Judicial Innovation and Local Politics : Judicialization of Administrative Governance in East China

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

22 Scopus Citations
View graph of relations


Related Research Unit(s)


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-42
Journal / PublicationChina Journal
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013


Drawing on data from a mid-sized city in eastern China, this article examines interactions among the courts, the Party and other administrative agencies. It finds that, caught between unruly administrative agencies and legal rhetoric, the courts seek support from the Party to enhance their authority. They then devise tactics such as putting agencies' chief officials on the stand, issuing judicial suggestions and applying the laws in innovative ways. These are often effective, because agencies adjust their behaviors accordingly. Contrary to conventional wisdom that the courts are only a passive actor in local politics, their role in translating national laws into local practice is by no means negligible. By exploring the dynamics of court-government relations in the context of administrative litigation, this article argues that local politics is a crucial factor in determining the trajectory of China's judicialization of administrative governance, and rule of law more generally.