Progress of China’s judicial reform in 2015

Updated : 2016-03-21

The Supreme People’s Court and courts across China had carried out a number of key pilot reforms and implemented 65 reform measures in 2015, making it an important year for the country to comprehensively deepen judicial reform, according to a work report issued by the Supreme People’s Court on March 13, 2016.

1. Full implementation of case filing registration system

Chinese courts reformed the case-filing review system into the case-filing registration system, which took effect on May 1, 2015. About 95 percent of cases were immediately registered at local courts last year.

The improved petition hearing system has led to a 12 percent year-on-year decrease of petitioning to the SPC.

2. Enhancing the construction of the SPC’s circuit courts

Two SPC circuit courts in Shenzhen, Guangdong province and Shenyang, Liaoning province were set up to handle major cross-regional administrative, civil and commercial cases. They concluded 1,653 trials in 2015.

3. Facilitating the construction of special courts

Two special courts in Beijing and Shanghai that hear administrative cases involving regional governments -- Beijing No 4 Intermediate People’s Court and Shanghai No 3 Intermediate People’s Court -- closed 2,961 cases last year.

4. Promoting the construction of intellectual property courts

The IP courts in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou concluded 9,872 cases. A technical investigation system was adopted to help judges with technical fact.

5. Ban on intervention in judicial process

Regulations requiring recording of interference in judicial activities or specific cases by officials, including those from judicial bodies, were issued last year. Trial judges are required to assume lifelong accountability for their cases within their duty, and presidents of courts and tribunals should no longer sign and issue verdicts in trials they did not preside over.

Judges in the Shanghai courts concluded an average of 187 cases per capita. The number of cases closed by the judges in the pilot courts in Guizhou province on average increased by 200 to 400 percent per capita over the previous year.

6. Solving the difficulty of judgment enforcement

Chinese courts have worked with more than 200 banks and financial institutions and 43 governmental departments such as the NDRC to impose restrictions on multiple behaviors of defaulters.

As of February 2016, 4.67 million occasions of credit punishment were taken against people refusing court orders and a list of 3.39 million defaulters was issued. Around 359,000 people had thus voluntarily fulfilled the terms of the judgments. Courts handled 4.67 million cases involving court orders implementation and concluded 3.82 million cases, up 37 percent and 31.3 percent year on year.

Courts in Hebei and Zhejiang provinces, and Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region began a pilot reform on separating trial from judgment execution.

16 provincial areas including Hunan, Inner Mongolia autonomous region, Liaoning, and Jiangxi have set up cross-region coordination mechanisms.

7. Improving a unified mechanism for law application

24 judicial interpretations on the application of the Civil Procedural Law and Administrative Procedural Law were issued.

Courts in the provinces of Shanxi, Liaoning, Hubei and Ningxia Hui autonomous region introduced regulations on judges’ discretionary power.

12 typical cases were released to guide judicial practice.

8. Promoting personnel management

The reform on quota of judges was carried out, with 10,094 judicial officers in 18 pilot areas including Shanghai, Guangdong, Hainan and Qinghai were categorized as judges.

9. People’s juror system reform

The SPC joined with the Ministry of Justice to draft the people's juror system reform, and 50 courts started the pilot reform program last year, with jurors taking part in 2.85 million case hearings.

10. Deepening judicial openness

More than 3,500 courts have shared digital data and around 18,000 S&T courts were set up to record judicial procedures.

Courts in Jilin and Zhejiang provinces have offered “E-court” services to facilitate litigation.

Construction on three public information platforms for judicial process, judgment documents and enforcement of court orders was further advanced. As of February 2016, courts had published 15.7 million judgment documents and 35.6 million pieces of information about persons subject to enforcement, and broadcast live about 130,000 trials.