Court reform increases judges' workload

By CAO YIN ( Updated : 2015-11-15

Chinese courts have registered more than 6.2 million disputes since introducing a judicial reform to ease case filing, up 31.9 percent year-on-year, China's top court said on Sunday.

Each court in the country has carried out the reform that has provided easier access to lodging lawsuits since May 1, in a bid to remove unnecessary barriers and protect the rights of litigants to appeal, according to the Supreme People's Court.

Under the reform, cases must be accepted when they are registered, rather than after a preliminary review of merits, the top court said, adding that courts should respond to litigants promptly and avoid situations in which some courts ignored or refused to consider disputes.

Thanks to the new system, the number of cases accepted by courts had increased by 75.8 percent year-on-year by Sept 30, the top court said.

Of provinces with an increased number of filings, Jiangsu ranked top, followed by Zhejiang, Shandong and Guangdong, it said, adding that the reform has contributed to ease the problem that residents said made it hard to appeal in the past.

The reform requires courts to register and file a case immediately if litigants provide sufficient materials. For disputes that are not filed, courts should explain the reasons, such as insufficient materials, within seven days.

By opening the litigation door to the public, some provincial courts have offered more convenience to litigants in making and tracing lawsuits, said Sun Jungong, the top court's spokesman.

Almost 30 percent of civil lawsuits in Jilin for example had been filed online by Oct 28, which in Sun's opinion can keep litigations transparent and easy for residents to supervise court work.

But Sun confirmed that the increasing number of cases has also brought pressure for judges. Last year Chinese courts concluded more than 15.65 million disputes, up 10.1 percent year-on-year, according to statistics.

But Zhou Qiang, the country's top judge, said every court should overcome the difficulty, exploring more convenient ways for litigants to appeal as well as studying some channels to lessen judges' pressure.