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People's Court Courtroom Rules of the People's Republic of China


(Passed by the 617th Meeting of the Adjudication Committee of the Supreme People's Court on November 26, 1993, amended by the Decision of the Supreme People's Court on Amending the People's Court Courtroom Rules of the People's Republic Of China, passed by the 1673rd Meeting of the Adjudication Committee of the Supreme People's Court on December 21, 2015.)


Article 1: These Rules are formulated on the basis of the People's Court Organic Law of the People's Republic of China, the Criminal Procedure Law of the People's Republic of China, the Civil Procedure Law of the People's Republic of China, the Administrative Litigation Law of the People's Republic of China, and the provisions of other relevant laws, in order to preserve the security and order inside the courtroom, to ensure the normal proceeding of trial activities, to safeguard the lawful exercise of litigation rights by litigation participants, to facilitate the public to observe, to improve judicial fairness, and to manifest the authority of justice.

Article 2: The courtroom is a specialized venue where the people's courts adjudicate all types of cases on behalf of the State according to law.

The national emblem shall be hung above the front of the courtroom.

Article 3: Separate areas for trial activities and for observation are set up in a courtroom and they are separated by railings.

Courtrooms hearing juvenile cases shall set up areas and seats on the basis of the characteristics of the juvenile's physical and psychological development characteristics.

When there is news media observing or reporting on trial activities, special media seats may be set up in the observation area.

Article 4: Criminal courtrooms may designate simultaneous video testimony rooms to use for witnesses that should be protected in accordance with law or other witnesses, evaluators, or victims that truly need protection when giving testimony at trial.

Article 5: Courtrooms shall set up barrier free facilities for disabled persons; providing auxiliary areas such collegial panel rooms, rest rooms for procurators, lawyers and other litigation participants, and detention areas for defendants as needed.

Article 6: Personnel entering the courtroom shall display valid personal identification documents and undergo safety inspections of their person and the articles that they are carrying.

Procurators and lawyers with valid work documents and notifications to appear in court to perform their duties may enter the courtroom through a special passage. Where security inspections are needed, the people's courts will treat procurators and lawyers the same.

Article 7: Expect when approved by the people's courts as evidence that needs to be displayed in court, the following articles must not be brought inside courtrooms:

(1) Firearms, ammunition, controlled knives and other lethal instruments;

(2) Articles prone to ignition or explosion, and suspected explosives;

(3) Radioactive, toxic, corrosive, or strong smelling substances, as well as infectious disease pathogens ;

(4) Liquid, gel-like and powder-like articles;

(5) Slogans, banners, and fliers;

(6) Other articles that may endanger courtroom security or obstruct courtroom order.

Article 8: The people's courts shall, through official websites, electronic displays, and bulletin boards, publicly post information such as the number of each courtroom and its specific location as well as the number of observation seats.

Article 9: Citizens may observe trial activities that are open.

When observation chairs are insufficient, the people's courts may issue observation cards on a first come basis, by drawing, or lottery, but shall give precedence to observation by the parties' close relatives or other stakeholders in the case.

The following personnel shall not observe:

(1) Witnesses, evaluators, and persons with specialized knowledge who will present opinions before the court;

(2) Minors that have not received approvals from the people's courts;

(3) Persons who refuse to undergo security inspections;

(4) Persons who are intoxicated, the mentally ill, or other persons in an irregular mental state;

(5) Other persons who may endanger courtroom security or obstruct courtroom order.

In open trial activities that might have criminal records sealed in accordance with law, units or individuals must not organize personnel to observe.

Except otherwise provided by law, none shall observe trial activities that are not open according to law.

Article 10: People's courts shall tape or videotape trial activities in their entirety.

Article 11: In any of the following situations, for trial activities that are conducted openly in accordance with law, the people's courts may use television, the internet or other public media to broadcast or record images, audio or videos.

(1) a high degree of public concern;

(2) a larger social influence;

(3) the value for legal publicity and education is quite strong.

Article 12: Persons appearing in court to perform professional duties dress according to professional dress codes. Except that in any of the following situations they shall wear formal attire:

(1) There is no professional dress code;

(2) Investigation personnel testifying before the court;

(3) The work unit they are from is a party in the case.

Persons appearing in court and not performing professional duties and observing personnel shall dress decently.

