SOAS University of London

Centre for Asian Legal Studies (CALS)

Centre for Asian Legal Studies

Centre for Asian Legal Studies (CALS) (formerly CEAL) was established in 1988, with one of its principal functions being the promotion of the study of East Asian legal systems amongst scholars and practitioners. Based at the School of Law, the Centre brings together faculty and research students studying East Asian law.

For more than a decade CALS (formerly CEAL) was the academic home for a number of professional training programmes particularly the training of lawyers and judges. These programmes serve to provide opportunities for legal and professional exchange between the United Kingdom and East Asian jurisdictions, in particular the People's Republic of China.

In recent years CALS (formerly CEAL) has initiated and convened two important workshops; Law and Orientalism (February 2011) and Property Rights and Property Law in China (May 2012). Both these workshops brought scholars from far and wide for the dissemination of research findings and the development of ideas.

In August 2013, CALS (formerly CEAL) hosted the Commercial Law Society of China and organised a successful roundtable discussion on international and comparative perspectives on company and commercial law. The Chinese delegation of twelve top scholars was led by the eminent Professor Baoshu Wang of Tsinghua University.

At CALS (formerly CEAL) we are keen to promote research in East Asian law at SOAS and therefore in September 2013 we introduced the Chinese Law Seminar Series. In June 2015 we also launched the Japanese Law Seminar Series. In 2016, we have also launched the South Korean Law Series. Together with the contribution of visiting scholars to the Centre, these workshops and seminars provide a forum for the growth of interest in law in East Asia.

In February 2016, CALS (formerly CEAL) launched the Rule of Law in Thailand project which seeks to engage academically with rule of law issues at a crucial time as recent trend towards democratic constitutionalism in Thailand has been interrupted by absolute rule. The project further enhances SOAS knowledge and capacity in the study and research of East and Southeast Asian Laws with a focus on Thai Law.

Faculty members of CALS (formerly CEAL) teach a variety of courses on East Asia including the following:

  • Modern Chinese Law and Human Rights
  • Foundations of Chinese Law
  • Commercial Chinese Law
  • Law and Institutions of Contemporary China
  • Migration, Gender and the Law in Southeast Asia and Beyond
  • Selected Aspects of Civil and Commercial Chinese Law
  • China and International Politics
  • International Politics of East Asia