Judicial Independence in China: Lessons for Global Rule of Law Promotion (Introduction)
JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE IN CHINA: LESSONS FOR GLOBAL RULE OF LAW PROMOTION, Cambridge University Press, 2010
22 Pages Posted: 27 Jan 2010
Date Written: January 26, 2010
This is the introduction to Judicial Independence in China: Lessons for Global Rule of Law Promotion (Cambridge University Press, 2010), the first book length treatment of judicial independence in China. This chapter provides a summary of the other chapters and the main findings. Key issues include the suitability of the rule of law promotion industry’s approach centered on “international best practices” as the basis for judicial reforms in China; the potential, and limits, of judicial independence in China; the lessons for and from other authoritarian states; and what China’s reforms tell us about the relationship between independent courts and economic growth, corruption and good governance. The chapter ends with a discussion of recent debates about the role of the judiciary in China and the Supreme Court’s Third Five-Year Agenda for Judicial Reform, the first under the controversial new Supreme Court President Wang Shengjun.
The volume adopts an interdisciplinary approach that places China’s judicial reforms and the struggle to enhance the professionalism, authority and independence of the judiciary within a broader comparative and developmental framework. Contributors provide new theoretical perspectives and empirical studies; and discuss civil, criminal, and administrative cases in urban and rural courts.
This volume as a whole challenges the conventional wisdom about judicial independence in China and its relationship to economic growth, rule of law, human rights protection and democracy. It contributes to several fields, including law and development and the promotion of rule of law and good governance; globalization studies; neo-institutionalism and studies of the judiciary; the emerging literature on judicial reforms in authoritarian regimes; Asian legal studies; and comparative law more generally.
Keywords: judicial studies, judicial independence, rule of law, law and development, China, comparative law, authoritarianism, democratization, human rights
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