Organic Law of the People's Courts of the P.R.C. (Draft Revisions)

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【Sources】http://www.npc.gov.cn/npc/flcazqyj/2017-09/04/content_2028319.htm
【End of Comment Period】October 3, 2017.

Contents

Chapter I: General Provisions

Chapter II: The Setup and Authority of the People's Courts

Chapter III: People's Courts' Trial Organizations

Chapter IV: Component Members and Other Personnel of the People’s Courts

Chapter V: Safeguards for the People's Courts' Exercise of Authority

Chapter VI: Supplementary Provisions

 

Chapter I: General Provisions

Article 1: This law is formulated on the basis of the Constitution, so as to standardize the set up and authority of the people's courts, and to safeguard the people's courts' performance of duties in accordance with law.

Article 2: The people’s courts of the People’s Republic of China are the State's organ of adjudication and exercise the power of adjudication in accordance with law.

Article 3: The tasks of the people's courts is to exercise the power of adjudication to punish criminals, resolve disputes, protect the lawful rights and interests of natural persons, legal persons and unincorporated organizations, supervise administrative organs exercise of power, preserve national security and social order, preserve social fairness and justice, and to preserve the uniformity, dignity, and authority of the nation's laws.

Article 4: People's courts are to be established in accordance with the provisions of this law; and where this law makes no provisions, they are established on the basis of decisions by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.

Article 5: The people’s courts shall exercise the power of adjudication independently in accordance with the provisions of law, and are not to be interfered with by administrative organs, social groups or individuals.

Article 6: People's courts uphold the equality of all before the law, and do not permit any privilege or discrimination.

Article 7: People's courts uphold judicial fairness; take facts as their basis and having law as their measure; lawfully protect the procedural rights, and other lawful rights and interests, of every entity; and respect and protect human rights.

Article 8: The people's courts uphold judicial democracy; the masses enjoy the rights to know of, participate in, and supervise the work of the people's courts in accordance with law.

Article 9: People's courts uphold judicial openness; all trial information is to be open except as otherwise provided by law.

Article 10: People's courts are to implement judicial responsibility systems, establishing and completing operating mechanisms for the judicial powers that integrate power and responsibility.

Article 11: The Supreme People’s Court is responsible to, and reports on its work to, the National People’s Congress and its Standing Committee. Local people’s courts are responsible to, and report on their work to, the local people’s congresses at corresponding levels and their standing committees.

Chapter II: The Setup and Authority of the People's Courts

Article 12: The people's courts are divided into:

(1) The Supreme People's Court;

(2) Local people’s courts at various levels including high people's courts, intermediate people's courts, and basic level people's courts;

(3) Specialized people's courts, including courts such as military courts, maritime courts, and intellectual property rights courts.

Article 13: The Supreme People's Court is the State's highest organ of adjudication, and lawfully tries the following types of cases:

(1) first-instance trial cases over which the law provides they have jurisdiction;

(2) cases of appeals and protest appeals lodged against the judgments and rulings of high people’s courts;

(3) cases of retrials submitted in accordance with the trial supervision procedures;

(4) Death penalty cases submitted for review and approval by the high people's courts;

(5) Other cases which shall be heard by the Supreme People's Court.

Article 14: The Supreme People's Court may exercise the following authority:

(1) Introduce bills to the National People's Congress and its Standing committee;

(2) Submit requests for legal interpretations to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress;

(3) Submit requests to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress for review of administrative regulations, local regulations, autonomous regulations, and special regulations;

(4) Conduct interpretations and issue guiding cases on issues of the specific application of law in trial work;

(5) Other authority provided for by law.

Article 15: The Supreme People's Court may establish circuit divisions, to handle major administrative, civil, commercial and other such cases that cross administrative regions. Judgments, rulings, and decisions made by the circuit court divisions are as judgments, rulings and decisions of the Supreme People's Court.

