Guiding Opinions on Strengthening and Improving Efforts on the Evaluation of Judges

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Promulgation Date: 2021-10-12
Title: The Supreme People's Court's Notification on Issuing the "Guiding Opinions on Strengthening and Improving Efforts on the Evaluation of Judges"
Document Number:法〔2021〕255号
Expiration date: 
Promulgating Entities:Supreme People's Court
Source of text: http://www.court.gov.cn/fabu-xiangqing-330041.html

These Opinions are drafted on the basis of the PRC Civil Servants Law, The PRC Judges Law, and other relevant laws and regulations, in accordance with the spirit of the Party Central Committee's advancement of reforms of the justice system, and in consideration of actual work conditions of the people's courts, so as to further strengthen and improve efforts to evaluate judges, to build a scientific and reasonable system for the evaluation of judges, to guide, regulate, and stimulate judge's just and high-efficiency performance of trial duties in accordance with law, and to advance the revolutionary, standardized, specialized, and professionalized construction of the corp of judges.

I. General Provisions

1. Adhere to the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for the New Era, thoroughly implementing Xi Jinping Thought on the Rule of Law, implementing the path of Party organizations for the new era and the directives and policies on cadre work, focusing on the construction of an evaluation system that is more scientific and reasonable and more consistent with the rules of the judiciary, putting political standards first, highlighting actual achievements of judges doing a good job in trial and enforcement work, giving full play to the function of evaluations as a directing baton and wind vane, striving to establish high-quality and professional corps of judges with mastery of politics, operations, responsibility, discipline, and work styles.

2. The evaluation of judges shall be based on the relevant provisions for the evaluation of civil servants, rooted in the functional position of the four levels of court, embodying the traits and requirements of judges' profession, and in accordance with the scope of authority for the management of cadres and the provided standards and procedures, to conduct a full evaluation and comprehensive appraisal of judges' political caliber, actual performance in trial work, professional level, work ability, trial style, and so forth.

The evaluation of judges where the authority for cadre management is not in that court is to be handled in accordance with relevant provisions.

3. Efforts on the evaluation of judges are to adhere to the following principles:

(1) Party management of cadres;

(2) Comprehensiveness, objectivity, fairness, and openness;

(3) Compliance with judicial rules and embodiment of professional characteristics;

(4) Focus on primary responsibilities and operations, highlighting actual work performance;

(5) Combining the quantitative with the qualitative, and regular assessments and annual assessments;

(6) sorting by grade and type, scientific high-efficacy, combining evaluation and use.

4. People's courts are to establish a committee for the appraisal of judges, responsible for the work of evaluating judges in that court under the leadership of the court's Party organization. The committees for the appraisal of judges are to be comprised of an odd number of between 5-9 members, and is usually comprised of the court presided, relevant court leaders, responsible persons for departments, and several judge representatives, and the court's president is to serve as the director.

To convene meetings by the committee for the appraisal of judges, at least half of the total members of the committee shall be present, and decisions on matters must be by agreement of more than half of the total number of members.

5. The office for the committee for appraisal of judges is to be set up with the court's department for organizing personnel matters.

6. The committee for appraisal of judges is to primarily perform the following duties:

(1) Researching and drafting specifications for systems to evaluate judges;

(2) Organizing and implementing efforts to evaluate judges;

(3) Researching and submitting recommendations for the results of judges' evaluations and submitting them for deliberation to the that courts' party organization;

(4) Accepting applications for the re-examination of evaluation results;

(5) Other matters that should be the responsibility of the committee for appraisal of judges.

II. Evaluation Content

7. Evaluation of judges is to be based on the duties of their position and the work tasks they undertake, done through index evaluation methods, comprehensively consider areas such as morality, ability, diligence, achievement, and integrity, and emphasize evaluation of political caliber and actual performance of trial work.

8. For the evaluation of "morality", primarily focus on setting up indicators such as for political calibre and moral character and focus on evaluating circumstances such as the thorough study and implementation of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for the New Era, study and implementation of Xi Jinping Thought on Rule of Law, adherence to the Party's absolute leadership of the Judiciary, adherence to the path of Socialist Rule of Law with Chinese Characteristics, enhancement of the 4 awareness, solidifying the 4 self-confidences, and achieving the 'two preservations' increasing political judgment, political perception, and political implementation, abiding by political discipline and political rules, conscientiously resisting the mistaken western ideological trends such as 'constitutional democracy', 'judicial independence', and 'separation of powers'; and practice of the Core Socialist Values, as well as compliance with professional ethics for judges, and following social mores, family values, and personal morality. Evaluations of judges' political caliber shall be entered into their political character archive.

