UC Hastings regularly offers five core courses on East Asian legal systems. Courses on China include Introduction to Chinese Law (three-credit survey course), China Business Law and Economic Rights (two-credit seminar), and China and the International Legal Order (two-credit seminar). Courses on Japan include Introduction to the Japanese Legal System (two-credit survey course) and Law and Business in Japan (two-credit seminar).
In past years, UC Hastings has offered a course on Legal Reform in East Asia. This two-credit lecture course explores legal transitions in Mainland China, South Korea, and Taiwan from a comparative perspective. Detailed descriptions of these core East Asian Legal Studies Program courses may be found below.
In addition, UC Hastings offers a wide range of courses that incorporate issues related to East Asian legal systems and legal culture, including Comparative Law, International Business Transactions, International and Comparative Intellectual Property Law, Law and Development, Public International Law, International Trade Law and Policy, Comparative Constitutional Law, International Refugee Law, International Human Rights Law, International Criminal Law, International Environmental Law, and Asian Pacific Americans and the Law.
Students with specialized research interests not addressed in an existing course may work with Program faculty on independent studies.
The UC Hastings Law Library boasts a large and growing collection of monographs and primary source materials on East Asian legal systems. The Law Library maintains subscriptions to two of the largest electronic databases on Chinese law, LawInfoChina and Westlaw China, giving researchers instant access to thousands of PRC laws, regulations, cases, journal articles, and other research materials in both Chinese and English. The Law Library website includes detailed research guides to Chinese law and Japanese law.
Foreign, Comparative, and International Law Librarian Vincent Moyer plays a key role in supporting the development of the East Asian Legal Studies Program by providing research support for students and faculty, maintaining detailed research guides, and expanding our collection on East Asian legal systems.
UC Hastings also is just steps from the San Francisco Public Library, which maintains a large collection of thousands of Asian-language books and periodicals and a broad selection of English-language titles on East Asia.
Chinese Law and Legal Institutions (Professor Hand). This survey course provides an introduction to the legal system of the People’s Republic of China. Students explore the historical foundations of law in China; contemporary Chinese legal institutions and lawmaking processes; and the role of the legal system in China’s political, economic, and social reforms. The course provides an overview of selected fields of substantive and procedural law, including constitutional law, property law, contract law, administrative law, foreign investment law, arbitration law, and criminal law and procedure. Within the framework of the topics above, students complete several short exercises to reinforce a range of general lawyering skills, including clear writing, contract drafting, client communications, and issue spotting. There are no prerequisites, and the course is designed to be accessible to all students, including students without a background in China studies. The course is intended to be useful to anyone who is contemplating a legal career that involves East Asia or has an interest in foreign legal systems generally.
Introduction to the Japanese Legal System (Professor Miyazawa). This course discusses the role of law, lawyers, and the judicial system in Japanese society, with a special emphasis on the comprehensive judicial reform that was recommended by the Justice System Reform Council in 2001. The main part of the course reviews the background, process, contents, and impacts of the reform in legal education, civil litigation, criminal procedure, legal profession, access to legal services, and the judiciary. Several substantive areas of law are also discussed.
China and the International Legal Order (Professor Hand). China’s rapid economic growth and growing influence on the world stage pose both opportunities and challenges for international legal institutions. This course examines the legal dimensions of China’s rise and its integration into the international community. Topics examined include Chinese conceptions of international law; China’s behavior in the United Nations; China and the international human rights regime; China’s behavior in the WTO; cross-border investment related to China; and Western influences on China’s legal reform process.
Law and Business in Japan (Professor Sibbitt). This course addresses areas of Japanese law and business that come into play when investing in or trading with Japan. Against the backdrop of globalization, the course will focus on practical issues that arise in cross-border business transactions, as well as provide a comparative perspective from which to analyze the reasons underlying distinct Japanese and U.S. approaches to regulating universal legal problems. Areas addressed will include mergers and acquisitions, contracts, competition law, financial markets, dispute resolution, the formal structure of the Japanese legal system, Japanese legal culture, and the role of foreign lawyers in Japan.
China Business Law and Economic Rights (Professor Styles). This seminar focuses on current Chinese business and foreign investment laws and the practice of advising multinational clients investing or doing business in China. The seminar compares Chinese laws and their U.S. equivalents wherever relevant, with a view toward achieving a historical and contextualized understanding of the laws of both countries, and a particular focus on the role of law in China and the U.S. in the creation, allocation, or protection of economic rights in natural and financial resources, as well as intellectual property.
Legal Reform in East Asia (Professor Hand). This course is a comparative study of the role of law and legal institutions in the transitions of South Korea, Taiwan, and Mainland China. It is divided into two parts. In the first part of the course, students discuss East Asian legal traditions and perspectives on “rule of law,” examine the East Asian development model, and undertake a general survey of legal reform in each of the three jurisdictions. In the second part of the course, students examine the relationship between law and economic development, the role of law and legal institutions in political transitions in South Korea and Taiwan, and the relevance of experience in South Korea and Taiwan to Mainland China.