Criminal Procedure Timing Chart

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Case-handling organ Stage of the proceedings Legal provisions Principal Content Case-handling Period
months Days
The maximum period for the investigation phase is seven months
Public Security Organ Custody Article 89 Where it is necessary to arrest a person in custody, a request for approval of arrest shall be submitted within 3 days of taking them into custody 3
In exceptional cases, the period for requesting arrest may be extended by 1-4 days 4-7
An extension of 30 days may be given for those suspected of committing crimes across multiple regions, committing multiple crimes, or cases of gang crimes. 30
Procuratorate Review for Arrest Article 89 The procuratorate conducts a review of cases submitted for approval of arrest and makes a decision to approve or not approve arrest 7
Public Security Organ Investigation Article 154 The case investigation period of a suspect after arrest is approved must not exceed 2 months 2
Where the circumstances of the case are complicated and the case cannot be completed by the completion of the period, it may be extended 1 month upon the approval of the people's procuratorate at the level above. 1
Article 156 An extension of 2 months may be given in cases from outlying areas where transportation is very difficult, where the case is major and complicated, involves major criminal syndicates, involves crimes were committed in many locations, or the crimes cover a broad area and evidence is difficult to gather and case-handling cannot be completed within the 3 months above. 2
An extension of 2 months may be given where a punishment of 10 years imprisonment or more might be given, and investigation cannot be completed in accordance with article 126. 2
Procuratorate Article 165 In cases directly accepted by the people's procuratorates, where it is found necessary to arrest a person in custody, a decision shall be made within 14 days 14
In exceptional circumstances, the period for deciding to arrest may be extended by 1-4 days 1-4
Article 162 Investigation in cases directly accepted by the people's procuratorates apply the provisions of this Chapter
The maximum length of the review for prosecution phase is 6.5 months
Procuratorate Article 169 The people's procuratorates shall make a decision on cases transferred for prosecution by the public security organs within 1 month 1
An extension of half a month may be given in major, complicated cases 0.5
Article 171 Cases of supplementary investigation shall complete the supplemental investigation within one month. Supplementary investigation is limited to 2 times. After supplementary investigation is completed and sent to the procuratorate, the people's procuratorate newly calculates the time period for review for prosecution.
Public Security Organ The first supplementary investigation 1
Procuratorate The Procuratorate restarts calculation of the time period for review for prosecution 1
May be extended by half a month in major, complicated cases .5
Public Security Organ The second supplementary investigation 1
Procuratorate The Procuratorate restarts calculation of the time period for review for prosecution Ordinary Circumstances 1
May be extended by half a month in major, complicated cases .5
The Time Period for First Instance Trial is at most 13 Months
Public Prosecutions Article 202 People's courts hearing public prosecution cases shall make a judgment within two months of accepting the case, and at the latest must not exceed 3 months. 3
In cases that might receive a death sentence or cases that have attached civil litigation, as well as those that have a circumstance provided for in article 156 of this law (4 types of case), an extension of 3 months may be given upon approval of the the people's court at the level above. 3
In cases following the second paragraph of article 198 of this law for an extension of trial period (where procurators discover the need for supplementary investigation in a case being raised for public prosecution and submit a recommendation) , the people's procuratorates shall complete supplementary investigation within one month. 1
In cases where the people's procuratorate supplements investigation, after the supplemental investigation is complete and sent to the people's court, the people's court newly calculates the trial period. 6
Private Prosecutions Article 206 Where people's courts hear private prosecution cases and the defendant is detained, apply the provisions of the first and second paragraphs of [CPL] article 202. 6
Where suspects are not detained, a judgment shall be made within 6 months of accepting a case 6
Simplified Procedures Article 214 People's courts shall conclude trial within 20 days of accepting a case
An extension of half a month may be given where a sentence of more than 3 years imprisonment might be given 1.5
The Time Period for Second Instance Trial Is at Most 4 Months
Second-instance trial court Article 232 Trial shall be concluded within two months 2
Cases that might receive a death sentence or cases that have attached civil litigation, as well as cases that have any any of the circumstances provided for in article 156 of this law (4 types of case), may be extended 2 months upon the approval or decision of the high court for a province, autonomous region or directly governed municipality. 2
The Time Period for Retrial is at Most 4 Months
Retrial Court Article 247 Cases where the people's court have a new trial in accordance with trial supervision procedures, shall complete trial within 3 months of the decision to appeal up or retry. 3
Where extension is necessary, it must not exceed 6 months 6
No Fixed Time Period
Investigation Phase Article 155 In especially significant or complicated cases where, due to special situations, the case is not proper to transfer for trial over a relatively long period of time, the Supreme People's Procuratorate will report to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress for approval on an extension for trial.
Trial Phase First-Instance Trial Article 202 Where extensions are still required due to exceptional circumstance, report to the Supreme People's Court for approval
Second-instance Trial Article 232 Where extensions are still required due to exceptional circumstance, report to the Supreme People's Court for approval
Trial periods for appeals and procuratorate counter-appeals accepted by the Supreme People's Court are determined by the Supreme People's Court
There is no clear time limit for death penalty review procedures
Circumstances Calling for the Case-Handling Time Period to be Retolled
Investigation Article 158 Where it is discovered during the investigation period that the suspect has committed other major offenses, follow article 154 of this law in restarting the period for investigative case handling from the date of discovery.
Review for Prosecution Article 169 Where the people's procuratorate is reviewing a case for prosecution and changes jurisdiction, the time period for review for prosecution should be newly counted from the date at which the people's procuratorate with jurisdiction after the change receives the case.
Article 171 Cases of supplementary investigation shall complete the supplemental investigation within one month. Supplementary investigation is limited to 2 times. After supplementary investigation is completed and sent to the procuratorate, the people's procuratorate newly calculates the time period for review for prosecution.
Court Article 202 In case where the people's courts change jurisdiction, the time period for trial is newly calculated from the date on which the people's court with jurisdiction after the change receives the case.
"Criminal Procedure Interpretation" First-Instance Trial Article 298 Where first-instance cases using simplified procedures that are converted to cases of using ordinary procedures, the period is newly calculated from the day on which the case is converted to ordinary procedures.
Retrial Article 230 Where the second-instance people's court remands a case for retrial in the original court, the original people's court newly calculates the time period from the date on which it receives the remanded case.
Situations not calculated within the Case-Handling Time Period:
Extended Trial Period Article 198 Where any of the following situations are encountered during the course of trial at court, impacting the conduct of trial, trial may be extended:

