People's Assessors Law (Draft)

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People's Assessors Law of the People's Republic of China (Draft)

Period for solicitation of comments:2017-12-29 to 2018-01-27

Article 1: This law is formulated so as to ensure citizens' lawful participation in trial activities, to advance judicial democracy, promote judicial fairness and enhance public trust in the judiciary.

Article 2: Citizens have the right and obligation to serve as people's assessors in accordance with law.

The people's assessors are appointed in accordance with this Law, and lawfully enjoy rights such as the right to participate in trial activities, to independently express opinions, and to receive safeguards in performing their duties.

The people's assessors shall faithfully perform their duties as assessors, safeguard adjudicatory secrets, observe judicial etiquette, and preserve the judicial image.

Article 3: People's assessors lawfully participating in trial activities are protected by law.

People's courts shall lawfully protect people's assessors participating in trial activities.

People's assessors' units and the basic level organizations for the place of their household registration or habitual residence shall lawfully protect people's assessors' participation in trial activities.

Article 4: Citizens serving as people's assessors shall have the following qualifications:

(1) Uphold the Constitution of the People's Republic of China;

(2) Be at least 28 years old;

(3) Have good conduct and be moral and just;

(4) Have the physical capacity to perform their duties normally.

Those serving as people's assessors shall usually have a high school education or higher.

Article 5: The following persons cannot serve as people's assessors:

(1) Constituent members of the standing committees of people's congresses, and the staff of Supervision Commissions, people's courts, people's procuratorates, public security organs, state security organs, and judicial-administrative organs

(2) Practicing lawyers, grass-root legal service workers, and other people working in the legal service sector;

(3) People unsuitable to serve as people's assessors due to other reasons.

Article 6: The following persons must not serve as people's assessors:

(1) Those who have received criminal penalties for having committed a crime;

(2) Those who have been dismissed from public office;

(3) Those who have been excused from duties as a people's assessor because of receiving a punishment.

Article 7: The number of people's assessors is submitted by a basic-level people's court to the standing committee of the people's congress at the same level for determination.

The number of people's assessors is not less than three times the number of judges sitting in that court.

Article 8: The people's assessors for the basic level people's courts are to randomly selected from the list of eligible local permanent residents.

As needed for trial activities, a certain proportion of people's assessors may be generated through personal application or recommendation by their units or the basic level organizations for their place of household registration or habitual residence. Specific measures are to be formulated by the Supreme People's Court.

Article 9: Every 5 years, the basic level people's courts will randomly select more than five times the number of judges of local people from the permanent residents lists to serve as candidates for people's assessor, and will establish a databank of people's assessor candidates.

The public security organs shall provide the basic level people's courts with local permanent residents lists, and conduct a review of whether they have criminal records based on the criminal record information they control.

Article 10: The basic level people's courts, together with the judicial-administrative organs at the same level, will conduct qualification reviews of the candidates for people's assessor, soliciting opinions from the candidates, and randomly select and determine the people's assessors from the list of candidates approved by the court, with the court president requesting their appointment from the standing committee of the people's congress at the same level.

Article 11: Those selected as people's assessors shall take a public oath together.

Article 12: People's assessors serve terms of five years. After the term is completed, their function as people's assessors will automatically cease.

People's assessors generally must not be re-selected.

Article 13: In cases heard by a collegial panel formed of people's assessors and judges, a judge is to serve as chief judge. A three-member collegial panel may be formed, and a seven-member collegial panel may be formed with three judges and people's assessors.

Article 14: In any of the following situations, people's courts' first-instance trial of criminal, civil, or administrative cases may be conducted by a collegial panel jointly composed of people's assessor and judges, except in cases where the law provides that it is to be heard by a single judge or a collegial panel of judges:

(1) group interests are involved;

(2) the public interest is involved;

(3) it has widespread public attention;

(4) it otherwise has a larger social impact.

Article 15: The following first-instance cases shall be tried by seven-person collegiate panels composed of three judges and people's assessors:

(1) Criminal cases having great social impact where a sentence of 10 years or more imprisonment or indeterminate detention might be given;

(2) Lawsuits filed pursuant to Article 55 of the "Civil Procedure Law of the People's Republic of China" or paragraph 4 of Article 25 of "he Administrative Litigation Law of the People's Republic of China";

(3) Other major cases involving land requisition and demolishing, environmental protection, food and drug safety, and other such social public interest.

