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2010-2014, William Guo

Empirical Study of China's Case Guidance System

Have China's recent experiments with its new precedent system, the Case Guidance System, successfully promoted legal unity in the experimentation regions? What do China's experiments tell us about the law-making role of the judge in general?

Unlike Western countries, China refuses to recognize case law as a formal or informal source of law. Consequently, Chinese lower judges are not bound by earlier decisions of higher judges, and are free to decide similar cases differently. In order to promote uniform application of the law, China has recently been experimenting with a new precedent system called the ‘Case Guidance System'. Since 2005 higher judges in a number of Chinese provinces have been authorized to select certain cases as precedents guiding decisions in lower courts.

This project aims to discover how China's Case Guidance System functions in practice and whether it has contributed to a more uniform application of the law in the experimentation regions. The study also seeks to contribute to theories on the law-making role of the judge in general.

This project is financed by a NWO Mozaïek Grant and will be carried out by William Guo, a PhD fellow at the Centre, under the supervision of Prof. dr. Benjamin van Rooij.

This project falls under NCLC Line of Research no. 1.