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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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TitleYuanshu lunyao 爰書論要 [Important Points on the Judicial Procedure]
Topic4.2 Magistrates handbooks: Handbooks for legal experts
Historical periodLate Qing (1797-1911)
Publication typeManuscript

The intro. to this sizable (ca. 115 folios) ms. written in a neat hand insists on the necessity of a sound knowledge of procedures and documentary forms, the details of which the officials and muyou tend to leave to clerks (經承書辦), who turn out to be ignorant people—at least in Nanyang 南陽 (Henan), to which the text is referring, and which according to the anonymous author is a prefecture hard to administer (劇郡) and with many difficult judicial cases to solve: he speaks of four to five hundred homicides or robberies (命盜) every year. The author insists on the crucial position of prefectures in the judicial process. The work includes 125 paragraphs (篇) under 22 categories (門), dealing both with the nature of cases and with the various sorts of documents used in the procedure. The dominant worry is to see the cases forwarded to the provincial authorities by the prefecture rejected, which apparently was very frequent. The first category is devoted to the writing of depositions (論敘供); it is followed by a lengthy discussion of how to handle homicides (論命案), including suicides, to which is appended an essay on the circumstances and motivations of homicides (命案總論). Then come two short essays over-titled “Concise essay on private secretary duties” (幕務約編), devoted respectively to the procedure for criminal cases (辦案) and to checking draft judicial opinions (看稿). Ce 2 starts with a discussion of robbery and theft (論盜賊), also extremely long and detailed (ca. 30 folios), again with a general essay appended (盜賊總論). A much shorter section on forcible robbery (論搶奪) follows. Ce 3 is entirely devoted to “various cases” (論雜案). Ce 4 has shorter essays on impeachement cases (followed by the rates of monetary redemption for officials who have been condemned) (論參案); rejected cases (論駁案); the writing of conclusions following the testimonies and confessions (論作看); responses to complaints (論批詞); again several entries are over-titled “Concise essay on private secretary duties,” including short entries on the various types of documents used in the procedure; there is also a long proclamation against the corruption of runners (通飭蠹役積弊札) by an unnamed prefect, dated 1839. The penultimate paragraph considers informal letters (稟) as opposed to official reports (詳). As shown by Guo Runtao (see below), a large number of entries are directly drawn from Ban’an yaolüe (q.v.).

Call Numberoki B3883200
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