THE ADVOCATE 407
VOL. 77 PART 3 MAY 2019
PETER A. ALLARD
SCHOOL OF LAW
By Marlisse Sweeney and Jeremy Schmidt*
ASIA THROUGH A LEGAL LENS1
The recent assertion by pundits that the 21st century belongs to China is
not uncontested, but at the very least the growing political and economic
influence China and other Asian countries have on the global stage isn’t up
for debate. A quick glance at the major newsprint headlines quickly confirms
the view that understanding what happens in Asia is firmly within
the Canadian national interest. Yet how much is known in North America
about the legal systems within Asian countries?
A deeper understanding of law and the legal culture of countries in Asia
could aid immeasurably in more effective and substantial engagement with
It is this critical dimension that the Centre for Asian Legal Studies
(“CALS”) at the Allard School of Law has sought to address, a point Professor
Wei Cui, the current CALS director, is eager to drive home.
“Law is an indispensable instrument by which societies govern themselves,”
Cui notes. “In a country like China, the legal system is extremely
sophisticated. Not having the legal lens is a big disadvantage. It’s true for
other Asian countries too.”
One of Cui’s most recent projects expands the theme in innovative and
far-reaching ways. Over the past two years, he has been collaborating with
tax administrators in China, using taxpayer data to do economic research on
how 2.4 million Chinese firms comply with the tax law and how they react
to changes in tax policy. Not only does this mark an unprecedented
research collaboration, but it also tackles some big social science questions
about taxpayer compliance.
* Marlisse Sweeney is a graduate of Allard Law and a lecturer at the UBC Sauder School of Business. Jeremy Schmidt is
executive coordinator to the dean of Allard Law.