Legal Reform in Contemporary China
December 20th, 2022, 12:30 — 13:30
Zoom to be conducted in English
How and why has China undertaken legal reform in the last four decades? This talk introduces a positivist theory of legal reform and illustrates it by Chinese experience. Chinese legal reform is intentional change to improve the socialist legal order through legislation. Chinese legal reform is intentional because it is the deliberate undertaking of political leaders. As Chinese legal reform is designed change, it entails systematic, comprehensive methods of legislation. The scope of Chinese legal reform is bounded within the socialist legal tradition: while Chinese legal reform leads to legal innovations and renovations, the core features of the socialist legal tradition remain intact. The direction of Chinese legal reform is positive as it facilitates the development of law toward a better condition. The strategy for Chinese legal reform is incrementalist as the party-state formulates an overall plan for legal reform but implement the measures of legal reform over a long time. Chinese legal reform is carried out to bridge the gaps between existing positive law and the socialist commitments, between law and social-economic transition, and between Chinese law and transnational legal norms.
Ngoc Son Bui is Professor of Asian Laws at the Faculty of Law, University of Oxford, and a Fellow of St Hugh’s College, Oxford. He is a graduate of Vietnam National University-Hanoi (LLB; LLM) and The University of Hong Kong (PhD). He was previously an Assistant Professor at The Chinese University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law, and a research fellow at the Centre for Asian Legal Studies of the National University of Singapore Faculty of Law. He has also held visiting research positions at Harvard, Melbourne, and Tsinghua Law Schools. He works on comparative & constitutional law in Asia with a focus on the socialist and Confucian culture-influenced jurisdictions. He is the author of Constitutional Change in the Contemporary Socialist World (Oxford University Press 2020) and Confucian Constitutionalism in East Asia (Routledge 2016). He is writing a new monograph Legal Reform in the Contemporary Socialist World for Oxford University Press.
Professor Albert Hung-yee Chen, Cheng Chan Lan Yue Professor and Chair of Constitution Law, University of Hong Kong