Hi, I am Anneli Sarkanen, your new SLA Legal Division International Relations Committee Chair. I am an Information Officer at Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP in London. I wish to thank my predecessor Sara Batts, who was chair of this committee in 2012.
This month saw the start of the new lunar year and the Year of the Snake, with millions of people across Asia celebrating with firework displays and family gatherings.
It seems predictions for the year can be elusive and the last two snake years (2001 and 1989) have seen major events take place in the world. To help with any uncertainty this year may bring, the SLA Legal Division International Relations Committee has put together a list of resources to make researching Chinese law less haphazard.
This is brought to you with great thanks to our Legal Division colleague Dave Lyons, who is working as an academic librarian for the Beijing Centre for Chinese Studies.
EN = English language site; ZH = Chinese.
Laws & Regulations:
AsianLII: http://www.asianlii.org/cn/legis/cen/laws/ EN
Laws of the People’s Republic of China. This database contains selected Chinese legislation and related documents that have been translated into English. It includes: laws, regulations, pronouncements, resolutions, notices, measures, rules, decisions, decrees, principles, provisions, announcements, procedures, official replies and circulars (in interim, current and/or planned versions). Some warning: All translations are unofficial and it says it was last updated in March 2008.
Hong Kong Legal Information Institute: http://www.hklii.hk/eng/databases.html EN
HKLII is a free, independent, non-profit internet facility providing access to legal information relating to Hong Kong, including cases and legislative materials.
ChinaLaw: http://www.chinalaw.gov.cn/article/english/# EN
The official English page of the Legislative Affairs Office, but the translation quality is a bit suspect and more importantly the site has not been updated since 2007. The Chinese version (http://www.chinalaw.gov.cn/ ZH), however, is up-to-date.
China Law Translate: http://chinalawtranslate.com/ EN
This website was conceived by Jeremy Daum, a research fellow at the Yale-China Law Center and is a crowd-sourcing project to provide translations of Chinese legislation into English and vice versa. The site has yet to really get going but is an interesting concept. Naturally, as it is a wiki-style project, there is no note about the quality of the translation.
en.pkulaw.com http://en.pkulaw.cn/ EN
This website comes from Chinalawinfo Co, an provider of legal information, established by Peking University on the basis of its Legal Information Center. Access to English-language versions of “all the relevant documents for your legal needs in China”. There are notes and links in the Chinese text, but only English translations are provided for the main contents, not the notes. Contains laws and regulations (all laws adopted by the National People’s Congress from 1949 to present), case law database of typical judicial decisions approved and published by the Supreme People’s Court or the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, Tax treaties, Gazettes (title index only) and legal news. Subscription required for access to certain content.
Law Lib: http://www.law-lib.com/law/ ZH
Donald Clarke of George Washington University Law School says “This is a quite comprehensive free database of Chinese laws and regulations. It includes a great deal of local legislation, departmental regulations, and Supreme People’s Court interpretations. The main drawback is that it is not full-text-searchable; you can search by terms in the title or the issuing body. A nice feature is that you can separate central from local legislation in your results.”
China Law Reference Service: http://www.clrsonline.com/ EN
According to NYU Law Library, “Chinese legal materials in English at Baker & McKenzie. It is more a digest than a full-text database. CLRS contains news on the latest PRC regulations relevant to business, an advanced search facility that allows searching by keyword, year, category, region and translation.” Subscription required.
China Law & Practice: http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?RQT=318&VName=PQD&clientid=9269&pmid=52143 EN
NYU Law says: “The printed publication is known as “Asia Law and Practice”. Publishes news, a law digest, business law bulletins, archives, and lists of events.” Subscription required.
Ceilaw: http://www.ceilaw.com.cn/ ZH
NYU Law says: “A fee-based service in the vernacular provided by the State Info Center, a governmental agency.”
Research Guides & Online Resource Lists:
Internet Chinese Legal Research Center: http://law.wustl.edu/chinalaw/ EN/ZH
Wei Luo’s guide of online law resources for PRC, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.
Library of Congress: http://www.loc.gov/law/help/guide/nations/china.php EN
The Library of Congress has some helpful links, including:
- Donald Clarke’s list of online resources, including LawInfoChina, Law-Lib.com, and other more general resources: http://docs.law.gwu.edu/facweb/dclarke/public/Chinese_Law_Resources.html EN
- A very helpful bilingual guide to the government’s departments, structure, and personnel. Maintained by the Chinese government: http://www.prcgov.org/ EN/ZH
SLA Legal Division International Relations Committee