Criminal Defense in China: The Politics of Lawyers at Work


Product Details

Cambridge University Press
Publish Date
6.06 X 9.03 X 0.52 inches | 0.73 pounds
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About the Author

Terence C. Halliday is a Research Professor at the American Bar Foundation and the co-director of the Center on Law and Globalization at the American Bar Foundation and University of Illinois College of Law. He is the author and editor of several books on the politics of legal professions and his research has been published in the American Sociological Review, the American Journal of Sociology, the Law and Society Review, Law and Social Inquiry and the Annual Review of Sociology, among others. Halliday is the winner of distinguished book prizes from the American Sociological Association Sections on Globalization, Sociology of Law and Economic Sociology.
Sida Liu is a sociologist of law specializing in Chinese law, the legal profession, and sociolegal theory. He is co-author of Criminal Defense in China: The Politics of Lawyers at Work (with Terence C. Halliday, 2016).


'Viewing criminal defense as a political project, they draw on propositions from scholarship on lawyers and political liberalism across the world - from seventeenth-century Europe to late-twentieth century Korea and Taiwan - to examine the strategies and constraints of lawyer mobilization in China.' Law and Social Inquiry
'Sida Liu and Terence C. Halliday's Criminal Defense in China is a much needed, courageous, and accomplished book on criminal lawyering in China.' Ya-Wen Lei, American Journal of Sociology
"In Criminal Defense in China, Sida Liu and Terry Halliday draw together their rich theoretical and comparative backgrounds with unparalleled empirical work to produce what is by far the most probing study in any language of the nature and challenges of criminal defense work in the People's Republic of China."
William P. Alford, Henry L. Stimson Professor of Law, Harvard Law School, Massachusetts
"Over the past decades, the theory of the legal complex has transformed the approach to the study of lawyers and the legal profession by showing that at least a tiny portion of the legal profession consistently mobilizes to fight for basic freedoms and political liberalism in the name of 'law'. In this study of criminal defense attorneys in contemporary China, Halliday and Liu find ample support for the theory, and in so doing, demonstrate just how powerful the theory is. This pioneering study can be read with profit by sociologists of law and the legal profession, political scientists interested in law and courts, criminal justice scholars, and South Asian specialists. The book is a stunning achievement."
Malcolm Feeley, Claire Sanders Clements Professor, Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program, University of California, Berkeley, School of Law
"Liu and Halliday offer a timely and much-needed account of the Chinese legal profession's role in political change. They ask how lawyers strive to institutionalize basic legal freedoms in the context of an authoritarian one-party state. They do so through the hard case of the criminal defense bar. The book's wide-ranging discussion of lawyers' motivations from internationally renowned 'cause lawyers' to unsung grassroots activists underscores the diversity and potential of China's legal profession. This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the current situation of China's lawyers during this period of increased political tension."
Mary E. Gallagher, University of Michigan