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Opinion on Further Advancing Optimization of Judicial Resources by Distinguishing Complicated and Simple Cases

Title: Supreme People's Court Several Opinions On Further Advancing Optimization Of Judicial Resources By Distinguishing Complicated And Simple Cases
Promulgating Entities: Supreme People's Court
Reference number: Legal Release (2016) No. 21
Promulgation Date: 2016-9-12
Expiration date: 
Source of text:

Supreme People's Court Several Opinions On Further Advancing Optimization Of Judicial Resources By Distinguishing Complicated And Simple Cases

Legal Release (2016) No. 21

The following Opinions On Further Advancing Optimization Of Judicial Resources By Distinguishing Complicated And Simple Cases are hereby put forward on the basis of the "The Civil Procedure Law", "Criminal Procedure Law", "Administrative Litigation Law" and other such legal provisions, so as to further optimize judicial resources, increase judicial efficiency, promote judicial fairness, reduce the cost of litigation for parties, and protect the public's lawful rights and interests.

1. Follow judicial rules to advance the diversion of complicated and simple cases. Scientifically allot and effectively utilize adjudication resources, quickly trying simple cases in accordance with law and strictly regulating the trial of complicated cases, to realize fast trial of simple cases and careful trial of complicated cases. On the basis of factors such as case facts, application of law, and social impact; select appropriate trial procedures to use, regulate connections for transfer between different procedures, so that those that should be complicated or simple are addressed as appropriately as such, and strive to obtain a better legal effect at a smaller judicial cost.

2. Advance screening and diversion in the case filing context. On the basis of legal provisions, all levels of local people's court are to scientifically draft standards for distinguishing simple and complicated cases and rules for diversion, and primarily use random distribution of cases over designated distribution of cases, to ensure that simple cases are promptly tried by people's courts and expedited trial teams, and cases that are a series or group, or related, are in principle to be heard by the same trial organization. In cases where it is difficult to promptly and accurately assess the level of complexity, the case-filing, trial, and trial management departments shall promptly communicate and discuss, to ensure orderly and efficient case distribution.

3. Improve procedures and methods of service. Where parties have stipulated an address for service before the dispute occurred, the people's courts may use that adress as the confirmed address for service of litigation documents. When parties' submit complaints or responses they shall follow provisions to complete a document confirming the address for service. Actively utilize electronic methods of service: where parties agree to electronic service, electronic delivery addresses such as fax numbers, emails, and Wechat accounts shall be confirmed. Fully use the China Case Flow Information Disclosure Network, establishing a unified platform for electronic service for all of the nation's courts. Improve the national postal service to process service by means of special courier.

4. Give play to the advantages of the speedy trial procedures in civil trials. Based on the provisions of the Civil Procedure Law and its judicial interpretation, actively guide the parties of both sides to stipulate to the application of the summary procedures in hearing Civil Cases. In simple civil cases where the amount in question exceeds the standards, or in civil cases where the amount in question is below the standard but the case does not have the circumstance provided for in article 157 of the Civil Procedure Law, where both parties have stipulated to using the small claims procedures, the small claims procedures may be applied at trial. Lawfully apply the special procedures for cases of realization of rights in security interests. In cases in which creditors seek debtors to give over funds or securities, actively guide the parties to shift to the procedures for hastening [debt collection], and expand the use of electronic payment orders.

5. Innovate working mechanisms for the expedited criminal procedures. Summarize the experiences of the pilot projects on criminal expedited procedures, strengthening links and coordination between investigation, indictment, and trial procedures. Expand the establishment expedited trial offices in places such as detention centers and law enforcement case-handling units, promoting the sharing of case information and the shift to paperless case files, advancing the simplification and acceleration of case-handling.

6. Simplify procedures for hearing administrative cases. In administrative cases that have be filed but do not meet the requirements for initiating litigation, where upon reading the case file, investigation and questioning the parties it is found that it is not necessary to open court for trial, a ruling may be made to reject the lawsuit. Explore establishing working mechanisms for administrative expedited judgments in cases where the facts are clear, the rights and obligations are clear, and there is not much disagreement.

7. Explore the implementation of model proceedings. In civil or administrative cases that are of a series or group, select one or more cases to go forward as model litigation and refer to its judgment conclusions in handling other similar cases, using individual model case handling to drive forward high efficiency resolution of case batches.

8. Promote the method of hearing cases in concentrated times. In civil cases applying the summary procedures and minor criminal cases applying either the expedited or summary procedures, carry out concentrated case-filing, transfer, scheduling, court sessions, and judgment announcements; with the same trial organization hearing several cases in succession during the same time period.

9. Give play to the function of pre-trial conferences. Judges, or judicial assistants with the guidance of judges, preside over and convene pre-trial conferences, and handle procedural matters such as resolving and verifying the identities of the parties, organizing the exchange of evidence catalogs, and initiating the exclusion of illegal evidence. In cases that are appropriate for mediation, actively use the pre-trial conference to urge parties to settle or reach a mediation agreement. For facts and evidence that have already been determine as not being in dispute at the pre-trial conference, after an explanation at court, the presentation and debate of evidence may be simplified; for facts and evidence that are in dispute, summarize the points in contention after soliciting the parties' opinions.

