This comprehensive study examines the development and changing characteristics of the judicial system and reform process over the past three decades in China. As the role of courts in society has increased so too has the amount of public complaints about the judiciary. At the same ti... me, political control over the judiciary has retained its tight-grip. The shortcomings of the contemporary system, such as institutional deficiencies, shocking cases of injustice and cases of serious judicial corruption, are deemed quite appalling by an international audience. Using a combination of traditional modes of legal analysis, case studies, and empirical research, this study reflects upon the complex progress that China has made, and continues to make, towards the modernisation of its judicial system. Li offers a better understanding on how the judicial system has transformed and what challenges lay ahead for further enhancement. This book is unique in providing both the breadth of coverage and yet the substantive details of the most fundamental as well as controversial subjects concerning the operation of the courts in China.