The United States Court for China: A Triumph of Local Law

154 Pages Posted: 28 Jan 2007

See all articles by Tahirih V. Lee

Tahirih V. Lee

Florida State University College of Law


A description of the court's jurisdiction, procedure, and application of substantive law is used to illustrate the thesis that local law exerts an inexorable force upon trial courts. The operation of the court and the cases it decided for the most part show, I argue, that those with the greatest familiarity with a problem have the most impact on the courts that are faced with that problem. This was the case at the United States Court for China despite the United States' efforts to maintain control over it and exclude local law from impact upon it. My aim is to invite a rethinking of the conventional position taken in scholarship on American legal history and scholarship on Chinese legal history that national law was superior, in many senses, to local law.

Suggested Citation

Lee, Tahirih Victoria, The United States Court for China: A Triumph of Local Law. Buffalo Law Review, Vol. 52, p. 923, 2004, FSU College of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 243, Available at SSRN:

Tahirih Victoria Lee (Contact Author)

Florida State University College of Law ( email )

425 W. Jefferson Street
Tallahassee, FL 32306
United States
850-644-3833 (Phone)
850-644-5487 (Fax)

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