Article 16: Where the defendants in a first-instance criminal trial, the plaintiffs or the defendants in a first-instance civil trial, or the plaintiffs in a first-instance administrative trial apply to have people's assessors participate in the collegial panel for trial, the people's court is to arrange for trial by a collegial panel jointly composed of people's assessors and judges.

Article 17: Recusal of people's assessors, is enforced with reference to the legal provisions on recusal of judges.

Article 18: Where cases tried by basic level people's court shall have people's assessors participate in the collegial panel for trial in accordance with law, they shall be randomly selected and designated from the list of people's assessors.

Where cases tried by intermediate or high people's courts shall have people's assessors participate in the collegial panel for trial in accordance with law, they shall be randomly selected and designated from the lists of people's assessors for the basic level people's courts in the jurisdiction.

Article 19: The chief judge shall perform obligations to direct and prompt related to the trial of the case, but must not impede people's assessors independent judgment on the case.

When there is a seven-person collegial panel, the chief judge shall conduct necessary clarifications of issues and matters of concern such as qualification of evidence, the probative value of evidence, and litigation procedures.

Article 20: People's assessors participating in three-person collegial panels' to hear cases, deliberation of cases, are to independently express their views on the determination of facts and the application of law, and exercise voting rights.

Article 21: people's assessor participating in seven-person collegial panels to hear cases, are to independently express their views on facts the determination of fact and jointly vote with judges; they may express views on the application of law, but are not to participate in voting.

Article 22: When the collegial panel deliberates a case, it carries out the principle of majority rule. Where people's assessors disagree with other members of the collegial panel, their opinions shall be recorded.

Where there are major disagreements in the opinions of the court president members, people's assessors or judges may request that the collegial panel submit the case to the court president for a decision on whether or not to send the case to the adjudication committee for discussion and decision.

Article 23: People's courts shall synthesize the actual conditions in their jurisdictional region and reasonably determine the maximum number of cases that a people's assessor will participate in annually, and make a public announcement.

Article 24: The people's courts together with the judicial-administrative organs of the same level are responsible for routine management of people's assessors' work such as their training, performance evaluations, commendation and sanctioning.

Article 25: People's assessors who have notable achievements or have other outstanding deeds in trial work are to be commended and rewarded in accordance with the relevant provisions.

Article 26: In any of the following circumstances, upon confirmation by a basic level people's court together with the judicial-administrative organ of the same level, the president of the basic level people's court is to request the standing committee of the people's congress for the same level remove people's assessors from their position.

(1) Those who apply to resign from the people's assessor position themselves;

(2) Those who refuse to participate in trial activities without legitimate reasons, impacting the normal conduct of trial work;

(3) Those having any of the circumstances listed in Article 5 or Article 6 of this Law;

(4) Those violating laws or regulations relevant to trial work, twisting the law for personal gain, causing judgment errors or other serious consequences.

People's assessors with the conduct listed in items (2)or(4) of the preceding paragraph may carry out discipline by notifying the unit they are in or the basic level organization for their place of household registration or habitual residence, and public announcement in the area where they live; where a crime is constituted, criminal responsibility is pursued in accordance with law.

Article 27: When people's assessors have a workplace, their units must not withhold or indirectly withhold their salary, bonuses, or other benefits for the period in which they participate in trial activities.

Where people's assessors' units violate the provisions of the preceding paragraph, the basic level people's courts shall promptly make a corrective opinion to the people's assessor's unit, or the competent department for the unit, or the department at the level above the unit.

For the period that people's assessors who lack fixed income participate in trial activities, the people's courts are to refer to the average local salary level for the previous year to give compensation based on the actual number of work days.

Article 28: Expenses such as for transportation and food that are paid by people's assessors due to participation in trial activities, are to be compensated by the people's courts with reference to the standard allowances for business travel by ordinary local staff of State organs.

For the period in which people's assessors participate in trial activities, the people's courts are to handle accident injury insurance for people's assessors, and include the costs of their accident injury insurance in that year's operational expenses budget.

Article 29: People's assessors shall enjoy subsidies for participating in trial activities, and the payments that the people's courts and judicial-administrative organs needed to make for implementation of the assessor system are to be included in the people's courts and judicial-administrative organs operational expenses, and have corresponding government finance assurances.

Article 30: This Law takes effect on xx-xx-xxxx. The "Decision of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on Improving the People's Assessor System", adopted by the 11th Session of the Standing Committee of the 10th National People's Congress on August 28, 2004, is simultaneously repealed.

 

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