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Dr Zhiyu Li

Assistant Professor in Law and Policy

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Assistant Professor in Law and Policy in the Durham Law School  
Fellow 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 public law and comparative law. She writes at the intersection of law and policy, with a particular emphasis on the role of the courts in authoritarian and democratic states. 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 or will be disseminated in internationally respected outlets such as the Columbia Journal of Asian Law, the Cornell International Law Journal and the Harvard International Law Journal and have been cited in 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 United Kingdom such as the Annual Conference of the Society of Legal Scholars and the Stanford International Junior Faculty Forum.

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 and was a visiting scholar at the Centre for Asian Legal Studies of the National University of Singapore in 2019. She was recently awarded a fellowship stipend by the University of Michigan Law School to conduct research on judicial studies in 2023.

Research interests

  • Judicial Politics
  • Comparative Law
  • Legislation and Statutory Interpretation
  • Administrative Law
  • Law and Policy

Research groups

  • Centre for Chinese Law and Policy
  • Durham Centre for Law and Philosophy


Supervision students