Organic Law of the People's Courts of the P.R.C. (2018 Revision)

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Promulgation Date: 2018-10-26Title:P.R.C. People's Courts Organic Law[Document Number]Expiration date: Promulgating Entities:Standing Committee of the National People's CongressSource of text: http://www.npc.gov.cn/npc/xinwen/2018-10/26/content_2064483.htm

Order of the President of the PRC
No. 11

The "P.R.C. People's Courts Organic Law" has been revised by the 6th Session of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People's Congress on October 26, 2018; the revised "P.R.C. People's Courts Organic Law" is hereby promulgated, to take effect on January 1, 2019.

Xi Jinping, President of the People's Republic of China
October 26, 2018

P.R.C. People's Courts Organic Law

(The "People's Courts Organic Law of the People's Republic of China" was passed by the second session of the 5th National People's Congress on July 1, 1979; It was amended for the first time on September 2, 1983 based on the "Decision on Amending the "People's Courts Organic Law of the People's Republic of China" adopted at the 2nd session of the Standing Committee of the 6th National People's Congress; and it was amended for the second time on December 2, 1986 based on the "Decision on Amending the "Organic Law on All Levels of People's Congress and All levels of People's Government" adopted at the 18th session of the Standing Committee of the 6th National People's Congress; It was amended for the third time on October 31, 2006 based on the "Decision on Amending the "People's Courts Organic Law of the People's Republic of China" adopted at the 24th session of the Standing Committee of the 10th National People's Congress; and is amended on October 26, 2018, by the 6th session of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People's Congress. )

Table of Contents

P.R.C. People's Courts Organic Law

Chapter I: General Provisions

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

Chapter III: People's Courts' Trial Organizations

Chapter IV: Composition of People's Courts' Personnel

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, organization, 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 are the State's adjudication organs.

Through hearing criminal cases, civil cases, administrative cases, and other cases prescribed by law, the people's courts punish crime, ensure that the innocent are not prosecuted, resolve civil and administrative disputes, protect the lawful rights and interests of individuals and organizations, oversee administrative organs' lawful exercise of their authority, preserve national security and social order, preserve social fairness and justice, preserve the uniformity, dignity, and authority of the state's legal system, and ensure that socialism with Chinese characteristics is smoothly established.

Article 3: People's courts are established in accordance with the Constitution, laws, and decisions of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.

Article 4: 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 5: The law is applied equally to all cases heard by the people's courts, no organization or individual is permitted to have privileges exceeding the law, and discrimination in any form is prohibited.

Article 6: People's courts are to uphold judicial fairness; take facts as their basis and having law as their measure; obey the legally-prescribed procedures; lawfully protect the procedural rights, and other lawful rights and interests, of individuals and organizations; and respect and protect human rights.

Article 7: People's courts carry out judicial openness, except as otherwise provided by law.

Article 8: People's courts are to implement judicial responsibility systems, establishing and completing operating mechanisms for the judicial powers that integrate power and responsibility.

Article 9: 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.

Each level of people's congress and their standing committees carry out oversight of the work people's courts at that level.

Article 10: The Supreme People's Court highest trial organ.

The Supreme People's Court supervises trial work of all levels of local people's court and specialized people's courts, and higher level people's courts supervise the trial work of lower level people's courts.

Article 11: People's courts shall accept oversight of the masses, and safeguard the masses' enjoyment of the rights to know of, participate in, and supervise the people's courts' work in accordance with law.

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) Various levels of local people's courts;

(3) Specialized people's courts.

Article 13: The levels of local people’s courts are divided into: higher people’s courts, intermediate people’s courts and basic level people's courts.

Article 14: The organization, scope of case jurisdiction, and appointment or removal of judges in people's court established in the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, are to be in accordance with relevant provisions of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.

Article 15: The specialized people's courts include military courts, maritime courts, intellectual property courts, financial courts, and so forth.

