Recent Judicial Reforms in China: Circular Reforms or a Breakthrough for the Chinese Judiciary?

Date: 2 Nov 2017
Location: Room 318, Education 2 (ED2), La Trobe University, VIC 3086, Australia

This presentation examines judicial reforms that were initially launched in 1999. It starts with an analysis of the fundamental problems and difficulties that impeded judicial reforms over the past two decades or so. This will be followed by a careful analysis of reform measures and local pilot programs introduced since 2013/2014, with a focus on the political barriers to fundamental reforms that are directed towards genuine, though limited, independent adjudication in China. While acknowledging that the present reforms do have the potential to break up the circular reforms and break through some fundamental barriers to deep reforms, it will be argued that judicial independence—in the sense of the judiciary being an independent force in the political and constitutional scheme of checks and balances—is not attainable in the political environment in China today or indeed in the near future.

About the speaker

Dr Jianfu CHEN is Professor of Law, School of Law, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia. Professor Chen is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law.

Professor Chen specialises in international and comparative law, international business and trade law, human rights law, globalisation and law, and Chinese law. He has published (authored, co-authored and co-edited) more than 20 books and over 80 book chapters and journal articles.

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