Full Text: Judicial Reform in China (32)

(Xinhua)

15:04, April 17, 2013

4. Reducing Litigation Costs for Parties Concerned

China has expedited the reform and improvement of its litigation fee collection system. In 2006, China promulgated the Rules on Litigation Fee Payment, and the Methods for Management of Collection of Lawyer Service Fees. These measures markedly lowered the cost of litigants, thus mitigating the difficulty of lodging a lawsuit and hiring a lawyer, while guaranteeing normal judicial work and preventing abuse of litigation rights.

Lowering litigation charges. China has clarified the payment scope concerning litigation fees, with people's courts collecting only fees for case registration and application. China has sharply adjusted the threshold, percentage and standard of fees for cases involving property, divorce and labor disputes whose occurrence is fairly frequent, resulting in a great reduction in actual charges. Case registration fees are exempted for such cases as administrative compensation. For administrative cases, whether involving property or not, a fixed fee is collected.

Reducing and exempting litigation fees. When a party has difficulty paying a litigation fee it may apply to a people's court for judicial assistance. The state makes clear the circumstances, procedures and percentages for exemption, reduction and deferment of litigation fees, ensuring that parties with economic difficulties are able to fully exercise their litigation rights in accordance with the law.

Regulating lawyers' charges. While expanding the scope of lawyers' charges to market-adjusted prices, China continues to implement government-guided prices for service fees collected by lawyers when they act as representatives in state compensation cases and other law-suits, and rigorously standardizes the links and procedures for lawyers' charges. This effectively guarantees litigants' lawful rights and interests, as well as the state's interests while promoting the healthy development of the law profession.

Facilitating litigation. Judicial organs have generally established litigation service centers, and case registration and reception centers, and initiated and improved such systems as first inquiry responsibility, service commitment, open work and polite reception. They have improved such services as litigation guidance, search and inquiry, mediation prior to litigation, and meeting with people who report offences. They provide a suitable litigation environment for the public by opening hotlines and making use of information technology to provide online services such as case registration, serving a document, court sessions and inquiries.

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