Article 13: When criminal defendants or appellants in custody appear in court, they wear formal or casual attire and do not wear identifiable uniforms of supervisory agencies.

During trial activities, people's courts shall not use restraints on defendants or appellants, except when it is found that they pose personal danger and may endanger courtroom security.

Article 14: Before commencing trial activities, the clerk shall announce the courtroom discipline stipulated by Article 17 of these Rules.

Article 15: All personnel shall rise when adjudicatory personnel enter the court or when the chief judge or a judge hearing the case alone announces verdicts, judgments, or decisions.

Article 16: People's courts adjudicating cases in open court shall strictly follow the litigation procedures stipulated by laws.

During trial activities, the adjudicatory personnel shall treat all parties to the litigation equally.

Article 17: During court proceedings, all personnel shall follow the instructions of the chief judge, or a judge hearing the case alone, respect judicial etiquette, abide by courtroom discipline, and shall not conduct the following actions:

(1) Clapping or making noise;

(2) Smoking, eating or drinking;

(3) Dialing or answering calls;

(4) Taping, videotaping, or taking pictures of trial activities or using mobile communication tools to propagate trial activities;

(5) Other actions that endanger courtroom security or obstruct courtroom order.

Procuratorial personnel or litigation participants wishing to speak or raise questions shall be approved by the chief judge or the judge hearing the case alone.

Observers shall not enter the trial activity area, shall not stand up and walk around at will, and shall not speak or raise questions.

Media journalists who have been approved to conduct actions stipulated by item 4 of the first paragraph shall do so at designated time and in designated area, and shall not influence or interfere with trial activities.

Article 18: When presiding over court proceedings, the chief judge, or a judge hearing the case alone, shall use a gavel in accordance with regulations.

Article 19: The chief judge or the judge hearing the case alone shall give warnings to personnel violating courtroom discipline; admonish those who ignore warnings; order those to whom admonition is ineffective to exit the courtroom; order the judicial police to remove those who refuse to exit the courtroom from the courtroom.

Where doers violate item 4 of the first paragraph of Article 17 of these Rules, people's courts can temporarily seize the appliances and storage media they use, and delete relevant content.

Article 20: Where an actor exhibits any of the following conduct, harming courtroom security or disrupting courtroom order, fines or detention is given on the basis of relevant legal provisions; where a crime is constituted, criminal responsibility is pursued in accordance with law:

(1) Illegally carrying firearms, ammunitions, controlled knives or explosive, inflammable, radioactive, toxic, corrosive article and infectious disease pathogens inside a courtroom;

(2) Making a racket or attacking the court;

(3) Insulting, defaming, threatening or striking judicial personnel or litigation participants;

(4) Destroying courtroom facilities, or stealing or destroying litigation documents or evidence;

(5) Other conduct that endangers courtroom security or disrupts courtroom order.

Article 21: The judicial police preserves courtroom order according to the instructions of the chief judge or the judge hearing case alone.

When emergency situations arise, such as endangerment of the personal safety of the personnel inside the courtroom or serious disruption of courtroom order, the judicial police can directly take necessary handling measures.

Coercive measures taken by people's courts against persons violating courtroom discipline, such as seizing articles, forcibly removing them from the courtroom, or fining them or putting them under detention, are enforced by the judicial police.

Article 22: Where people's procuratorates find that adjudicatory personnel have violated these Rules, they may submit handling suggestions to the people's courts after trial activities are concluded.

Where litigation participants and observing personnel find that adjudicatory personnel, clerks, or judicial police have violated these Rules, they give feedback to the people's courts after trial activities are concluded.

Article 23: Where procuratorial personnel violate these Rules, people's courts may report the situation to the people's procuratorates and submit suggestions for handling.

Article 24: Where lawyers violate these Rules, people's courts may report the situation to the judicial administrative departments and lawyers' associations and offer suggestions for handling.

Article 25: People's courts conducting case hearings, evidentiary debate in state compensation cases, remote network video trials, as well as circuit trials in venues outside of courts; apply these Rules by reference.

Article 26: Foreigners or stateless persons who observe trial activities, and foreign media journalists who report trial activities, shall obey these Rules.

Article 27: These Rules shall take effect on May 1, 2016; where judicial interpretations or normative documents previously released by the Supreme People's Court contradict these Rules, these Rules are controlling.


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