Detecting the Influence of Chinese Guiding Cases: A Text Reuse Approach

Artificial Intelligence and Law, Forthcoming

University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 2023/28

41 Pages Posted: 31 Mar 2023 Last revised: 8 Apr 2023

See all articles by Benjamin Minhao Chen

Benjamin Minhao Chen

The University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law

Zhiyu Li

Durham Law School

David Cai

ETH Zürich

Elliott Ash

ETH Zürich

Date Written: March 20, 2023

Abstract

Socialist courts are supposed to apply the law, not make it, and socialist legality denies judicial decisions any precedential status. In 2011 the Chinese Supreme People’s Court designated selected decisions as Guiding Cases to be referred to by all judges when adjudicating similar disputes. One decade on, the paucity of citations to Guiding Cases has been taken as demonstrating the incongruity of case-based adjudication and socialist legality.

Citations are, however, an imperfect measure of influence. Reproduction of language uniquely traceable to Guiding Cases can also be evidence of their impact on judicial decision-making. We employ a local alignment tool to detect unattributed text reuse of Guiding Cases in local court decisions. Our findings suggest that the Guiding Cases are more consequential than commonly assumed, thereby challenging prevailing narratives about the antagonism of socialist legality to case law.

社会主义法制下的法院理应适用法律,而不是制定法律。社会主义法制并不承认法院的判决具有任何先例地位。中国最高人民法院在2011年遴选并公布了一些法院判决作为指导性案例,以供所有法官在裁决类似案件时参考。随后十年,地方法院对指导性案例的鲜少引用被认为是以案例为基础的审判与社会主义法制不相适应的表现。

然而,引用量并不是衡量指导性案例影响力的完美标尺。判决中对指导性案例里独特语言的再现也可以作为衡量指导性案例影响力的证据。因此,我们应用局部对齐工具来检测地方法院判决中对于指导性案例的未归因文本重用。我们的研究结果表明,指导性案例的影响力比普遍认为的要大,从而对主流学说有关社会主义法制抵触判例的说法提出质疑。

Keywords: socialist legality, precedent, courts, judicial decisionmaking

Suggested Citation

Chen, Benjamin Minhao and Li, Zhiyu and Cai, David and Ash, Elliott, Detecting the Influence of Chinese Guiding Cases: A Text Reuse Approach (March 20, 2023). Artificial Intelligence and Law, Forthcoming, University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 2023/28, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4393725 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4393725

Benjamin Minhao Chen

The University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law ( email )

Pokfulam Road
Hong Kong, Hong Kong
China

Zhiyu Li (Contact Author)

Durham Law School ( email )

Durham
United Kingdom

David Cai

ETH Zürich ( email )

LEE G104
Leonhardstrasse 21
Zurich
Switzerland

Elliott Ash

ETH Zürich ( email )

Rämistrasse 101
ZUE F7
Zürich, 8092
Switzerland

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