9. For the evaluation of "ability", primarily focus on setting up indicators such as for legal professional levels and work ability, and focus on evaluating the ability to apply laws and policies, the level of trial operations, level of egal theory, and level of practical judicial research, and also the ability to prevent and control risks, mass work ability, the ability to apply technology, and the ability to guide public opinion.

10. For the evaluation of "diligence", primarily focus on setting indicators such as for mental state and work style, focusing on evaluating circumstances such as devotion to duty, observation of work discipline, commitment to the position, industriousness, completion of duties, daring to take responsibility, and readiness to contribute.

11. For the evaluation of "achievement", case-handling performance and other work performance is generally to be the main content for assessment, and of these, for the evaluation of case handling performance, primarily focus on setting indexes in the four areas of the number of cases handled and the quality, efficiency, and efficacy of case handling.

(1) For evaluation of the quantity of cases, the number of cases concluded shall be the foundation, and factors that reflect the difficulty of the cases and the amount of work, such as the types of cases, the trial procedures, and trial level, are to be comprehensively considered, to set a reasonable coefficient for weighting cases and scientifically assessing the actual case handling workload for judges in different operational paths and different positions.

(2) For evaluation of the quality of case handling, circumstances such as the return of cases or changes of the judgment are to be the foundation, fully utilizing mechanisms such as for case quality evaluation, focusing on circumstances in judges' handling of cases such as the review of evidence, determination of facts, application of law, drafting of documents, explanations of law and reasoning, and ruling outcomes

(3) For the evaluation of case handling efficiency, the foundation is to be circumstances such as the rate at which cases are concluded within the time limits for trial (including extension of the trial period in accordance with provisions), focusing on the evaluation of circumstances such as the trial period, cases heard beyond the trial period, and cases not concluded for an extended period.

(4) For the evaluation of case efficacy, the foundation is to be circumstances such as the political effect, legal effect, and social effect achieved by the case, focussing on circumstances such as the preservation of national security and social stability, preservation of the severity and authoritativeness of the law, preservation of the public's lawful rights and interests, and advocating the Core Socialist Values.

Standards may be set up and included within the scope of judges' operational performance evaluations corresponding to other work such as the judges' participation in central work of the Party and State or key local work; participation in adjudication committees, compensation committees, judicial assistance committees, discussion of cases by professional judges meetings; handling of petitioning involving litigation, carrying out oversight of enforcement, participation in the governance of the sources of litigation, carrying out case assessment and operations guidance; carrying out social investigations, follow up mentorship and other extended trial work in juvenile cases; as well as participation in drafting normative documents, research projects, and case study compilation.

12. For the evaluation of ''integrity' [incorruptibility], primarily focus setting indicators for judicial integrity and self-discipline, emphasizing the evaluation of circumstances such as compliance with discipline for integrity, implementing the spirit of the Party Central Committee's 8 provisions and their implementing regulations, implementation of the "three provisions" on preventing interference with the judiciary.

13. For judges serving in leadership positions, factors such as the scale of personnel in the unit (departments, the case volume, and management tasks, should be comprehensively considered, distinguishing between different regions, levels, and positions; in scientifically and reasonably determining standards for case-handling volume and types of case handling. In addition to the evaluation content described above on morality, ability, diligence, performance, and integrity, indicators are to be set up and included in the scope of evaluation regarding circumstances of trial oversight and management and that unit's (department's) overall case handling quality and efficacy such as the review and approval of procedural matters, overall guidance of trial efforts, promotion of unified standards for rulings, the efficacy of oversight of the entire course of trial, and elimination of external case interference, as well as the implementation of circumstances such as the implementation of 'one position, two responsibilities' for Party conduct and clean government, and the efficacy of Party construction work.

14. Evaluations indicators shall be in accordance with the trial functions and positions of the four levels of court, and set up by level and type based on the traits of the different levels of court and different operational paths (positions). Of these, the evaluation indicators for basic-level people's courts should emphasize reflecting areas such as clarifying and verifying facts and the substantive resolution of disputes; the evaluation indicators for intermediate people's courts should emphasize reflecting areas such as the effective conclusion of second-instance trials and precise settling of disputes; for High people's courts, evaluation indicators should emphasize reflecting areas such as correcting errors on retrial in accordance with law and unifying measures for rulings; for the Supreme People's Court, evaluation indicators should emphasize reflecting areas such as efforts to oversee and guide the nation's trial work, and ensuring the correct and uniform application of law.

All levels of people's court may further refine the set up of indicators, evaluation of content, evaluation standards, scoring rules, and relative weight of scores, on the foundation of these opinions and in consideration of actual work circumstances, and make targetted adjustments based on the circumstances of the evalautions.

Where it is necessary to adjust indicator scores in individual cases due to special circumstances such as the case being major, difficult, or complex, or having a major social impact, they may be independently adjusted after discussion and decision by that court's committee for appraisal of judges

III. Times and Standards for Evaluations

15. The evaluation of judges is to combine regular evaluations and annual evaluations, and to be conducted primarily through means of quantitative scoring with qualitative scoring as a supplement.

