SPC Implementing Measures for Efforts on the Uniform Application of Law

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These Measures are formulated in consideration of the actual adjudication and enforcement work conditions of the Supreme People's Court so as to further standardize efforts on the uniform application of law by the Supreme People's Court, to ensure the uniform and correct implementation of laws, maintain judicial justice, and enhance judicial credibility,

Article 1: "Efforts on the uniform application of law" as used in these Measures includes all efforts to advance the uniform and correct implementation of laws, such as the drafting and formulating of judicial interpretations or other normative documents, the publishing of cases, implementing the system of searching for similar cases, and convening professional judges' meetings.

Article 2: The Judicial Committee of the Supreme People's Court (hereinafter referred to as the Judicial Committee) is responsible for the Supreme People's Court's efforts on the uniform application of laws.

Based on the division of duties and work, all departments are responsible for efforts on unifying the application of law such as drafting and formulating judicial interpretations and publishing cases.

The Trial Management Office (hereinafter referred to as the Trial Management Office) is responsible for efforts such as the overall planning, unified promotion, and coordinated management of the uniform application of laws.

Article 3: In handling trial and enforcement cases, all trial operations departments shall strictly abide by the legally-prescribed procedures, follow the rules of evidence, and correctly apply the law to ensure the uniform and correct implementation of laws.

Article 4: Based on the division of duties and labor, all departments shall promptly summarize experiences in situations such as difficult issues or inconsistencies in the application of law, and guide judicial practice through means such as replies to questions and meeting minutes, and, when conditions are sufficiently mature, formulate judicial interpretations or other normative documents to provide standardization.

Article 5: The Research Office is responsible for the collection, review, publication, compilation, and assessment of guiding cases. Example cases and the like that are issued by other departments must not conflict with the judgment or ruling holdings and standards in guiding cases and must not be titled as guiding cases or case guides or other similar names.

Article 6: Where case handling has any of the following situations, the presiding judge shall conduct a search for similar cases:

(1) it is to be submitted to the judicial committee or professional judges' meeting for discussion

(2) There is a lack of clear rules for judgment rules or the uniform rules for judgment have not yet been formed;

(3) it is major, difficult, complex, or sensitive;

(4) they involve mass disputes or cause widespread public interest and might affect social stability;

(5) there may be a conflict with a similar ruling or judgment of the Supreme People's Court;

(6) the unit or individual concerned reflects that the judge had illegal conduct at triall;

(7) the Supreme People's Procuratorate appeals;

(8) during the trial, the public prosecution organ, parties, or their defenders or agents ad litem submit guiding cases or effective decisions of the Supreme People's Court in support of their claims;

(9) Based on their trial oversight and management authority, the court president or division chief request that a search of similar cases be conducted.

Similar case searches may be of only guiding cases issued by the Supreme People's Court and the effective decisions and judgments of the Supreme People's Court.

Article 7: In cases where a search for similar cases shall be conducted based on article 6 of these Measures, the presiding judge shall provide an explanation of the similar case search in the trial report or create a special report on the similar case search.

The explanation or report on the search for similar cases shall objectively, comprehensively, and accurately reflect the results of the similar case search, and be submitted together for the deliberation of the collegial panel or the professional judges' meeting , compensation committee, judicial relief committee, or the judicial committee. The report on the search for similar cases shall be included in a supplementary file along with the case.

Article 8: In cases where a search for similar cases shall be conducted based on article 6 of these Measures, the collegial panel shall include the uniform standards for the application of law in the content of its deliberations.

Where,during the trial, the public prosecution organs, the parties, their defenders, or agents ad litem submit guiding cases or effective case decisions or judgments of the Supreme People's Court to support their claims, the collegial panel shall include in its deliberations whether the submitted [guiding] case, the effective decision or judgment and tare similar cases to the pending case

Article 9: Where the basic facts and application of law in a pending case are similar to a guiding case, the collegial panel shall make its decision with reference to the main points of the guiding case.

Where guiding cases are referenced, the guiding case shall be cited in the reasoning section of a decision or judgment, but must not be cited as the basis for the decision. Where a guiding case is quoted in the reasoning section of the decision or judgment, the reference number of the guiding case shall be indicated.

