Skip to main content

Dr Zhiyu Li

Assistant Professor in Law and Policy

Assistant Professor in Law and Policy in the Durham Law School
Fellow of the Durham Research Methods Centre
Department Representative in the Durham Research Methods Centre


Zhiyu Li joined Durham Law School as an assistant professor in 2018. She holds undergraduate degrees in law and economics from the East China University of Political Science and Law and a doctorate in jurisprudential science from the University of California, Berkeley.

Zhiyu’s teaching and research interests centre on constitutional law, technology law and comparative law. She primarily writes about the functions of courts and the interplay between law, technology and politics in modern societies. Her research employs both qualitative methods such as doctrinal analysis, case studies and interviews, and quantitative methods, including traditional surveys, survey experiments and machine learning techniques. Her research findings have been disseminated in internationally competitive outlets such as the Harvard International Law Journal and Artificial Intelligence and Law and have been cited in the Cambridge Handbook of Experimental Jurisprudence, the Oxford Handbook of Comparative Judicial Behaviour and the Oxford Handbook of Comparative Administrative Law. She has also delivered talks at various fora within and outside the UK such as the Annual Conference of the Society of Legal Scholars and the Stanford International Junior Faculty Forum. More recently, she was invited by the Dubai Judicial Institute to provide training on judicial decision-making and innovation for judges and government officials during the UAE Innovation Month.

Prior to joining the law faculty, she was a Hauser Post-Doctoral Global Fellow at New York University School of Law on a merit-based fellowship stipend. At Durham, Zhiyu participates in the Research Methods Centre and Research Project Leadership Programme. She has held visiting positions at Boston College, the University of Michigan, the University of Wisconsin, and the National University of Singapore and has given guest lectures for institutions in Brazil, Germany and the United States.

Research interests

  • Chinese Law and Society
  • Constitutional Law
  • Judicial Politics
  • Law and Technology
  • Administrative Law

Esteem Indicators

  • 2024: Quoted in Boston College Law School Magazine Online: see AI Requires Global Cooperation (14 April 2024),
  • 2023: Quoted in Cointelegraph: see All Rise for the Robot Judge: AI and Blockchain Could Transform the Courtroom (13 March 2023),
  • 2023: Quoted in Deutsche Welle: see How China's AI is Automating the Legal System (20 January 2023),
  • 2023: Quoted in Above the Law: see OMG, China Has ACTUAL Legal Robots And All The Legal Tech Patents (13 November 2023),
  • 2022: Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts:


Journal Article

Other (Print)

Supervision students