10. Innovate methods for court proceedings. In civil or criminal cases applying the summary procedures, court sessions may be conducted by means of remote video with the parties consent. Witnesses, evaluators, and victims may testify by use of audio-visual transmission technology or simultaneous video testimony.

11. Promote reform of methods for trial records. Actively use smart voice recognition technology to being about simultaneous transcription of courtroom language to form court records. Implement the requirement that courtroom activity be fully recorded, and explore using courtroom recordings to simplify or replace court records by the clerk.

12. Advance reforms in the methods for hearing civil trials. Civil cases in which the small claims procedures are applied may conduct hearing directly revolving around the case demands, and are not subject to procedural restrictions on courtroom investigation and courtroom debate and so forth. In civil cases where the case elements and key point for trial are relatively concentrated, trial procedures may be determined on the basis of the relevant factors together with the litigation demands, conducting courtroom investigation and courtroom debate revolving around the factors in contention.

13. Explore reform of trial methods for cases where guilt is admitted and punishment is accepted. In cases where the defendant admits guilt and accepts punishment, explore simplifying court trial procedures, but the final statement of the defendant shall be heard. Where the criminal expedited procedures are applied at trial, it is allowable to not again conduct courtroom investigation and debate; in cases being heard under the criminal summary procedures, are not subject to procedural limits such as on courtroom investigation and courtroom debate.

14. Promote judgments at court. In principal, the judgement should be announced at court in civil cases applying the small claims procedures, and criminal cases applying the expedited procedures. The judgment should generally be announced at court in civil, criminal, or administrative cases applying the summary procedures. In civil, criminal or administrative cases applying the ordinary procedures, gradually increase the rate at which judgments are announced at court.

15. Promote distinction of judgment documents in complicated and simple cases. On the basis of the level of court, type of case, and trial situation, distinguish the structure and reasoning of judgment documents in complicated and simple cases. Complicated cases' judgment documents shall carry out focused explanation of reasoning rotating around the points of contention. Increase explanation of reasoning in new types of cases and cases that have value as guidance; other simple cases may use simple judgment document styles such as writ, components, or forms for a simplified explanation of reasoning. In cases where the verdict is announced at court, the judgment document may be appropriately simplified. In civil cases where performance will happen immediately at court, upon all parties' consent, it is allowed that a further judgment document not be released after the relevant circumstances are written into the court records.

16. Improve linkage mechanisms for second-instance cases. Actively guide parties, lawyers, and others in submitting electronic litigation materials, advancing the establishment of smart-courts and the digitization of litigation archives, using electronic methods for transferring cases, and accelerating transfer of case files between higher and lower courts. Optimize second-instance trial methods, carrying our hearings that rotate around all areas of contention in the litigation, and avoiding unnecessary redundancy between the second-instance and first-instance trial judgment documents. Increase the standardization of second-instance trial judgments, clarifying the rules for judgments and other functions.

17. Make the ratio of people assigned to each case more scientific. On a foundation of accurate measurements of personnel numbers, cases numbers, and work volume, dynamically adjust the trial resources of different courts and different trial departments. On the basis of court levels, the complexity of cases, and other relevant factors, rationally determine the deployment ratio of judges, judicial assistants, and clerks; scientifically delineating the functions, status, and interrelations of each, to bring the advantages of the adjudication team into play to the greatest extent possible.

18. Promote specialization in judgments. On a foundation of fully considering judges' capacity to handle cases, their experience, specialties and other factors; designate specialized trial organizations for hearing categories of cases based on the different types of cases, and designate specialized adjudicators for handing simple cases and complicated cases. Advance the establishment of standardized case handling, establish case working system. Construct a rotation mechanism for judge posts, improving the performance assessment system, inspiring and preserving the vitality of the adjudication teams.

19. Advance centralized management of trial assistance matters. On the basis of actual trial needs, arrange for specialized trial support personnel in departments such as the litigation services center or the trial operations department, centralizing trial support matters such as responsibility for service, scheduling court sessions, safe keeping, evaluation and assessment, and uploading documents.

20. Improve diversified dispute resolution mechanisms. Promote all types of governance body, such as comprehensive management organizations, administrative organs, people's mediation organizations, industry mediation organizations, mediation, arbitration institutions, and notarial institutions, to play a preventive and resolving conflicts and disputes, improving the construction of platforms for connecting litigation and mediation work, strengthen organic links between litigation and non-litigation dispute resolution methods, and promote pre-trial diversion of disputes. Improve settlement and mediation in criminal proceedings. Promote administrative mediation, administrative settlement, actively support administrative organs in lawfully adjudicating civil disputes that are closely related to administrative management activities.

21. Give play to lawyers' role in litigation. Actively support lawyers lawful practice, ensuring their practice rights, and giving importance to lawyers comments on diversion of cases by complexity and procedural choices, actively promoting lawyers participation in settlement, appellate representation, and other such work.

22. Guide parties in good faith, rational litigation. Increase the degree of struggle against false litigation, malicious litigation, and other dishonest litigation conduct, giving full play to litigation costs and lawyers fees as leverage to adjust parties' litigation conduct, and urge parties to choose appropriate means to resolve their disputes. Where parties abuse their litigation rights, delay taking on litigation obligations, or exhibit other such clearly improper conduct; directly causing harm to their litigation counterpart or third parties, the people's courts may support legitimate requests by a party without fault, such as for compensation of reasonable lawyers fees.

Supreme People's Court



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