Article 16: The high people's courts include:

(1) high people’s courts of provinces;

(2) high people’s courts of autonomous regions; and

(3) high people’s courts of directly governed municipalities.

Article 17: High people's courts try the following cases:

(1) first-instance trial cases over which the law provides they have jurisdiction;

(2) first-instance trial cases submitted by people’s courts at lower levels;

(3) cases of appeals and protest appeals lodged against the judgments and rulings of intermediate people’s courts;

(4) cases of retrials submitted in accordance with the trial supervision procedures;

(5) death penalty cases submitted for review by the intermediate people's courts;

(6) Other cases which shall be heard by the high people's courts.

Article 18: Intermediate people’s courts include:

(1) intermediate people’s courts of municipalities directly under the jurisdiction of a province or autonomous region;

(2) intermediate people’s courts established in provinces,autonomous regions or directly governed municipalities;

(3) intermediate people’s courts of autonomous prefectures.

Article 19: Intermediate people's courts try the following cases:

(1) first-instance trial cases over which the law provides they have jurisdiction;

(2) first-instance trial cases submitted by basic level people's courts;

(3) first-instance trial cases for which higher level people's courts have designated jurisdiction;

(4) cases of appeals and protest appeals lodged against the judgments and rulings of basic level people's courts;

(5) cases of retrials submitted in accordance with the trial supervision procedures;

(6) Other cases which shall be heard by the intermediate people's courts;

Article 20: Basic level people's courts include:

(1) people's courts of counties, autonomous counties, and banners;

(2) people's courts of undistricted municipalities;

(3) people’s courts of municipal districts.

Article 21: Except as otherwise provided for by law, basic level people's courts try first-instance criminal and civil cases.

Basic level people's courts conduct operational guidance for people's mediation committees' mediation of civil disputes.

Article 22: Basic level people's courts may set up a number of people’s court division [人民法庭] on the basis of regional, population or cases conditions. People’s court divisions are component parts of the basic level people's courts, and their judgments and rulings are as judgments and rulings of the primary people’s courts.

Article 23: The establishment and scope of case jurisdiction of all levels of people's court of the Xinjiang autonomous region Construction and Production Corps, are to be in accordance with relevant provisions of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.

Article 24: Upon approval of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, cross-administrative region people's courts may be established to try cases that cross administrative regions.

Article 25: The establishment and authority of specialized people's courts is to be in accordance with relevant provisions of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.

Article 26: As required for trial work, people's courts may establish necessary tribunals. Intermediate and basic level people's courts where the number of judges is lower, may establish comprehensive tribunals or not establish tribunals.

As required for trial work, people's courts may establish necessary tribunals [审判庭]. Intermediate and basic level people's courts where the number of judges is lower, may decide not to establish comprehensive operations bodies.

Article 27: As required for work, people's courts may establish necessary trial support bodies and judicial administration bodies, and may also allow social forces to participate in trial support work and judicial administration work.

Article 28: The Supreme People's Court supervises trial work of all levels of local people's court and specialized people's courts, and follows provisions to manage all levels of local people's court's and specialized people's courts' judicial policing and judicial administration work.

Higher level people's courts supervise trial work of lower level people's courts, and follow provisions to manage lower level people's courts' judicial policing and judicial administration work.

Chapter III: People's Courts' Trial Organizations

Article 29: People's courts hearing cases may form a collegial panel for trial and may also have a single judge trial.

The range of cases for collegial panels and single judge trials is provided by law.

Article 30: Collegial panels are comprised of judges, or of judges and people's assessors,with an odd number of members greater than three.

Collegial panels usually have the presiding judge as the chief judge, or may also have the court president designate a judge to serve as chief judge. When the court president participates in trial of a case, the court president is the chief judge. The chief judge presides at hearings, organizes case deliberation, but when deliberating a case has power equal to that of other collegial panel members.

