The Finnish China Law Center will host a guest lecture ‘Judicialization in Authoritarian Regimes: The Expansion of Powers of the Chinese Supreme People’s Court’ by Professor Björn Ahl from the University of Cologne.
Time: 29 November 2019, 10:15 – 11:45.
Venue: Room P545, 5th floor of the Porthania Building (Faculty of Law), University of Helsinki, Yliopistonkatu 3.
The lecture is open to everyone interested.
Over the past two decades, courts in China have undergone tremendous changes as they developed into more professional and efficient institutions for solving legal disputes. Whereas the literature has described the empowerment of Chinese courts as ‘intrinsically local’, we turn to the national level and explore how the development of the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) relates to the global phenomenon of a ‘judicialization of authoritarian politics’. Drawing on legal documents and secondary literature, the study argues that the SPC has extended its powers gradually and in a non-confrontational manner into the realms of other constitutional actors. The court has expanded its competences primarily through its legislative function and its substantial input into procedural law reforms. As the court serves core interests of the party, the empowerment appears rather instrumentalist and reversible. However, the SPC is in a position to promote its own agenda by indicating deference to core party goals and is in exchange granted certain leeway to pursue its institutional interests.
About the speaker
Björn Ahl is Professor and Chair of Chinese Legal Culture at the University of Cologne. His research in Chinese law focuses on constitutional development, in particular on judicial reforms and rights litigation. Chinese administrative law and the Chinese practice of public international law is a further focal point of his research. Moreover, he investigates issues of comparative law, legal transfers and legal culture, which are related to Greater China and Chinese legal development. He is President of the European China Law Studies Association.