Centre for Asian Legal Studies

CALS Seminar Series: Asia & International Law

CALS Seminar Series: Chinese Law

CALS Seminar Series


The Beijing Consensus? How China has changed the western ideas of law and economic development and global legal practices
by Assistant Professor Weitseng Chen
8 - 9 January 2015
Lee Sheridan Room, Eu Tong Seng Building, NUS (BTC)

The Beijing Consensus remains a contested concept, if not controversial. One may argue if public ownership fits the market economy and helps maintain macro-level stability, why rush to secure private property? If private banks and insurance companies are too big to fail and require public bailout when in crisis, why privatize SOEs in the first place? The list of doubts may go on and on but it reveals more ambiguity of the Beijing Consensus than exact configurations of legal institutions and relevant practices.

The goal of this international workshop is to interrogate this Consensus, if any, from a law and development perspective, with a comparative framework that incorporates experiences of other Asian economies such as Singapore, Japan and Taiwan. Particularly, we aim to bring in not only theoretical analyses but also insights from market and legal practices. This is because most discussions at the moment are divided by disciplines; briefly put, legal scholars examine overall rule of law reforms, political scientists and economists focus on policies touching various dimensions of the state capitalism, while lawyers execute all of the reforms. More dialogues are greatly needed. We intend to create such dialogues by examining the institutional arrangements manifested in legal and market practices to date, in areas such as tax, securities, corporate, health care, property rights, financial institution, trade and foreign investment laws, the exact subjects that define the rival concept Washington Consensus.

For more information, please email cals@nus.edu.sg

Judging the Constitution: The Theory and Practice of Constitutional Interpretation in Singapore
by Assistant Professor Jaclyn Neo
16 January 2015
Lee Sheridan Room, Eu Tong Seng Building, NUS (BTC)

Debates over constitutional interpretation occupy a central space in the intellectual discourse of many constitutional systems. In America, for example, whose constitution provides the roots for many constitutionalist ideas, this debate has captured much academic, judicial, and political attention. There, much of the contemporary discussion has focused on the divergence between originalism and "living" constitutionalism. At the heart of this is a struggle between, on the one hand, fidelity to founding meanings and, on the other hand, creative interpretation to suit the context and needs of an evolving society. This contestation determines the authoritativeness of text, context, structure, norms, and theories in constitutional interpretation.

All these cases bear closer reflection, and this is the aim of this workshop. Bringing together scholars of constitutional law, this workshop provides a platform for discussion and debate on these recent developments, and to provide theoretical reflections that go beyond doctrinal and empirical accounts. The end goal is to produce an edited volume that will coincide with fifty years of Singapore's independence in 2015.

Attendance to this Workshop is by Invitation Only, if you have queries please email cals@nus.edu.sg

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