China / News from across China

Circuit courts proving their worth

By Cao Yin in Shenzhen (China Daily) Updated: 2016-01-30 08:17

Two extra "hands" of China's top court heard more than 1,700 cases last year, helping residents solve disputes at home and relieving the burden of filing petitions in Beijing.

As a part of judicial reforms to ease the pressure on the nation's top court and make it more convenient for litigants to file lawsuits, the First Circuit Court and the Second Circuit Court, which the Supreme People's Court established in January last year, have played a great role in improving judicial credibility.

In 2015 alone, the First Circuit Court in Shenzhen - which is responsible for the provinces of Guangdong and Hainan, and the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region - handled 898 cases, of which 843 have been concluded, according to the top court.

Meanwhile, the Second Circuit Court in Shenyang - in charge of hearing cases in Heilongjiang, Liaoning and Jilin provinces - finished 810 of 876 disputes, the statement said.

Most of the cases were commercial, civil and administrative disputes involving long-standing appeals or needing a retrial, it said.

"The building of the circuit courts reduces the time and costs for local and regional litigants," said Liu Min, a chief judge of the First Circuit Court, adding that the move also motivated judges to solve disputes where the conflicts took place.

Thirteen judges from the Second Circuit Court came to litigants' residences to read materials, open trials and have face-to-face communications 195 times last year, the statement added.

"Providing convenience for residents to file lawsuits is one of the advantages of building the circuit courts," said Yu Zhengping, vice-president of the Second Circuit Court.

The circuit courts have also eased the daily lineups of petitioners wanting to submit complaints or file appeals at a few central government offices in Beijing.

The First Circuit Court accepted more than 10,000 petitions from the three regions in 2015, while Shenyang broke 33,000, the top court said.

Zhao Xuguang, a law professor at China University of Political Sciences and Law, applauded the fruits of the circuit courts, saying that they also contributed to reducing local government interference.

Although they are still part of a pilot project, he suggested extending the courts to other areas of the country.

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