(1) It is necessary to notify new witnesses to appear in court , to collect new physical evidence, or the hold a new appraisal or inquisition.

(2) Procurators discover that a case raised for prosecution requires supplementary investigation and make a suggestion.

(3) Trial cannot be conducted because of an application for recusal.

Extended trial is ordinarily calculated into the trial period

Suspension of Trial Article 200

Where there are any of the following circumstances in the course of trial, making it so that there is no way to complete trial for a quite long time, trial may be suspended:

(1) the defendant has a serious illness and is unable to appear in court;

(2) the defendant has fled

(3) a private prosecutor has contracted a serious illness, is unable to appear in court and has not retained an agent ad litem to appear in court;

(4) due to reasons that cannot be controlled.

Trial should be resumed when the reasons for the suspension have disappeared.

The period for which trial is suspended is not calculated within the trial period

Article 147 The period of forensic mental evaluation of a criminal suspect is not calculated into the case-handling period
Second-instance Trial Article 224 The people's court for the second instance trial shall promptly notify the people's procuratorate to review the case file after deciding to hold in-court trial proceedings. The people's procuratorate shall complete this review within 1 month, beginning from the second day after being so notified. People's courts for second instance trial of appeals or procuratorial counter-appeals from death sentences shall notify the people's procuratorate to review the case file 10 days before court proceedings begin. Article 7 of the 2006 "Provisions on In-court proceedings in Second-Instance Death Penalty Cases (Provisional)" ;

The procuratorates' time reviewing the case file beyond 7 days is not included in the trial time limits for second-instance criminal trials. Article 9 of the 2000 "Provisions on Trial Time Limits".

The two provisions above conflict with Article 320 of the newly revised Criminal Procedure Law and its interpretation.

"Criminal Procedure Interpretation" Article 256 Where a defender is separately retained or a lawyer appointed, the defender prepares the defense from the day on which adjournment is announced, and concluding on the 15th day, except where the defendant and the defender voluntarily reduce this time.

Article 9, paragraph 2 of the "Trial Limit Provisions" has a conflict here: Where the court decides to extend trial in a criminal case because a defender has been separately retained or appointed; the period from the announcement of the extension of trial until 10 days after is for preparation of a defense;

The starting point for calculation of case handling time limits:
Article 158 Where a criminal suspect does not truthfully state their name and address, and their identity is unclear, an investigation shall be conducted into their identity, and the case-handling time limits are calculated from the day on which their identity is clarified.
Provisions on Trial period Article 8 The trial period for a case is calculated from the the day the case is filed

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