Administrative Law and the Making of the First Da Qing Huidian

Late Imperial China, June 2016

Indiana Legal Studies Research Paper No. 346

69 Pages Posted: 1 Mar 2016 Last revised: 8 Jun 2016

Date Written: February 29, 2016


This article looks at the formation of the rules and regulations for the Qing administration beginning with the establishment of the six boards in 1631 and ending with the publication of the first Da Qing huidian, or administrative code, in 1690. It charts the administrative problems that arose throughout the early Qing, and how state-makers turned to the Ming Huidian for answers but consistently found it unable to provide solutions to Qing-specific problems. This led to calls to produce a Qing-specific Huidian, which would account for the emergent Qing-specific administrative structure and apparatus. The article shows that the Qing Hudian was not merely a copy of the Ming document of the same name; rather, it was a compilation of the regulations that developed in response to administrative and political problems over a sixty-year period, and did so in tandem with the emergence of the Qing state. The article also argues that the Qing had administrative law. The intent behind the regulations of the Huidian was to lay out enforceable procedural requirements that regulated administrative activity, as well as to set binding rules about the organizational structure of the state and the relations among actors and internal agencies.

Suggested Citation

Keliher, Macabe, Administrative Law and the Making of the First Da Qing Huidian (February 29, 2016). Late Imperial China, June 2016, Indiana Legal Studies Research Paper No. 346, Available at SSRN:

Macabe Keliher (Contact Author)

West Virginia University ( email )

WVU Dept History
1515 University Ave
Morgantown, WV West Virginia 26506
United States


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