Criminal procedure in contemporary China: Socialist, civilian or traditional?

Bo Yin, Peter Duff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Taxonomy, as a methodological tool introduced from natural science, brought the categorization of legal systems to comparative law. The term ‘legal family’ is normally used as a metaphor, because it recognizes that within each grouping there are many variations. Each of the legal families is regarded as a combination of fundamental features of legal systems which have certain similarities. As an analytical device, taxonomy renders the comparison of different laws and legal institutions manageable by means of simplifying or abstracting the diverse and complicated realities of a myriad of legal systems. As a result, the concept of legal families acts as a support for legal borrowing and transplantation, as well as comprising an inevitable part of most comparative law works. Even where as few as two jurisdictions are involved, the categorization of legal families is still a useful tool for most comparative legal analysis. Assisted by the notion of legal families, comparativists can readily understand and explore an unfamiliar legal system. Normally, such scholars tend to accept the conventional or widely accepted categorization of a particular legal system as belonging to a certain legal family. However, without detailed scrutiny of the first-hand material, distortions may arise as a result of preconceptions held at the beginning of the comparative study.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1099-1127
Number of pages29
JournalInternational and Comparative Law Quarterly
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010


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