In Legal Practice in the Formative Stages of the Chinese Empire, Ulrich Lau and Thies Staack offer a richly annotated English translation of the Wei yu deng zhuang si zhong 爲獄等狀四種, a collection of criminal case records from the pre-imperial state of Qin (dating from 246 BC–222 BC) that is part of the manuscripts in the possession of Yuelu Academy. Through an analysis of the collection and a comparison with similar manuscript finds from the Qin and Han periods, the authors shed new light on many aspects of the Qin administration of justice, e.g. criminal investigation, stages of criminal procedure, principles for determining punishment, and interaction of judicial officials on different administrative levels.
Ulrich Lau (Ph.D. (1981), Humboldt University of Berlin) is Privatdozent (PD) for Classical Chinese studies at the University of Hamburg. He has published monographs and articles on the legal and social history of early China.
Thies Staack (Ph.D. (2015), University of Hamburg) is a research assistant at the Collaborative Research Centre “Material Text Cultures” at the University of Heidelberg. He has published several articles concerning early Chinese manuscript culture with a focus on codicology and the reconstruction of bamboo manuscripts.
All interested in the legal, social or institutional history of pre-imperial and early imperial China, and anyone concerned with early Chinese bamboo or wood manuscripts.