Centre for Asian Legal Studies

The Centre for Asian Legal Studies hosts cutting-edge research on the laws and legal institutions in Asia, both advancing scholarly analyses of some of the world’s most important legal systems and promoting public understanding as Canada’s economic and cultural ties with Asia-Pacific countries deepen. The Centre sponsors exchange on advanced research through conferences, a speaker series, and a visiting scholar program, and offers numerous courses in Asian law. Read more...

CALS 2018-2019 Speaker Series

CALS is pleased to announce an exciting lineup of academic speakers for the year ahead:

September 10, 2018    Ling Li, Lecturer, University of Vienna

September 21, 2018    Chikako Kannki, Associate Professor, Rikkyo University & Judge Koji Kanki

October 04, 2018    David Yang, Prize Fellow in Economics, History, and Politics, Joint Center for History and Economics, Harvard University

January 16, 2018 Chen Xinyu, Associate Professor, Tsinghua Law School  Shen Jiaben and the Rule of Law in Modern China.

January 28, 2018 Liu Yan (PKU law), Hostile takeovers and leveraged buyouts in Chinese Financial Markets

April 11, 2019    Mark Koyama, Associate Professor, George Mason University

April 15, 2018 Greg Distelhorst (Toronto Rotman)


All of these events will be open to the public and all are welcome to attend. If you wish to receive notifications regarding upcoming speaker events, please send a request to cals@allard.ubc.ca to be added to the mailing list.

News Highlights


“Tsinghua and HKU are two of not only the most prestigious but also the most dynamic law schools in Asia,” says Wei Cui, Director of the Centre for Asian Legal Studies. “Being in dialogue with their scholars helps us to position ourselves for leadership in legal education and in research innovation. Workshops like this allow us to explore common conceptual frameworks, and to articulate the global significance of our scholarship.”



On July 26th 2018, the Centre for Asian Legal Studies-hosted a comparative law conference with faculty members from The University of Hong Kong and Tsinghua University. This conference focused on international criminal law collaboration and participants presented research that led to great discussions, touching on topics such as:


-          The gradual transition in both Canada and China to a risk-based society making decisions based primarily on a given course of action’s ability to prevent and mitigate risk

-          The question of country-specific legislation adhering to increasingly universal mores due to the development of globalization

-          The lack of a universal definition of “the rule of law”


The conversation, left open-ended, finished with the thought that as both Canadian and Chinese societies become increasingly risk-based, it is necessary to review and decide which aspects of each country’s criminal code should be exposed to the shift toward risk-based thinking.



Dr. Weitseng Chen’s recent projects focus on “authoritarian legality in Asia”. As quoted, he describes his focus as “Authoritarian legality is a product of modern political economy as many authoritarian states borrow institutional design from democratic countries for the sake of modernization and to give an appearance of modernity to the outside world. This project aims to produce the first book about authoritarian legality and economic development in Asia. It plans to unveil the interaction of legality, democracy, and development in the authoritarian context by comparing three Asian jurisdictions—Taiwan, South Korea, and China. I aim to contest several conventional ideas about legality and democracy in the context of developmental states.
We had the pleasure of having Dr. Chen as a CALS visiting scholar this past summer and had the opportunity to sit down with him for an interview his recent projects. In this video clip, Professor Cui and Dr. Chen discuss authoritarian legality in Taiwan.