Vanderbilt Law Review


Chao-Lung Yang

First Page



The Chinese legal system has recently aroused the interest of not a few Western scholars. But little has been written about the powers of the Chinese courts. It has been said-and it is true-that the Chinese legal system belongs to the Continental type. It will, therefore, be interesting to see in what way it is different from the Anglo-American system. Generally speaking, opinions may differ as to the fundamental features which distinguish the Continental legal system from the Anglo-American. But it may perhaps b e said that such features lie more in the sphere of adjective law and legal technique than in the sphere of pure substantive law. True it is that in the sphere of substantive law one may find innumerable differences between the so-called Anglo-American law and the so-called Continental law. But not many of them are really fundamental. The situation is quite different in the sphere of adjective law and legal technique. There the fundamental features of the one can be more easily put in contrast to those of the other. A study of the powers of the Chinese courts, which has much to do with adjective law and is not entirely unrelated to legal technique, will, therefore, make it easier for Anglo-American legal scholars to see where most of the differences between their own legal system and the Chinese legal system lie.