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Judicial authorities to 'improve efficiency'
( 2003-08-25 08:50) (China Daily)

China's judicial departments have vowed to improve their efficiency by wrapping up long-standing cases by November, a top official said.

Xiao Yang

At a conference of presidents of higher people's courts held in Beijing Sunday, Supreme People's Court President Xiao Yang said: "Trials of long-standing cases should all be concluded before this November, especially criminal cases.

"Suspects in these criminal cases who are in extended custody and cannot be found guilty should be released," he said.

At a weekend meeting held in Changchun, capital of Northeast China's Jilin Province, Jia Chunwang - prosecutor-general at the Supreme People's Procuratorate - urged prosecutor's offices at all levels to focus on investigating crimes involving dereliction of duty as well as to place some important cases on file for prosecution in the second half of this year.

"A batch of important cases or cases with far-reaching influence must be put on file and investigated by the end of the year," he said.

Prosecutor's departments will also focus on the approval of arrests and investigations involving "vicious criminals" and people who have committed economic crimes, Jia said.

Xiao said there have been a lot of complaints from the public in recent years about long-standing cases and the poor implementation of court decisions.

Jia Chunwang

Those who deliberately delay cases for no legal reason will be investigated according to the law, Xiao said.

To achieve open, efficient and fair trials, the Supreme People's Court is also drafting management rules to supervise the whole trial process, from placing a case on file to enforcing the court's verdict.

The country's highest judicial agency is drawing up a draft on the mandatory implementation of court verdicts and will continue to explore more effective ways to achieve this, Xiao said.

The Supreme People's Court alone receives an average of 100,000 appeals each year but struggles to respond to them all.

To better protect people's right to appeal, the Supreme People's Court is determined to improve the current system of dealing with these appeals, said Xiao.

According to a new rule to be released by the end of this year, courts are required to read through all appeal letters, listen carefully to all petitioners, and find out what people are concerned about.

The Supreme People's Court has also drafted two new documents to inform people of what a lawsuit involves.

One document is a guidebook that informs people of their rights and duties in civil lawsuits and administrative litigation. The other document has been written to remind people of the risks that are common in lawsuits by telling people of the consequences of such things as statute limitation and time limits for adducing evidence.

The second document can help people avoid unnecessary losses in a lawsuit and better safeguard their right to sue, Xiao said.

Later this year, the Supreme People's Court will also draw up a regulation on cutting down the cost of an action and supervising the behaviour of judges, but no details have been released yet.

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