Module SXL-2506:
Intro to Chinese Legal System

Module Facts

Run by School of Law

10 Credits or 5 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Dr Wei Shi

Overall aims and purpose

The purpose of this module is to study the foundations of law and legal institutions in contemporary China and to examine the significant features of the established legal system from the middle of the nineteenth century onwards. It is an area of both theoretical and practical importance and one in which a substantial body of case law has developed in China. Students should have a good understanding of the Chinese legal system, and this understanding will also give them a better understanding of the bases of contemporary Chinese law and legal system in their concurrent or later studies.

Course content

This module explores, inter alia, the principle features of contemporary Chinese legal tradition, and the Chinese leadership's evolving policies towards rule of law, constitutional and government structure, elections and governance, sources of law, legal enforcement and dispute resolutions.

The module shall address the following three layers of Chinese legal system:

  1. The first part of the module aims to help students understand socially and contextually the conceptions of law and rule of law in China;
  2. The second part provides an overview of general structure of China’s legal system such as sources of law, the changing judicial system, dispute resolution and legal profession;
  3. The third part focuses on specific aspects of Chinese substantive law, such as, but not restrict to, Chinese constitutional law, administrative law, contract, property law, commercial law, environmental law, labour law.

Assessment Criteria

good

To achieve an Upper Second Class (B) grade, the assessment must:

• Demonstrate strong knowledge and understanding of most of the area of law, including familiarity with relevant case law, legislation, academic debates and any recent or anticipated developments. Be able to identify most legal issues and apply relevant law. • Demonstrate evidence of background study, using appropriate sources, including case law, legislation and academic commentary such as journal articles, law books and authoritative reports. • Be well structured, including the coherent development of arguments and the use of an introduction and conclusion, and focussed on the question asked, including the ability to determine what is relevant and the omission of superfluous information/material. • Contain coherently presented arguments, which are based on appropriate research and legal analysis. • Be mostly free from substantive legal errors. • Include some elements of original interpretation, including depth of analysis and the ability to present arguments based on sound legal reasoning. • Be presented to high standards with accurate communication, including the use of language and grammar, layout of the text, footnote referencing, bibliography and adherence to the stipulated word limit.

B+ grade: • Exceeds expectations for some of the above criteria; • Demonstrates command of the subject matter, but with some gaps in knowledge; • Incorporates some original ideas or arguments.

B grade: • Meets all of the above criteria; • Demonstrates strong factual knowledge and understanding; • Ideas or arguments are well-presented but few are original.

B- grade • Meets most but not all of the above criteria; • Demonstrates strong factual knowledge with minor weaknesses in understanding; • Most but not all of the ideas or arguments are well-presented and few are original.

excellent

To achieve a First Class (A) grade, the assessment must:

• Demonstrate comprehensive knowledge and detailed understanding of the area of law, including familiarity with relevant case law, legislation, academic debates and any recent or anticipated developments. Be able to identify all legal issues and apply relevant law. • Demonstrate extensive background study as appropriate to the assessment method, using appropriate sources, including case law, legislation and academic commentary such as journal articles, law books and authoritative reports. • Be well structured, including the coherent development of arguments and the use of an introduction and conclusion, and highly focussed on the question asked, including the ability to determine what is relevant and the omission of superfluous information/material. • Contain logically presented and defended arguments, which are based on appropriate research and legal analysis. • Be completely free from substantive legal errors. • Include significant elements of original interpretation, including depth of analysis and the ability to present arguments based on sound legal reasoning. • Be presented to very high standards with very accurate communication, including the use of language and grammar, layout of the text, footnote referencing, bibliography and adherence to the stipulated word limit.

A* grade: • Exceeds expectations for most of the above criteria; • Demonstrates complete command of the subject matter; • Incorporates highly original ideas or arguments. An A+ grade: • Exceeds expectations for some of the above criteria; • Demonstrates complete command of the subject matter; • Incorporates highly original ideas or arguments.

