Attribution and judicial control in Chinese court judgments: a corpus-based study


  • Le Cheng City University of Hong Kong



attribution, judicial control, Chinese court judgments, discourse analysis, corpus-based study


The present corpus-based study deals with attribution in court judgments from three perspectives: the forms of appellate judgments, authorial voices in appellate judgments, and attribution to the sources of law. The results in the study are threefold. First, all the appellate judgments from Mainland China and Taiwan are the judgment of the court; both single-opinion judgments and multiple-opinion judgments are found in the appellate judgments from Hong Kong. Secondly, only institutional self-references are found in the appellate judgments of Mainland China and Taiwan. Thirdly, more divergent forms in terms of sources of law are found in Hong Kong in contrast with Mainland China and Taiwan. Through the analysis of the results obtained in this study, the author argues that in Hong Kong the individual judge’s power is foregrounded and what is backgrounded is the court. In contrast, in the Mainland China and Taiwan judgments, one can only hear the voices of the court rather than those of the individual judge. The discursive presentation of focusing on different power agents can find its root in social construction, because the discursive structure is constrained by and representative of social structure.

Author Biography

Le Cheng, City University of Hong Kong

Le Cheng is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at City University of Hong Kong, and concurrently an Adjunct Professor at China University of Political Science and Law (CUPL). He is the Chief Editor of International Journal of Law, Language & Discourse, and Joint Chief Editor of Translated Series on Law and Language (published by CUPL Press). His interests and publications are in the areas of language and law, semiotics, terminology, and discourse analysis.



How to Cite

Cheng, L. (2012). Attribution and judicial control in Chinese court judgments: a corpus-based study. International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law, 19(1), 27–49.