Institutional Purposes of Chinese Courts: Examining Judicial Guiding Cases in China Through a New Analytic Framework
59 Pages Posted: 28 Jun 2017 Last revised: 26 Jul 2017
Date Written: June 27, 2017
This Article seeks to answer the question “what Chinese courts, as institutions are looking for” through empirically examining institutional purposes in judicial Guiding Cases published by the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) in China. This article has proposed a new analytic framework to interpret institutional purposes of courts in People’s Republic of China (PRC) authoritarian context. Under such new analytic framework, we have divided institutional purposes of Chinese courts into self/institutional interests and preferring values/public policies.
Contrast with hyper-political cases, where PRC courts focus on protecting self-interest and institutional integrity of the courts as third-party dispute resolving institution, in judicial guiding cases system we have validated our theoretical model regarding institutional purposes of PRC courts. One the one hand, in a number of judicial guiding cases, we have identified vital self-interests of judges, and courts’ institutional interest to increase professionalism to attain more power and enhance socio-politico status. On the other hand, some other guiding cases reflect strong institutional tendency of Chinese courts, both the SPC and lower courts, to pursue traditional, activist and restraining values.
In short, this article not only seeks to a new empirical way to examine PRC court in the most sophisticated authoritarian environment in the world, but also aims to contribute to our understanding regarding institutional characters of judiciaries by testing general theory via judicial behaviors and judicial politics in China’s context.
Keywords: Institutional Purposes, Chinese/PRC Judiciary, Authoritarian Court, Supreme People’s Court Guiding Cases
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