Did you know that we have a wealth of legal resources comprising information from China?  We have a dedicated Law library guide which includes information about China’s legal system as well as linking to key legal databases.

Some of these are free resources like the Library of Congress’ Legal Research Guide which has excellent basic information on the court hierarchy system. Selected legislation and related documents that have been translated into English can be found on AsianLII, which is of course a sister site to AustLII. The Constitution of the People’s Republic of China is also linked from our library guide.

Two of the major Chinese legal databases that Monash has access to have more comprehensive resources in both Chinese and English than any of these free sites. You may be familiar with Westlaw AU, Westlaw UK and Westlaw US and International. You might, however, be surprised to learn we also have access to Westlaw China. Westlaw China contains comprehensive laws and regulations, cases from the Supreme Court and provincial, local, and special courts, and select model contracts and legal journals from the People’s Republic of China.  These resources are available in both English and Chinese across a broad range of topics such as banking, energy law, labour law and intellectual property and include primary sources such as case headnotes and legislation, as well as secondary sources such as journals and current awareness.

The second major Chinese legal database is pkulaw. Pkulaw is a database of Chinese laws and regulations from 1949 to the present, and includes decisions of the Supreme People’s Court or the Supreme People’s Procurate, tax treaties, gazettes, legal news, WTO rules relating to China, and law journals. This database is for ten concurrent users only. Like Westlaw China, pkulaw contains resources in Chinese and in English. Pkulaw includes numerous law journals, some of which are in English, but most are in Chinese. Legislation is also easy to find, as is case law, and it is possible to browse for content as well as search.

In addition to these comprehensive databases there are many other interesting links from the library guide – for example, if you’re a law student, you will be familiar with the Australian Guide to Legal Citation. Chapter 16 deals with citing Chinese material so even when you’re dealing with materials in a language other than English, you can’t escape the AGLC4!

Apart from the above databases, there are two other databases – China academic journals full-text database (from 1994) and Chinese Periodicals Full-text Database (1911-1949) which contain a wealth of Chinese legal content. More information about these data bases in particular is available on the law library guide.

With such a wide range of resources available, it might seem overwhelming. Remember, if you need any help navigating any of these databases, you are welcome to get in touch with a librarian at any of the libraries.

The writers, Jo Welsh and Xiaoju Liu, are librarians at Law and Matheson Libraries.