Full Text: Judicial Reform in China (30)

(Xinhua)

15:04, April 17, 2013

2. Simplifying Case-Handling Procedures

Recent years have seen a sharp rise in litigation cases. On the basis of giving comprehensive consideration to the nature and complexity of the cases, the people's courts classified the cases into complex ones and simple ones and adopted different hearing procedures for different cases, thus applying different hearing procedures to cases of different natures to optimize judicial resources and enhance litigation efficiency.

Extending the scope of application of the summary procedures for criminal cases. The Criminal Procedure Law amended in 2012 extends the scope of application of the summary procedures from cases punishable by no more than three years in jail to all criminal cases under the jurisdiction of grassroots people's courts.

Promoting the reform of small-claim litigation. To safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of the parties concerned promptly and fairly, small-claim litigations are heard using simple procedures on a trial basis in some grassroots people's courts. If both parties involved agree to use simple procedures, when the people's court hears a civil case in which the facts, rights and obligations are clear, and involves a small sum of money, the trial of first instance will be final. Based on the previous experiences, the Civil Procedure Law amended in 2012 stipulates that among the simple civil cases heard by the grassroots people's courts, if the sum of money involved is less than 30% of the annual average wage of employees in the previous year in the province (autonomous region or municipality directly under the central government) in question, then the trial of first instance will be final. This legislation affirms the reform of small-claim litigation.

Summary procedure for administrative cases. For an administrative case of first instance in which the basic facts are evident and the dispute is trivial in character, involving a small amount of property, the people's court may, on the premise of mutual agreement between the parties concerned, have a single judge try the case, simplify the litigation procedures, and conclude the case within 45 days after it is placed on the docket.

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