The Common Law Centre at Renmin University, Beijing, was opened on the 2 September 2014. The Oxford Law Faculty, along with the Great Britain China Centre, will act as supporters and advisors to the project. The Memorandum of Understanding between Renmin, Oxford, and the GBCC was signed by Dean Han of Renmin, Nick Barber of Oxford, and Richard Pascoe from the GBCC.
The Common Law Centre will provide a focus for the study of the Common Law in Beijing. It will run seminars and conferences on topics related to the Common Law, aiming to encourage understanding of, and interest in, this legal tradition. The Centre will seek to engage with students, academics, lawyers, and judges.
At the opening ceremony Former Judge of Supreme Court Xiao Yang praised the importance and timeliness of the project. Judge Yang noted that research on common law had the potential to improve the legal system in China: he hoped that the Centre could act as a platform for researchers of Common Law to communicate with, and contribute to, the international community of legal scholars.
Professor Wang Liming, Executive Vice President of Renmin University of China, congratulated the signatories on the foundation of the Centre. In an increasingly interconnect world, legal researchers needed a sophisticated understanding of different legal traditions and cultures. Furthermore, as Chinese courts begin to develop a distinctive form of case law through the guiding case system, study of the Common Law can cast light on the challenges and possibilities faced by the judges.
Professor Nick Barber (pictured above), for Oxford University, commended Renmin for its decision to create the Centre. China was characterized by two legal traditions: the mainland’s legal system had a civil base, whereas Hong Kong had a long Common Law history. Renmin’s Common Law Centre would act as a bridge between these two cultures.