Article 10: Where the proposed decision outcome in a pending case is inconsistent with the standards for applying the law in a guiding case or decision or ruling from a similar case of the Supreme People's Court, or where the proposed decision outcome will form a new standard for the application of law, the collegial panel shall recommend submitting it to the departmental professional judges' meeting for discussion; where the court president or division chiefs find that the circumstances above exist for the pending case, they shall convene a meeting of the departmental professional judges' meeting for discussion in accordance with procedures.

Where a case mentioned in the preceding paragraph is not suitable to be submitted to the professional judges' meeting for discussion due to reasons such as secrecy, it may be submitted directly to the judicial committee for discussion after reporting level by level for approval by the court leader in charge.

Article 11: The Supreme People's Court is to establish and improve the mechanism of inter-departmental professional judges' meeting to study and resolve inter-departmental differences in the application of law or major issues in the application of law across fields.

Article 12: When a case is discussed by a departmental or inter-departmental professional judges' meeting, case discussion minutes and meeting minutes shall be created. The case discussion minutes and meeting minutes shall go into the supplementary file along with the case.

The minutes of inter-departmental professional judges' meetings are to be distributed to the members of the judicial (adjudication) committee and relevant trial operations departments, and the trial management office shall be responsible for sorting and archiving them.

Article 13: in accordance with their trial oversight and management authority, the responsible persons for each trial operational department shall strengthen trial management and professional guidance to ensure the uniformity of the standards for the application of law.

All trial operational departments shall analyze and research cases in which the opinions of the collegial panel, professional judges' meeting, and the decisions of the judicial committee are inconsistent, and earnestly sort out and summarize the problems of inconsistent and unclear application of law trial and enforcement practice. The Trial Management Office shall use channels such as case quality assessments and letters from the masses to promptly discover, collect and sort out issues of inconsistent and unclear application of laws.

Article 14: For problems of inconsistent and unclear application of specific laws that are discovered through the various channels, the Trial Management Office may organize research in diverse forms, propose solutions and submit them to the judicial committee for discussion and to put together specific rules for decisions and judgments in forms such as judicial (adjudication) committee resolutions on the application of law.

Article 15: The Supreme People's Court is to establish a platform and database on the uniform application of law; and based on their duties and division of labor, the Trial Management Office, Research Office, China Institute of Applied Jurisprudence, and the Information Center of the People's Court are responsible for planning, constructing, researching, developing, operating, maintaining, upgrading, and improving the platform database.

Article 16: The Trial Management Office shall promptly organize the compilation of guiding cases published by the Supreme People's Court, second instance cases, retrial cases, cases with requests for instruction, cases of enforcement reconsideration oversight from any trial operations department, cases discussed by professional judges' meetings, the compensation committee, judicial relief committees, or judicial committees, and other example cases with widespread value for guidance, and include them in the platform and database for the uniform application of law after their judgment documents have been made public online.

The standards and numbers for including death penalty review cases in the database of the Platform for the Uniform Application of Law are to be determined by each criminal tribunal based on confidentiality requirements.

Where cases discussed by the professional judges' meeting shall be included in the database of the Platform for the Uniform Application of Law, the judicial departments are to appoint dedicated personnel responsible for regularly submitting the minutes of the professional judges' meeting of the relevant cases and include them in the database of the Platform for the Uniform application of Law along with the case.

Article 17: The cases that are included in the database of the Platform for the Uniform Application of Law shall be promptly reviewed and cleared.

Where in the course of work, any departments discover cases included in the database of the Platform for the Uniform Application of Law that no longer have guiding significance or reference value, or that relevant judgments have been revised or revoked, they shall promptly notify the Trial Management Office to update them.

Article 18: All departments shall increase training in professional competence for adjudication personnel, enhancing the cultivation of competence in areas such as legal interpretation, cases analysis, searching for similar cases, and applying technology, to comprehensively increase the capacity and level of adjudication personnel for the uniform application of law.

Article 19: Circumstances such as the participation of adjudication personnel in professional judges' meetings and in sorting out case judgment rules shall be calculated as part of their workload. Where cases recommended or compiled by any department or adjudicator are confirmed as guiding cases by the judicial committee, or where research opinions on the application of specific laws are adopted by the judicial committee in forming the committee's resolution on issues of the application of law, it may be a matter for giving bonus points in performance evaluations.

Article 20: These Measures are to take effect on December 1, 2021.

 

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