Trails, Interrogations and Related Matters in the Qin and Han Dynasties

Vol. 46 No.2 June, 2016


Trails, Interrogations and Related Matters in the Qin and Han Dynasties


Chen, Hsuan-wei









Key words

Qin and Han, trail, interrogation, retrial, judicature


The trial was an important part of the ancient judicial process, and it greatly influenced the next stage, the sentencing. A large number of “juzhi 鞫之”interrogation records from trials were found recently on bamboo slips; these are helpful in understanding the meaning of ju  in the ancient judicial process. These juzhi interrogations can be considered part of the final findings made by the judges on a legal case, but they did not usually include the verdict. Until recently, it was believed that there could only be one duju 讀鞫 ‘retrial’ for each judicial case. However, according to our investigations, retrials could be conducted on many occasions, although the procedure was not always available in the Qin and Han dynasties; only special cases could be re-examined. There were two kinds of trials, those for commoners and those for officials, each with different investigators depending on the nature of the case, the social status of the suspect, and the level of the prison. The differential treatment of the three lords in the Han dynasty, the vassals of the royal house of Liu , and the women (empresses and concubines) of the imperial house are also topics of concern in this paper.



Author: Chen, Hsuan-wei
Genre: Article