Justice in Print: Discovering Prefectural Judges and Their Judicial Consistency in Late-Ming Casebooks
Editor: Dr Tam Ka-chai, Assistant Professor, Department of History
In the book, Dr Tam Ka-chai argues that the prefectural judge in the judiciary of the Ming dynasty (1368–1644) became crucial to upholding justice in Chinese society.
In light of two late Ming casebooks, namely the Mengshui zhai cundu (盟水斋存牍) by Yan Junyan and the Zheyu xinyu (折狱新语) by Li Qing, Dr Tam demonstrates that the late Ming judges handled their cases with a high level of consistency in judicial reasoning and practice in every type of case, despite their differing regions and literary styles. Equipped with relative institutional independence and growing professionalism, they played an indispensable role in checking and guaranteeing the legal performance of their subordinate magistrates.