The Shanghai Mixed Court was established in 1863 amongst protests from both the Chinese and the British. The court was originally intended to deal with criminal cases that arose between Chinese and British who were living in close proximity but quickly expanded its scope to encompass civil cases. Shortly afterwards, the court also began litigating both civil and criminal between Chinese who operated in the foreign settlement. This occurred in part because there were no other effective institutions to perform these functions and in part because as people learned to operate within its loosely defined structure, the Mixed Court provided an alternative to adjudication for those who wished to operate outside the formal auspices of the Qing Imperial system. My aim is to grant agency and due credit to the Chinese in the development of one of the most enduring colonial institutions in Shanghai through an examination of the court.