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 18, 2019 Chen Li, Vice Dean, Fudan University  School of Law  Recognition and Enforcement of Arbitral Awards under the 1958 New York Convention in China

January 22, 2019 Chen Xinyu, Associate Professor, Tsinghua Law School  Shen Jiaben and the Rule of Law in Modern China.

February 08 2019 Shigenori Matsui, Professor, Allard School of Law, What is happening to NISSAN and Carlos Ghosn?

February 2019  Liu Yan (PKU law), Hostile takeovers and leveraged buyouts in Chinese Financial Markets ** Postponed**

April 4, 2019 Nancy Qian, Northwestern University The Dynamic Effects of Computerized VAT Invoices on Chinese Manufacturing Firms

April 12, 2019  Mark Koyama, George Mason University Persecution and Toleration: The Long Road to Religious Freedom

April 15, 2019 Greg Distelhorst, University of Toronto The Political Beliefs of Chinese Officials

April 26, 2019 Quoc-Anh Do, Sciences Po, France 


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


Be sure to join us in April for our Speaker Series with four dynamic and engaging visiting scholars! 



We had a wonderful time at last night's reception in honour of the Lunar New Year next week. It was a wonderful evening catching up with friends and colleagues after settling in to the start of the second term.  Thank you to our visiting scholars, colleagues and their families for coming together to celebrate the year of prosperity ahead.



“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.