Dr Zhang Zinian

Dr Zhang Zinian


I am currently lecturer of business law. Before moving to Leeds in January 2016, I was a research fellow at Singapore Management University (2014-2015). Studying law at Durham University from 2008 to 2014 for my LLM and PhD, I also taught postgraduates corporate insolvency law there. I practised law, mainly in commercial and financial areas, in Hangzhou, the capital city of the Zhejiang Province, China, for a decade prior to entering into academia. Before being qualified as a lawyer in 1999, I had a short employment at a large state-owned enterprise in China.


  • University REF Staff Circumstances Panel Member

Research interests

My research focuses on corporate insolvency law, especially the corporate reorganisation law in three jurisdictions: China, UK and USA. I mainly use the empirical method to explore the world of corporate reorganisations. My first monograph 'Corporate Reorganisations in China - An Empirical Analysis' is published with Cambridge University Press in October 2018.

Since 2017, I join an ESRC funded research project led by Professor Gerard McCormack investigating the pari passu distribution in China's corporate judgement executions, which is supposed to serve as a practical substitute of the formal corporate bankruptcy procedure; I had the permission to access a Chinese court archive on money judgement executions concluded in 2014, and I used them to analyse how Chinese courts use the individual debt collection procedure to seek fairness in the interest of creditors. This project has led to the publication of the article entitled “The Corporate Bankruptcy Substitute in China” with Columbia Journal of Asian Law early in 2020.

In the summer of 2019, I travelled to China again to collect data on the implementation of China’s cross border insolvency law, having met some thirty insolvency practitioners and judges and obtained the first-hand information on how Chinese courts treat foreign bankruptcy recognition applications; this investigation led to an article entitled “Globalized Cross-Border Insolvency: the Roles Played by China” that will be published at European Business Organization Law Review in 2021. 

Since the summer of 2020, I have been exploring the bankruptcy of financial institutions in the UK, especially the use of the investment bank special administration regime between 2011 and 2020. After collecting all eighteen investment bank special administrations, I find that the UK’s bankruptcy regime for investment banks needs urgent reforms so as to protect investors. Currently, I am seeking an external funding to support further investigation. 

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://essl.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD (Durham University)
  • LLM (Durham University)
  • JD (Zhejiang University)
  • BEng (Jingdezhen University of Ceramics Technology)

Professional memberships

  • China Bar
  • INSOL Academic Member
  • Honorary Member of the Bankruptcy Law Research Centre at China University of Political Science and Law

Student education

I teach three modules for postgraduates (LLM and MSc) and also act as the module leader for them:

Insolvency Law

Principles of International Financial Law

International Corporate Governance

These three modules attract many students on the annual basis, which is what I am most proud of.

I am currently supervising two PhD researchers on corporate and financial law, with another two PhDs having already successfully completed their degrees. 

As part of my supervision duty, I also advise LLB and LLM dissertations; one of my former LLB supervisees has published her dissertation at an academic journal and one LLM supervisee was awarded the head of law school dissertation prize recently. I am lucky enough to see many ambitious dissertation students year after year.    

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>The school welcomes enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>