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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TitleBan’an yaolüe 辦案要略 [Important Points for Handling Cases]
Topic4.2 Magistrates handbooks: Handbooks for legal experts
Historical periodEarly Qing (1644-1796)
AuthorWang Youhuai 王又槐
CollectionGuanzhen shu jicheng 官箴書集成
Number of volume4
Publication typeWoodblock
CommentRem.: There are fourteen entries (twelve of them with titles beginning with the word “discussion of”, lun 論), plus two further entries, dealing with various topics related to criminal affairs and the administration of justice from the point of view of an experienced legal secretary. Zhang Tingxiang notes in his preface that, whereas Wang’s Xingqian bilan and Qiangu beiyao (qq.vv.), composed some ninety years ago, are still sold by bookstores, his small congshu, the Zhizheng jiyao (q.v.), has long been out of print; he further notes that of the ten texts included therein, the Ban’an yaolüe is the one that is not outdated or containing materials easy to find elsewhere. The topics discussed include homicides (命案), sexual crimes and related homicides (犯姦及因姦致命案), violent theft (強竊盜案), robbery (搶奪), miscellanous crimes (雜案), answering petitions (批呈詞), reporting on cases (詳案), writing down confessions (敘供), writing conclusions (作看), writing informal reports (作稟), rejected cases (駁案) and appealed cases (上控案), the various kinds of reporting (詳報), increasing and reducing cangue and beatings (枷杖加減), and the “six spoils” (六贓). The materials in each section are organized along the lines of the penal code and include practical hints as well as interpretations of difficult legal concepts. Each general type of crime is further subdivided into several subcategories. For example, the section on “homicides” distinguishes between homicide as the result of an affray, premeditated homicide, murder by poisoning, murder as a result of illegal torture, among other forms. The section devoted to “miscellaneous crimes” discusses kidnapping, the selling of people (e.g. wives), fraud, forgery, and other types of wrongdoing. In addition to information about substantive legal issues, the work also contains discussions about procedural issues (e.g. how to write reports, follow the laws, conduct an investigation, etc.) interspersed throughout the text. The work is extremely useful for understanding Qing law in practice, as well as the role of legal secretaries in the judicial process. The text seems to be more or less identical to Bai Ruzhen’s Xingming yide (q.v.)
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