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Unless otherwise specified, the descriptions of sources in this section are extracted from Pierre-Etienne Will and collaborators,Official Handbooks and Anthologies of Imperial China: A Descriptive and Critical Bibliography (Leiden: Brill, forthcoming).
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TitleDulü xinde 讀律心得[Knowledge acquired from Reading the Law]
Topic4.2 Magistrates handbooks: Handbooks for legal experts
Historical periodLate Qing (1797-1911)
AuthorLiu Heng 劉衡
CollectionGuanzhen shu jicheng 官箴書集成
Number of volume6
Publication typeWoodblock
CommentRem.: A short and at the same time extremely useful and practical guide to the judicial process written for magistrates by the celebrated author of the Yongli yongyan (q.v.). J. 1, entitled “Li song cuoyao” 理訟撮要, discusses the procedures for settling lawsuits and investigating criminal cases taking account of the various possible circumstances; at the beginning there is a summarized list of contents rearranged according to principles specified at the end of each group of considerations (in a way similar to Yang Rongxu’s Dulü tigang [q.v.]). J. 2, entitled “Tongyong niduan zuiming” 通用擬斷罪名, focuses on determining penalties; the rules for increasing or diminishing punishment are presented in table form at the end. J. 3, entitled “Xiangxing suibi” 祥刑隨筆, discusses the procedural rules to follow in questioning and using torture, holding court, and inflicting local punishments. The statutes and substatutes from the Code that the magistrates should consult in carrying out these procedures are footnoted to each short entry. According to Liu Liangju the work was written by Liu Heng while he was assisting his great-uncle in Xi’an prefecture (see his bio. under Yongli yongyan); he used it as an aid when holding court in Chengdu around 1830. Indeed, it can be described as a sort of checklist for magistrates to ensure that all the relevant laws have been considered in making a judicial decision. The manuscript copy that Liangju brought back to Peking was much in demand for further copies by acquaintances leaving to assume a post. A printed ed. was produced in 1836 after several colleagues of Liu Liangju who had been employed in the Ministry of Justice had checked the text against current laws.
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