The set up, organization, authority, and appointment and removal of judges for specialized people's courts is to be in accordance with provisions of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.

Article 16: The Supreme People's Court tries the following cases:

(1) first-instance trial cases for which jurisdiction is provided by law or that it finds it shall have jurisdiction over itself;

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

(3) Cases of appeals or counter-appeals initiated in accordance with provisions of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress;

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

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

Article 17: Death sentences shall be submitted to the Supreme People’s Court for approval, except for those lawfully imposed in by the Supreme People’s Court.

Article 18: The Supreme People's Court may conduct interpretation of specific issues on the application of law in trial work.

The Supreme People's Court may release guiding cases.

Article 19: The Supreme People's Court may establish circuit divisions, to try cases designated by the Supreme People's Court in accordance with law.

Circuit court divisions are a component part of the Supreme People's Court. Judgments, rulings, and decisions made by the circuit court divisions are as judgments, rulings and decisions of the Supreme People's Court.

Article 20: 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 21: High People's Courts hear the following cases:

(1) first-instance trial cases for which their jurisdiction is provided by law;

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

(3) first-instance trial cases for which the Supreme People's Court has designated jurisdiction;

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

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

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

Article 22: Intermediate people’s courts include:

(1) the intermediate people’s courts of municipalities governed by provinces or autonomous regions;

(2) intermediate people’s courts established in directly governed municipalities;

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

(4) intermediate people’s courts established based on geographical regions in a province or autonomous region.

Article 23: Intermediate people's courts hear the following cases:

(1) first-instance trial cases for which their jurisdiction is provided by law;

(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;

Article 24: Basic level people's courts include:

(1) County, and autonomous county people's courts;

(2) people's courts of undistricted municipalities;

(3) people’s courts of municipal districts.

Article 25: Except as otherwise provided for by law, basic level people's courts hear first-instance criminal and civil cases.

Basic level people's courts conduct operational guidance for people's mediation committees' mediation work.

Article 26: Basic level people's courts may set up a number of people’s court division [tribunal] on the basis of regional, population or cases conditions.

People's court divisions are component parts of basic level people's courts. Judgments, rulings, and decisions made by people's court divisions are judgments, rulings and decisions of the basic level people's courts People's Court.

Article 27: As required for trial work, people's courts may establish necessary specialized trial divisions. Intermediate and basic level people's courts where the number of judges is lower, may establish comprehensive trial divisions or not establish trial divisions.

As required for trial work, people's courts may establish a comprehensive operations body. Intermediate and basic level people's courts where the number of judges is lower, may decide not to establish comprehensive operations bodies.

Article 28: As required for trial work, people's courts may establish necessary trial assistance bodies. and administrative management bodies.

Chapter III: Trial organization of People's Courts

Article 29: People's courts hearing of cases is by a collegial panel or a a single judge hearing the case alone.

The range of cases heard by collegial panels and by 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 have one judge act as the chief judge. When court presidents or division chiefs participate in the hearing of a case, they serve as 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 shall be made by a majority opinion through 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: Collegial panel decisions shall be made by a majority opinion through case deliberation, and the minority opinions shall be recorded in the record.

Article 33: In cases heard by a collegial panel, judges are responsible for the determination of facts and the application of law; in cases heard by a single judge, the single judge is responsible for the determination of facts and application of law.

People's courts shall strengthen internal oversight, and where trial activities have unlawful circumstances, shall promptly investigate and verify, and handle the unlawful circumstances in accordance with law.

Article 34: People's assessors participate in collegial panels' hearing of cases in accordance with 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 shall be 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 adjudication committee is comprised of the court president, vice-presidents, and several senior judges, and shall have an odd number of members.

Meetings of the adjudication committee are divided into plenary meetings and special committee meetings.

As required for trial work, intermediate people's courts and higher may establish specialized committee meetings, such as for criminal, civil, and administrative trials, to discuss and decide major or difficult cases, in accordance with the division of adjudication committee members' specializations and division of labor.

