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Big Data and Courts in China

July 12-14, 2019

The Chinese judiciary’s push towards the use of new technologies and automatisation in recent years rests primarily on mass digitization of court decisions and the development of smart courts. Under the auspices of the Supreme People’s Court, an open-access database with currently almost 65 million documents has been established. The availability of this massive pool of new data requires researchers to develop new empirical approaches and to re-examine findings about Chinese law. However, it also poses challenges for research design and methodology. The development of smart courts envisions that law is enforced through and combined with technological management mechanisms and that judicial decisions increasingly rely on data processing routines. However, the potential ramifications for the legitimacy of the legal system, judicial decision-making and law enforcement remain unclear and require further research.

The conference will (1) analyse changes of law and legal institutions that are triggered by big data, AI and data-driven assessment systems of behaviour; (2) seek to develop new approaches of doctrinal and empirical legal studies for exploring data-driven changes to law and courts; (3) investigate challenges for legal studies posed by court generated big data such as the databases of court decisions; (4) present new research of any area of Chinese law that makes use of court decision databases and (5) discuss automated assessment systems of individual social behaviour that relate to compliance with legal standards and law enforcement.

Björn Ahl
Institute of East Asian Studies, UoC
Global South Studies Center

In cooperation with
Chinese Law Programme, Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies at
the Chinese University of Hong Kong
Faculty of Law of Jilin University
International Office, UoC
Deutsch-Chinesische Juristenvereinigung

University of Cologne
Institute of East Asian Studies
Dürener Str. 56-60, 50931 Köln
Further Information

Contact and registration
Daniel Sprick,