Washington Law Review


Yu Kwei


The Chinese law and its courts were essentially modeled after or adopted from those prevalent in Continental Europe, that is, the so-called Continental system. The course was taken not because such a system was particularly good in itself nor because it was particularly suitable to China, it was rather a matter of chance than a matter of choice. At the time when the foundation of the present Chinese legal system was laid, most of the law devisers were educated in Japan or directly or indirectly influenced by Japan. As Japan followed the Continental system, especially the German Law, so the law China then adopted was naturally tinted with a Continental color. Today when we say that the Chinese law is in line with the Continental law, we are, to speak logically, using a major and a minor term without mentioning the middle one. If we take the trouble to trace back to its ancestry, we will find that, as the Japanese law follows the German law which evolved from the Roman law, the Chinese law is lineally a descendant of the time-honored Roman law. But mere aggrandizement is poor comfort. So far what we have now has been borrowed; we have not yet developed a legal system of our own.

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