Article 31: Collegial panel decisions are made by a majority opinion on case deliberation, and the minority opinions shall be recorded in the record. Case deliberation records are to be signed by all members of the collegial panel.

Article 32: Judgment documents formed by collegial panels or single judges hearing cases are to be published by the people's courts upon being signed by the members of the collegial panel or the single judge hearing the case.

Article 33: Where judges comprise the collegial panel, its members bear responsibility for the determination of facts and application of law in the case; the single judge hearing the bears responsibility for the determination of facts and application of law in single-judge trials. Where trial activities have unlawful circumstances, the people's courts shall promptly investigate and verify, and handle the unlawful circumstances in accordance with law.

Article 34: People's assessors participate in collegial panels' trial of cases in accordance with law. During the period for performance of duties, people's assessors enjoy the rights provided by law, and perform the obligations provided by law.

Article 35: People's courts at the intermediate level or higher are to establish compensation committees, hearing state compensation cases in accordance with law.

Compensation committees are comprised of 3 or more judges, with an odd number of members, and make decisions on the basis of a majority opinion.

Article 36: All levels of people's court are to establish adjudication committees. The task of adjudication committees is to summarize trial work experience, discuss and decide on the application of law in major or difficult cases, and other major issues.

Article 37: The Supreme People's Court's interpretations of issues on the specific application of law in trial work, or publication of guiding cases, shall be upon discussion and adoption by the adjudication committee.

Article 38: The adjudication committee is comprised of the court president, vice-presidents, and other senior judges, and has an odd number of members.

The adjudication committee may establish full-time members.

Article 39: Meetings of the adjudication committee shall have more than half of the committee members present to convene. Meetings of the adjudication committee are presided over by the court president or a vice-president entrusted by the court president. The adjudication committee carries out a system of democratic centralism.

When the adjudication committee holds a meeting, the chief procurator of the people's procuratorate of the same level, or a deputy chief procurator entrusted by the chief procurator, may observe.

Article 40: Where the collegial panel finds that it is necessary to make a submission to the adjudication committee for deliberation and decision, the chief judge is to submit the application, and the court president is to approve it. In cases discussed by the adjudication committee, the collegial panel is responsible for the facts it reports and the members of the adjudication committee are responsible for the comments they express themselves and their final vote.

The collegial panel shall enforce the decision in cases discussed by the adjudication committee. The decision and reasoning in cases discussed by the adjudication committee shall be disclosed in the judgment documents, except where the law provides it would be inappropriate.

Article 41: As required for trial work, high people's courts and higher may establish specialized committees such as for criminal, civil, and administrative trials, to discuss and decide major or difficult cases.

Chapter IV: Component Members and Other Personnel of the People’s Courts

Article 42: People’s courts are composed of a single president, vice-presidents, adjudication committee members, and other judges.

The court president shall possess legal knowledge and legal practice experience. Vice-presidents and adjudication committee members shall be taken from among the judges.

Article 43: People's courts' presidents are responsible for all work of that court, supervise that court's trial work, and manage that court's administrative affairs. Vice-presidents assist the court president in this work.

Article 44: The President of the Supreme People’s Court is elected and removed by the National People’s Congress, and its vice-presidents, adjudication committee members, and other judges are appointed or removed by request of the court president to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress.

Article 45: The president of all levels of local people’s court are elected and removed by that level of People’s Congress, and its vice-presidents, adjudication committee members, and other judges are appointed or removed by request of the court president to the Standing Committee of that level of People’s Congress.

Presidents, vice-presidents, adjudication committee members,and other judges of intermediate people's courts established by region inside provinces and autonomous regions, or in directly governed municipalities, are appointed and removed by request of the high people's court court president to the standing committee of the provincial, autonomous region, or directly governed municipality people's congress.

Article 46: The appointment and removal of court presidents, vice presidents, adjudication committee members, and other judges of all levels of people's court of the Xinjiang autonomous region Construction and Production Corps, are to be in accordance with relevant provisions of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.

