Many scholars accept that the magistrate under the Qing (1644-1911) dealt with land and debt disputes with great discretion. Through the investigation of first-hand court records of magistrates' reasons for accepting or rejecting land and debt petitions, this article demonstrates for the first time that the assumption and myth that the magistrate either returned petitions to mediators for settlement or dealt with them in a Solomonic fashion does not hold water. The magistrate rejected or accepted petitions on the merits of individual cases in accordance with Qing law. It shows that litigation on private matters in the Qing was rationally administered even at this stage.
|Number of pages
|Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies
|Published - 2005