Title: Supreme People's Court Opinions on Putting a Judicial Responsibility System in Place and Improving Mechanisms for Trial Oversight and Management (Provisional) Promulgating Entities:Supreme People's Court Reference number: Legal Release (2017) No. 11 Promulgation Date: 2017-4-12 Expiration date: Source of text: http://www.chinacourt.org/law/detail/2017/04/id/149382.shtml
Supreme People's Court Opinions on Putting a Judicial Responsibility System in Place and Improving Mechanisms for Trial Oversight and Management (Provisional)
Legal Release (2017) No. 11
The following Opinions of improving improving people's courts' mechanisms for trial oversight and management are submitted on the basis of the "Supreme People's Court Several Opinions on Improving People's Courts' Judicial Responsibility Systems" and other such Provisions, so as to fully put in place reforms on judicial responsibility, correctly handle the relationship between decentralization and effective oversight, to regulate the oversight and management duties of people's courts' presidents and division heads, and truly resolve issues such unwillingness to decentralize, fear of overseeing, and bad management.
1. After the reforms on judicial personnel ratios are completed, all levels of people's court must strictly put in place the requirements of the reforms on judicial responsibility systems, ensuring that "judgment is made by those hearing the case, and the judgment makers are accountable". Except for those cases discussed and decided by the adjudication committee, court presidents and division heads are not to examine and sign the judgment documents of cases that they have not directly participated in trial of, and must not covertly approve cases by means such as giving oral directions, listening in on panel deliberations, or reading documents.
2. All levels of people's court shall gradually improve the list of court presidents' and division chiefs' trial supervision and management powers. Court presidents' and division heads' supervision and management duties primarily manifest in areas such as review and approval of procedural matters, comprehensive guidance of trial work, promoting unification of trial standards, oversight of the quality and efficacy of the entire course of trial, and elimination of interference in trial activities by external factors.
In accordance with the scope of their authority, court presidents and division heads may check, adjust, and monitor the the flow of trial operations, analyze the state of trial operations, prompt corrections of inappropriate conduct, urge progress in trial of cases, and make overall arrangements for corrective measures. The time, content, moment, and disposition outcome of court presidents' and division heads' exercise of their supervision and management duties shall leave complete records to be permanently stored on office and case-handling platforms.
3. All levels of people's court shall case distribution mechanisms that are primarily random and assigning cases as supplement. The judges handling cases shall be randomly determined, based on diversion according to the legal field and complexity of the case. Where a specialized collegial panel or specialized trial team has already been formed, cases are to be randomly divided among the collegial panel or trial team. Once a presiding judge has been determined, they must not be changed without authorization. Where it is truly necessary to change the presiding judges, due to recusal or matters such as work transfers, physical health, or risks to clean governance, the court president is to review and approve the decision in accordance with his authority, and notice of the reasons and result of the change shall be promptly given to parties and announced on the office and case-handling platforms.
In any of the following circumstances, cases may be assigned by designation: (1) cases that are major, difficult, complex or of a new types, where it is necessary that a court president or division head preside; (2) two or more ases accepted in the same batch, or associated cases, where the plaintiffs or defendant are the same, or the case grounds are the same; (3) cases brought before the court [提审]; (4) where the court president or division head has a recommendation on case assignment as needed for work; (5) other cases not suitable for random assignment. Situations of designated case assignments shall leave complete records on office and case-handling platforms.
4. In cases to be tried by a collegial panel in accordance with law, the collegial panel shall, in principle, be randomly generated. Where a specialized collegial panel or specialized trial team has already been formed, cases are to be randomly divided among the collegial panel or trial team.
Based on number of judges in a court and the court's caseload, all levels of people's court may have the court president designate a more experienced judge on a collegial panel ,who has a stronger ability to guide trial, to serve as the chief judge, or may explore implementing a system where the presiding judge serves as the chief judge. When court presidents or division heads participate in the collegial panel, they are to serve as the chief judge themselves..
5. The court president has the right to request that a judge hearing a case alone or a collegial panel report case progress and deliberation results in cases with circumstances provided in article 24 of the "Supreme People's Court' Several Opinions on Improving Judicial Responsibility Systems in the People's Courts". Where the court president or division chief has objections in the course of trial or to the outcome of deliberation on relevant cases, they must not directly modify the opinion of the collegiate panel, but may decide to submit the case to a professional judges committee or the adjudication committee for discussion.
Where, in the course of trial, judges hearing a case alone or collegial panels discover circumstances for individual case supervision provided for above, they shall actively follow procedures to report them to the court president or division head, and leave a complete record on office and case-handling platforms. Cases that have circumstances for specific types of individual case supervision, shall, in principle, apply the ordinary procedures at trial.
6. All levels of people's courts shall give full play to the professional judges' conferences and adjudication committee's roles in summarizing trial experience unifying judgment standards; and on the foundation of improving working mechanisms such as consulting similar cases and judgment guidance; a mechanism is to be established requiring the search of similar cases and relevant cases, to ensure a uniform judgment standard for similar cases, and the uniform application of law.
Court presidents and division heads shall promptly discover and handle issues on inconsistency in judgment standards, application and other such areas; through methods such as individual case supervision for designated case-types, participation in professional judges committees or adjudication committees, looking over case review outcomes, analyzing cases of changed judgments or remanded cases, hearing opinions of courts in the area, and handling all types of petition and complaint.
7. All levels of people's court shall strengthen the use of information platforms, truly advancing simultaneous entry, production, and archiving of electronic dossiers, and deep integration with office and case-handling platforms; to bring about automated supervision and management functions such as follow up on completed matters, reminders and prompts on matters awaiting completion, periodic warnings on matters that will soon expire, and prompt freezing of prohibited operations.
8. All levels of people's court shall earnestly put in place entity and supervisory responsibility for clean governance, conscientiously accept legal oversight from authorized organs, people's political consultative conferences, prosecutorial supervision, public opinion supervision and social supervision, to continuously improve the level of just judgments. Departments for organizational personnel, discipline inspection, and trial management, shall strengthen coordination and cooperation with trial operations departments and form joint forces for internal oversight, persisting in requiring inquiring into all work failures and having strict accountability.
9. Where court presidents or division heads receive complaints, reports, or feedback on situations involving adjudicators, they shall investigate and verify them in accordance with provisions. False reports shall be promptly cleared up and settled, and untruthful explanations or those verified as true are to be handled in accordance with discipline and law. The court president or division head may lawfully oversee and handle those involved with cases for which trial or enforcement has not be concluded, and follow procedural provisions to change presiding judges, members of the collegial panel, or auxiliary trial personnel; where trial of the case is completed, it is handled in accordance with the relevant provisions of procedural laws.
10. These Provisions take provisional effect from May 1, 2017.
Supreme People's Court