Issues in Chinese Law

Subject LAWS30002 (2011)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2011.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2011:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable


Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: One 2-hour seminar per week.
Total Time Commitment: 120 hours.

Legal Method and Reasoning; Principles of Public Law; Torts; Legal Theory or in each case their equivalents.

Corequisites: None.
Recommended Background Knowledge: None.
Non Allowed Subjects: None.
Core Participation Requirements: For the purposes of considering requests for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills, and Assessment Requirements of this entry.

The University is dedicated to providing support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Mr Andrew Godwin


Melbourne Law School Student Centre
Tel: +61 3 8344 4475
Subject Overview:

This subject is designed to enable students to appreciate fundamental features of Chinese legal systems. The course has three themes. We first examine the distinctive nature and operation of Chinese law, focusing on the PRC legal system. We consider the common claim that law 'doesn't matter' in China. The second theme of the subject is the role of law in China's economic reform process. The final theme is the legal relationship between mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. These themes are developed by considering particular areas of law, such as criminal law, contract law, constitutional and administrative law, human rights, and labour and environmental law. Significant class time will be devoted to discussing how to research and write a paper on Chinese law.

Objectives: This course aims to:
  • Examine the place of law in the three Chinese societies of the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan and Hong Kong;
  • Introduce students to debates about the rule of law in China, and the connection between law and political and economic reform;
  • Explore the tensions surrounding the reintegration of Hong Kong into the PRC, and the relationship between the PRC and Taiwan;
  • Assist students to develop their legal research and writing capabilities.
  • 75% class attendance (hurdle)
  • 5,000 word essay (100%) due first day of exam period. The topic for the essay will be chosen by each student in consultation with the course teachers. Topics must be agreed by the end of the fourth week of classes. Students’ essays will be expected to reflect an awareness of class discussions.
Prescribed Texts:

Printed materials will be available from the Melbourne Law School.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completion of the subject, students should have developed the following generic skills:

  • Attitudes towards knowledge that include valuing truth, openness to new ideas and ethics associated with knowledge creation and usage;
  • The capacity for close reading and analysis of a range of sources;
  • The capacity for critical and independent thought and reflection;
  • The capacity to solve problems, including through the collection and evaluation of information;
  • The capacity to communicate, both orally and in writing;
  • The capacity to plan and manage time;
  • Intercultural sensitivity and understanding.

In addition, on completion of the subject, students should have developed the following skills specific to the discipline of law:

  • Locate and critically evaluate research materials on Chinese legal systems;
  • Analyse an issue in Chinese law, with particular reference to comparative research methodologies;
  • Structure and compose a research paper around an aspect of Chinese legal systems, within a specific time frame;
  • Understand the political, economic and cultural context of Chinese legal systems.

The essay in this subject is regarded as a substantial piece of legal writing for honours purposes.

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