36 documents
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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TitleLü Fa xuzhi 律法須知
Short titleB3852900-00
Topic4.2 Magistrates handbooks: Handbooks for legal experts
Historical periodLate Qing (1797-1911)
Reprint (year of)1886
AuthorLü Zhitian 呂芝田 (Z. Deyao 德堯)
Publication typeWoodblock
AbstractThe author is reported to have been an experienced muyou who published three more works, entitled Kuannan huojie 款難豁解, Shenxiang beiyao 申詳備要, and Jingjing tang ji cheng’an 靜鏡堂集成案. The original edition was published in Guizhou. The work consists of 419 items (ze 則) distributed among ten “treatises” (lun 論), providing extremely clear and concrete advice on the successive steps of the judicial procedure and legal problems for various sorts of crimes and circumstances; they are: (1) writing down confessions (xugong 敘供, 40 items); (2) homicides (ming’an 命案, 93 items); (3) burglary (qiedao 竊盜, 78 items) (j. 1); (4) theft (qiangduo 搶奪, 5 items), (5) miscellaneous cases (za’an 雜案, 152 items: this long and somewhat disorderly section deals with cases involving officials or degree-holders, with general bureaucratic procedures concerning mourning leaves, taking up or leaving one’s post, opening coffins for autopsies, deadlines for solving crimes, kidnapping and elopement, wife-selling, sexual crimes, and a number of other crimes and misdemeanor classified as zafan in the Code, rules on boat registration, management of exiles, transportation of public funds, and much more); (6) impeachments (can’an 參案, 22 items); (7) writing conclusions, or kanyu 看語 (zuokan 作看, 9 items); (8) rejected cases (bo’an 駁案, 7 items); (9) answering complaints (pici 批詞, 11 items); (10) writing explanatory reports (zuobing 作稟, 2 items)—as opposed to formal reports (xiang 詳) exposing conclusions. Various models (geshi 格式) are provided along the way, including forms for reporting forensic examination in cases of homicide. The 1887 ed. published in Canton (Shoudu copy) has a special annex on this last topic (fu jianyan tongbao wen 附檢驗通報文), based on the Xiyuan lu (q.v.), and located in front of j. 1. Wu Zhongxi’s 1886 introduction says that reading this work will makes it possible “not to consider lawsuits as something that one can definitely not manage in person” (不至視獄詞為必不能親理之事). [n.p.]
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