Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Detecting the influence of the Chinese guiding cases: a text reuse approach

Chen, Benjamin M.; Li, Zhiyu; Cai, David; Ash, Elliott

Detecting the influence of the Chinese guiding cases: a text reuse approach Thumbnail


Benjamin M. Chen

David Cai

Elliott Ash


Socialist courts are supposed to apply the law, not make it, and socialist legality denies judicial decisions any precedential status. In 2011, the Chinese Supreme People’s Court designated selected decisions as Guiding Cases to be referred to by all judges when adjudicating similar disputes. One decade on, the paucity of citations to Guiding Cases has been taken as demonstrating the incongruity of case-based adjudication and the socialist legal tradition. Citations are, however, an imperfect measure of influence. Reproduction of language uniquely traceable to Guiding Cases can also be evidence of their impact on judicial decision-making. We employ a local alignment tool to detect unattributed text reuse of Guiding Cases in local court decisions. Our findings suggest that Guiding Cases are more consequential than commonly assumed, thereby complicating prevailing narratives about the antagonism of socialist legality to case law.


Chen, B. M., Li, Z., Cai, D., & Ash, E. (in press). Detecting the influence of the Chinese guiding cases: a text reuse approach. Artificial Intelligence and Law,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 4, 2023
Online Publication Date May 6, 2023
Deposit Date Apr 14, 2023
Publicly Available Date May 12, 2023
Journal Artificial Intelligence and Law
Print ISSN 0924-8463
Electronic ISSN 1572-8382
Publisher Springer
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed


Published Journal Article (2.5 Mb)

Publisher Licence URL

Copyright Statement
This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit

You might also like

Downloadable Citations