Article 37: The adjudication committee performs the following functions:

(1) Summarizing trial work experience;

(2) Discussing and deciding upon the application of law in major, difficult or complicated cases;

(3) Discussing and deciding whether there should be a retrial on already effective judgments, rulings, and mediation certificates;

(4) Discussing and deciding upon other major issues related to trial work.

The Supreme People's Court's interpretations of issues on the specific application of law in trial work shall be upon discussion and adoption by a plenary meeting of the adjudication committee; release of guiding cases may be by discussed and adopted by meeting of the adjudication committee special committee's.

Article 38: Adjudication committees convening plenary meetings and speciall committee meetings shall have at least half of the meetings members present.

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 39: 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 vote. The collegial panel shall implement the adjudication committee's decision.

The decision and reasoning in cases discussed by the adjudication committee shall be disclosed in the judgment documents, except where the law provides it will not be open.

Chapter IV: Composition of People's Courts' Personnel

Article 40: The adjudication personnel of people's courts are comprises of the court president, vice-presidents, adjudication committee members, and adjudicators.

Article 41: 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 42: The President of the Supreme People’s Court is elected by the National People’s Congress, and its vice-presidents, adjudication committee members, division heads, deputy division heads, and other adjudicators are appointed or removed by request of the court president to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress.

The appointment and removal of division heads and deputy division heads of Supreme People's Court circuit court divisions is by request of the president of the Supreme People's Court's to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress.

Article 43: The president of all levels of local people’s court are elected by that level of People’s Congress, and its vice-presidents, adjudication committee members, division heads, deputy division heads, and adjudicators, are appointed or removed by request of the court president to the Standing Committee of that level of People’s Congress.

The presidents of intermediate courts established in provinces, autonomous regions, and directly governed municipalities, are selected and removed by the Standing Committee of the provincial, autonomous region, or directly governed municipality people's congress; the vice-presidents, adjudication committee members, and adjudicators are removed upon request of the President of the High People's Court to the Standing Committee of the provincial, autonomous region, or directly governed municipality.

Article 44: The term of office of presidents of people’s courts is the same as that of people’s congress delegates that produced them.

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 when the congress is not in session, it shall report to the standing committee of the people’s congress at the next higher level for approval.

Article 45: Categorical management is implemented for people's court judges, trial support personal, and judicial administration personnel.

Article 46: A personnel ratio system is implemented for judges. The personnel ratio of judges is determined on the basis of factors such as the case volume, the economic and social development situation, the population size, and the level of people's court.

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 47: Judges are selected from among those that have legal professional qualifications and have other requirements provided by law. The judicial selection committee is to review the professional capacity of judges serving a first term. Preference is general given to judges of lower level people's courts in selecting higher level people's court 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, procurators, or other persons the requirements for being judges or procurators.

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

Article 48: People's courts' judges' assistants are responsible for trial support matters such as the inspection of case 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 49: Clerks of people's courts are responsible for trial support matters such making records of courtroom trials.

Article 50: Judicial police of people's courts are responsible for 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 51: As required for trial work, people's courts may establish judicial technicians, responsible for matters related to trial work.

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

Article 52: Units and individuals must not request that judges engage in tasks beyond the scope of their duties.

Where leading cadres and others interfere with judicial activities or tampering with the handling of specific cases, or internal people's court personnel pry into cases, the case handling personnel shall fully and truthfully record and report it, and the relevant organs are to pursue the perpetrators' responsibility.

Article 53: 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 54: People's courts are to 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 55: People's courts implement a system of training by which judges, trial support personnel and judicial administrative personnel shall receive theoretical and operational training.

Article 56: Special management is carried out for people's court personnel allotments.

Article 57: 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.

Article 58: People's courts shall strengthen the establishment of informatization, utilizing modern information technologies to promote judicial openness and increase efficiency.

Chapter VI: SupplementalProvisions

Article 59: This Law takes effect on January 1, 2019.

 

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