A grade • Meets all of the above criteria; • Demonstrates command of the subject matter, with only very minor gaps in knowledge; • Incorporates mostly original ideas or arguments.

A- grade: • Meets most but not all of the above criteria; • Demonstrates command of the subject matter, with some gaps in knowledge; • Incorporates mostly original ideas or arguments.

threshold

To achieve a Third Class (D) grade, the assessment must:

• Demonstrate a very basic knowledge and understanding of some of the key case law/legislation and principles in the area of law. Be able to identify some legal issues and apply relevant law. • Demonstrate some, if only limited, evidence of background study, using appropriate case law and legislation. • Attempt to present an answer on the question asked, with only some irrelevant material and weaknesses in structure. • Attempt to present relevant and coherent arguments, which are based on appropriate legal analysis. • Not contain a large number of substantive legal errors. • Demonstrate an attempt to avoid major weaknesses in presentation and accuracy, albeit with some errors in referencing, spelling and grammar, or bibliography present.

D+ grade: • Exceeds expectations for some of the above criteria; • Demonstrates moderate factual knowledge with some weaknesses in understanding; • A few ideas/arguments are presented but with weaknesses in logic/presentation.

D grade: • Meets all of the above criteria; • Demonstrates limited factual knowledge with several weaknesses in understanding; • Very few ideas/arguments are presented.

D- grade: • Meets most but not all of the above criteria; • Demonstrates limited factual knowledge with many weaknesses in understanding; • Very few ideas/arguments are presented and with errors in logic/presentation.

C- to C+

To achieve a Lower Second Class (C) grade, the assessment must:

• Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of key areas/principles in the area of law, including familiarity with the essential case law, legislation and academic debates in the area. Be able to identify the key legal issues and apply relevant law. • Demonstrate some, if only limited, evidence of background study, using appropriate sources, including some relevant case law, legislation and academic commentary such as journal articles, law books and authoritative reports. • Be focussed on the question asked, with only some irrelevant material and weaknesses in structure. • Attempt to present some relevant and logical arguments. • Not contain a large number of substantive legal errors. • Be free of major weaknesses in presentation and accuracy, including the use of language and grammar, layout of the text, footnote referencing, bibliography and adherence to the stipulated word limit.

C+ grade: • Exceeds expectations for some of the above criteria; • Demonstrates strong factual knowledge with some weaknesses in understanding; • Ideas/arguments are limited but are well presented.

C grade: • Meets all of the above criteria; • Demonstrates moderate factual knowledge with some weaknesses in understanding; • Ideas or arguments are limited with weaknesses in logic/presentation.

C- grade: • Meets most but not all of the above criteria; • Demonstrates moderate factual knowledge with some weaknesses in understanding; • Ideas or arguments are limited with weaknesses in logic/presentation.

Learning outcomes

  1. Identify and evaluate the developments in the Chinese legal system in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, including the impact of Western influence and social and political changes.

  2. Show an awareness of the sensitivity of interaction between Chinese Law and Chinese politics, and the law-making process.

  3. Explain and discuss the general features of the Chinese legal system such as the sources of law, its ethical and moral foundations, the administration of justice through courts and the judicial procedure.

  4. Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of some of the developments and continuities in mainland Chinese law during the Republican and Communist periods.

  5. Appreciate and provide examples of the links between law, culture and society in China.

  6. Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the historical foundation of the Chinese legal system and its development and evolution since the middle of the nineteenth century.

  7. Provide a general overview of Chinese substantive law, such as administrative law, contract, property law.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
EXAM Final Examination 100

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Hours
Seminar

One two-hour seminar per week. Teaching methods include class discussion, power-point presentations and other audio-visual materials.

20
Private study 80

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • Develop the ability to analyse complex legal issues, set against the background of the political, social, economic or cultural contexts in which they may arise

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: