Peking University (PKU) Law School was officially inaugurated on June 26, 1999. Its precursor was the Law Department of Peking University, which was founded in the year of 1904, and therefore the institution with the longest history of modern legal education in China. In the 1952 “grand adjustment of law departments,” it was once merged into Beijing Politics and Law College. In 1954, however, PKU Law Department regained its independency, supported directly by Vice Premier Dong Biwu, then director of the Political and Legislative Affairs Committee of the Government Administrative Council of China's Central People's Government . During the “Cultural Revolution” (1966-76), PKU Law Department was one of the only two law departments survived on the Chinese mainland.
Since China's reform and opening-up of 1978 and the resume of the national college entrance exam, PKU Law Department has developed rapidly for the past 30 years. It remains in the frontier of Chinese legal education, in terms of recruiting the most talented faculty, breaking the new grounds of research, cultivating outstanding students, and building and rebuilding China's legal system. From 1977, Prof. Chen Shouyi, Zhang Guohua, Zhao Zhenjiang, Wei Zhenying，Wu Zhipan and Zhu Suli served successively as Dean of PKU Law Department/School.
Now, PKU Law School has 40 full professors, of who 29 are Ph.D. Candidate Supervisors (in addition to five adjunct Ph.D. Candidate Supervisors). Meanwhile, there are 33 associate professors, nine lecturers, and 23 teaching and administrative staff. They are playing an important role in delivering the top quality legal education, cutting-edge research, responsive works for legislation and enforcement of the law.
PKU Law School grants Ph.D. degrees in all sub-fields of law, establishes stations for postdoctoral researchers, and provides Master degree programs in 10 different sub-fields. Currently there are 217 Ph.D. candidates, 1128 master's candidates, 704 undergraduate students, 28 students for the second bachelor's degree of intellectual property rights, and 1200 students enrolled in the continue education program for master's degree. PKU Law School has also offered in-service bachelor's programs for cadres of the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate of China.
In June 1995, the first intellectual property rights school ever in China was founded at PKU Law Department, which has since enrolled both the second bachelor's degree and master students nationwide. Meanwhile, PKU Law School is now training 107 foreign students coming from all across the world. In Hong Kong, 340 bachelors and masters have been cultivated through the joint program by PKU Law School and Hong Kong Shue Yan University.
There are four disciplines of the law in PKU Law School which top the nation's list, to wit, Legal Theory Studies, Constitution and Administrative Law Studies, Economic Law Studies, and Criminal Law Studies.
PKU Law School has long been the pioneer for Legal Theory Studies, and granting the Ph.D. degree in five sub-fields: Jurisprudence, the lawmaking studies, law and society, law and economy, and comparative law. Scholars such as Prof. Chen Shouyi, Shen Zongling, Zhu Suli, Zhou Wangsheng, and He Weifang are all internationally recognized.
The Constitution and Administrative Law Studies was initiated at PKU Law School some 50 years ago. In 1978, it started to enroll postgraduates in majors of Chinese constitution, foreign constitution, etc., followed by those in the administrative law and administrative procedure law, and Hong Kong and Macao basic laws. Its Ph.D. program dated back to 1989 in the fields of Chinese constitution, foreign constitution, administrative law, administrative procedure law, foreign administrative law and Hong Kong and Macao basic laws. Prof. Xiao Weiyun, Luo Haocai, Jiang Ming'an are the leading authorities in the academic community of the Chinese constitution and administrative law.
PKU Law School was the first to set up postgraduate and undergraduate programs in Economic Law Studies, and its Ph.D. program kicked off in 1996. With Prof. Yang Zixuan, Wu Zhipan, Zhang Shouwen, Liu Jianwen, etc. as the representatives, PKU Law School economic law discipline has long been put in the highest regards, particularly in the areas of economic law theory, fiscal and tax law, finance law and antitrust law.
Similarly, the Criminal Law Studies of PKU Law School was one amongst the earliest in China to offer postgraduate programs: Master's since 1978 and Ph.D. since 1991. Eminent scholars in this discipline like Prof. Chu Huaizhi, Zhang Wen, Liu Shoufen, and Chen Xingliang have shaped the research in this field, such as Chinese criminal law, foreign criminal law and policy, criminology and criminal law enforcement (including prison law).
Besides the subjects of above-mentioned four disciplines, PKU Law School is offering a wide range of noted courses and researches in international Law, civil and commercial law, litigation law, legal history, environmental law and so forth. In recent years, through bringing in elites at home and abroad, further improvements have been achieved on the quality of teaching, research and management, which lay the solid foundation for building up a world-class law school.
PKU Law School is very proud of its 30-plus research institutes, including Economic Law Research Institute, International Law Institute, Institute of International Economic Law, Labor and Social Security Law Institute, Institute of Criminal Law Theory, the World Trade Organization Legal Research Center, Public Law Research Center, Research Center for Tax Law, Financial Law Institute, Human Rights Research Center, and Legal Information Center. Every single year, these institutes organize many professional or academic activities. Moreover, they provide graduate students with numerous opportunities for the academic exchange and discussion, which have tremendously contributed to creating a vibrant atmosphere of learning.
The law library attached much to the appealing of PKU Law School, for its volume collection and level of high technology. Now, there are more than eighty thousand copies of Chinese and foreign books, 190 reading seats, two electronic reading rooms, and a total of 50 computers, which enable the students and faculty to keep up with the pace of the legal developments worldwide.
With respect to international exchanges, PKU Law School has spared no efforts in vigorously carrying out the overseas research and education cooperation, offering the faculty and students chances to broaden their academic horizon and enhance international visions. Frequent and in-depth external academic exchanges and large numbers of overseas alumni and friends throughout the world make it possible for PKU Law School to establish close ties with law schools, institutions for legal education and research, law firms, government agencies and judicial instrumentalities globally.
Up to date, PKU Law School has built sustained and steady relationships of exchange and cooperation with Japan, Singapore, Canada, the US, the UK, Taiwan, Hong Kong, as well as many international organizations including the World Trade Organization, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, and the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal. In addition, great achievements have been accomplished through the scholar exchanges, joint research, exchanges of library materials and information, and student exchanges.
The prosperity in legal study and education has further attracted scholars from all corners of the country and the world to join. PKU Law School has held numerous high-ranking and large-scale international conferences and other academic activities in recent years. There are hundreds of scholars or legal professionals at home and abroad coming to visit, such as the US Supreme Court Justices Anthony Kennedy and Sandra O'Connor, Prof. Chase from Harvard, Prof. Schwartz from Yale, and Prof. John Jackson from Georgetown who was best known as the father of GATT. They have brought the latest development of laws abroad alive to PKU Law School.
At the same time, an increasing number of scholars of PKU Law School go abroad for exchanges and visits, introducing their legal research and the achievements in Chinese legal system to the whole world. Among the others, Prof. Wang Tieya was appointed as judge of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, and Prof. Zhao Lihai was serving as judge for the International Maritime Tribunal, both of who have won great honors for China.
Currently, more than 30 international students from Europe, America, Asia and Africa are studying in PKU Law School each year. The school also cooperates with Missouri Kansas City School of Law of the US to hold a three-week “China law workshop” on the annual basis. Commissioned by the Department of Justice of the HKSAR, PKU Law School offers bi-annual training program on laws of the Chinese mainland. In April 2003, the Doha Development Agenda Advanced Training Program for Senior Government Officials from Asia-Pacific countries was founded in PKU Law School, aiming at training senior trade officials of the WTO members in the Asia-Pacific region.
With great passion and determination, Peking University Law School is committed to building a world-class law school.