The structural format and rhetorical variation of writing Chinese judicial opinions
A genre analytical approach
As Chinese legal system follows a statutory tradition, the writing of Chinese judicial opinions is normally considered as an invariant sequential process of stating the law, presenting the fact, and finally providing the conclusion. The official ideology is further reinforced by the fact that Chinese judges need to follow various authoritative writing guidelines and templates prescribed by the official bodies of legal profession. This paper examines to what extent this ideology is a trustworthy description, and to what extent it is only an imagined myth related to the rhetorical practices of Chinese legal profession. Theoretical constructs employed in the study are genre, text type, and rhetorical modes, and analytical data include exemplar judicial opinions, intertextual legislative documents, and insiders’ accounts. According to the research findings, while the official ideology remains a strong shaping force in the composing of Chinese judicial opinions, Chinese judges do take compelling moves to add dialogic elements to the traditionally monologue-dominated discursive sphere of legal writing.
Keywords: genre analysis, judicial writing, legal ideology, monologue, dialogue
Available under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC) 4.0 license.
Published online: 23 October 2018
Cheng, Le, King Kui Sin, and Ying-Long Zheng
Conley, John M., and William M. O’Barr
Duke, Nell K., Samantha Caughlan, Mary Juzwik, and Nicole Martin
Hafner, Chris A.
Han, Zhengrui, and Li Xiaoyu
Hubbard, Frances K., and Lauren Spencer
Kalscheur, Heidi A.
Kennedy, George A.
Labov, William, and Joshua Waletzky
Leflar, Robert A.
Leung, Janny H. C.
Mao, Luming R.
Purcell-Gates, Victoria, Nell K. Duke, and Joseph A. Martineau
Simons, Herbert W., and Jean G. Jones
Van Leeuwen, Theo J.