong, Peking University and Stanford University, Guiding Cases are very rarely cited in Chinese judgments. The divergence between China and Vietnam might be due to the former’s commitment to socialist legality and the latter’s estrangement from it. But geo-political stature and ambition may also furnish an explanation. We revisit conventional wisdom about the Chinese resistance to precedent by applying computational methods to study how the Guiding Cases shape legal disputes and discourse in the lower courts. This project traces the influence of Guiding Cases by looking beyond citations—overt references—to search for echoes of their reasoning—or implicit references—in the decisions of lower courts. It also explores the impact of a Guiding Case on the kinds of disputes that are channeled into the judicial system. The novel approach taken here promises not only to illuminate the practical operation of the Chinese legal system but also to contribute to a more sophisticated understanding of how legal concepts and values travel and how they are transformed.
先例的概念与社会主义法治相抵触吗?如果是这样,对判例法的排斥仅仅是表面上的呢?还是由司法实践和结果所导致的?这些问题的答案能告诉我们法律概念是如何在全球范围内演变和传播的吗?这个课题探讨和洞察社会主义法律体系对普通法先例概念的接受程度。与美国、英国和香港这样的普通法系辖区不同,社会主义和大陆法系不将司法判决看作是为未来的案件建立法律规则的一种正式的法律渊源。在社会主义法律意识形态下,法官执行运用立法机关制定的规则,但并不佯装对其进行延展。由于司法判决仅对争议双方具有约束力,因此案件并不会改变法律原有的结构和规则。 越南和中国最近的法律发展正在模糊建立在先例基础上的法律体系和没有先例的法律体系之间的界限。在过去的十年中,这两个社会主义国家的最高法院通过颁布指导性案例来解释和统一国家的法律,而这些案例是要求所有法官在类似案件中必须参照的。然而,与越南相比,中国法院对这一改革的采纳程度不高。从香港城市大学、北京大学和斯坦福大学的学者的实证研究结果来看,中国的判决中很少引用指导性案例。中国和越南之间的分歧可能是由于前者对社会主义法制的坚持,而后者则与之逐渐失和。但地缘相关的政治地位和追求也可以阐释这一差异的体现。 我们通过计算机科学来探讨最高法院公布的指导性案例是如何影响下级法院所处理的法律纠纷,从而重新审视之前有关地方法院抵触先例的研究结果的可靠性。该项目通过跟踪下级法院的判决中对指导性案例明示的引用或默示的参照,来量化指导性案例在地方法院审判实践中的影响。我们的课题也将探讨指导性案例对今后在法院起诉的纠纷类型所产生的影响。课题中所采用的机器学习这一前沿的研究方法不仅有望阐明中国的司法实践过程,而且有助于我们更深入地理解法律概念和价值是如何传播以及如何转化的。
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