Article 47: The appointment and removal of court presidents, vice-presidents, adjudication committee members, and other judges of specialized courts is to be in accordance with relevant provisions of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.

Article 48: The term of office of presidents of people’s courts is the same as that of people’s congress delegates that produced them and they must not serve more than two consecutive terms.

People’s congresses at all levels have the power to remove presidents of people’s courts that they chose from office. If the standing committee of a people’s congress deems it necessary to replace the president of a local people’s court at the corresponding level between sessions of the congress, it shall report the matter to the people’s court at the level above for submission to the standing committee of the people’s congress at the next higher level for approval.

Article 49: Categorical management is implemented for people's court judges, trial support personal, and judicial administration personnel.

Article 50: A personnel ratio system is implemented for judges. The personnel ratio of judges is determined on the basis of factors such as the level of people's court, the case volume, as well as the economic and social development situation and population. The personnel ratio of judges for the Supreme People's Court is determined by consultation of the Supreme People's Court and relevant departments. The personnel ratio of judges for all levels of local people's court is subject to total volume control and dynamic management in provinces, autonomous regions, and directly governed municipalities.

Article 51: Preference in hiring is given to judges that have obtained legal professional qualifications and meet other requirements for judges. Newly appointed judges must be professionally reviewed by the judicial selection committee.

Preference is general given to judges of lower level people's courts in selecting higher level people's court judges.

The duties and administration of judges are in accordance with the "People's Republic of China Law on Judges" .

Article 52: Judges' assistants of people's courts handle trial support matters, such as the inspection of litigation materials and drafting of legal documents, under the guidance of judges.

Judges' assistants who meet the requirements for holding a position as a judge, may be appointed as judges, after being selected, in accordance with the procedures for appointing and removing judges.

Article 53: Clerks of people's courts handle trial support matters such making records of courtroom trials.

Article 54: Judicial police of people's courts handle policing affairs such as courtroom vigilance, and the secure escort and guarding of personnel.

Administration of judicial police is in accordance with the "Police Law of the PRC".

Article 55: As required for trial work, people's courts may establish judicial technicians, handling matter related to trial work in accordance with law.

Chapter V: Safeguards for the People's Courts' Exercise of Authority

Article 56: People's courts have the right to refuse to engage in activities that violate legally prescribed duties.

Article 57: Obligors shall lawfully perform on judgments, rulings, and other effective legal documents issued by people's courts; and where performance is refused, legal responsibility is to be pursued in accordance with law.

Article 58: People's courts shall employ necessary measures to preserve courtroom order and the authority of trials. Legal responsibility is to be pursued for illegal and criminal conduct that impedes the people's courts' lawful exercise of the adjudication power.

Article 59: The personal dignity and physical safety of judges receive the protection of law. The relevant organs shall promptly stop illegal and criminal conduct such as harassment, insulting, threatening,or violence towards judges or their close relative,and shall strictly punish it in accordance with law.

Article 60: Judges must not be transferred,demoted, removed, dismissed or sanctioned for matters not proscribed by law or without having gone through legally prescribed procedures.

Article 61: The people's courts are to consult with the relevant departments to establish an independent job sequence and salary system for judges, improving the system of professional safeguards.

Article 62: People's courts implement a system of training and advanced studies, by which judges, trial support personnel and judicial administrative personnel shall receive theoretical and operational training.

Article 63: Special management is carried out for people's court personnel allotments. The specific measures for the special management are to be separately provided by the Supreme People's Court in consultation with the relevant departments.

Article 64: People's courts shall strengthen the establishment of informatization, utilizing internet, big data, and other modern information technologies to increase efficiency and ensure judicial fairness.

Article 65: The funding of people's courts is to be included in fiscal budgets in accordance with the division of powers, ensuring the needs of trial work.

Chapter VI: Supplementary Provisions

Article 66: This Law shall take effect on xx-xx-xxxx.

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