16. The results of regular evaluations are to be divided into four grades: good, above average, average, and poor. The results of annual evaluations are to be divided into four grades: exceptional, qualified, basic qualification, and unqualified.

17. The standards for determining each grade in the regular evaluation of judges are to be researched and set by each level of people's court based on the provisions relevant to the evaluation of civil servants, in consideration of the functional position of the four levels of court and the actual conditions in the specific court.

18. Judges found to be exceptional in annual evaluations shall have the following:

(1) High ideological and political caliber, and compliance with professional ethics for judges;

(2) Proficiency in trial operations and strong work ability;

(3) Strong sense of work responsibility, daring to take responsibility act, and good trial style;

(4) Successful completion of annual work tasks and outstanding performance in trial work;

(5) Clean and honest.

19. Judges found to be qualified in annual evaluations shall have the following:

(1) Higher ideological and political quality, and compliance with professional ethics for judges;

(2) Familiarity with trial operations and stronger work ability;

(3) Strong sense of work responsibility, works actively, and has a quite good trial style;

(4) Able to complete their own work, with performance in trial work is quite good;

(5) honest and self-disciplined.

20. Judges with any of the following circumstances shall be found to have basic qualification in annual evaluations:

(1) Average ideological and political quality;

(2) Can basically abide by the professional ethics for judges, but there are deficiencies in some aspects;

(3) Average level of trial operations and weaker work ability;

(4) Average sense of responsibility, negative work, notable inadequacies in trial style.

(5) Can basically complete their work but have lower scores for case handling volume, quality, efficiency, and efficacy, or had larger error in their work;

(6) Can basically achieve honesty and self-discipline but has insufficiencies in some areas.

21. Judges with any of the following circumstances shall be found to be unqualified:

(1) Violations of political discipline or political rules, poor ideological or political caliber;

(2) Serious violations of professional ethics for judges causing a negative societal impact;

(3) The score received for the case volume indicator by a judge who is not serving in a leadership position did not reach 50% of the average score for that indicator received by all judges in that department, with no legitimate reason.

(4) The score on the case handling volume indicator of a judge serving in a leadership position managed by that court's Party organization did not reach the minimum standard provided without a legitimate reason.

(5) Serious quality issues such as errors in the review of evidence, determination of facts, or application of law occurred in cases they handled either as a result of intent or gross negligence, causing a vile impact.

(6) Case handling efficacy did not meet the provided requirements, or case handling abilities are clearly incompetent;

(7) Poor sense of responsibility for work or poor trial style, with multiple issues in case handling efficacy occurring, and a larger number of public comments;

(8) A judge in a leadership position under the management of that court's Party organization violated provisions by failing to earnestly perform trial oversight and management duties, causing serious consequences;

(9) Violations of the spirit of the Party central committee's 8 provisions and their implementation rules, has integrity problems, and the circumstances are more serious;

(10) Other circumstances of being unqualified.

As necessary for work, each high people's court may make appropriate adjustments to items (3) and (4) in the preceding paragraph.

Where judges do not participate in annual evaluations without a legitimate reason and they still refuse to participate after being educated, their evaluation grade is to be set as unqualified.

22, Where there is a larger difference in case types within a department, or in departments where the caseloads or judges' position are rather special, that court's committee for the assessment of judges may research and make a decision on the statistical standards for average case handling volume.

Judges other than those in the court's leadership shall clarify participation in a single trial operations departments' evaluations.

23. Where judges other than those in the court's leadership need to reduce their annual case handling tasks for reasons such as short-term exchanges, rotations, secondments, public appointment for study and training, or other work arranged by the organization, the court's committee for the appraisal of judges is to research it and make a decision. Where those in the court's leadership need to reduce their annual case handling tasks, they shall report as provided for approval to the people's court at the level above.

IV. Organization and Implementation of Evaluations

24. The cycle of regular evaluations shall be reasonably set, and usually conducted through procedures such as collecting evaluation data, organizing review and appraisal, giving feedback on the evaluation results.

25. The annual assessments are to be carried out at the end of each year or the beginning of the next year, and are generally to be conducted according to the following procedures:

(1) Summary debriefing. Judges summarize their work according to their positions' responsibilities, annual objectives and tasks, and relevant requirements, and report on their work within a certain range.

(2) Organizing Appraisals. The committee for the appraisal of judges is to collect evaluation data, conduct evaluation assessments, and give feedback on the initial scoring of indicators to the judges themselves and to their department for checking.

(3) Democratic evaluation. Democratic evaluation is to be conducted within a certain range for judges who hold the leadership positions in the internal institutions of the court. Democratic evaluation may also be conducted for other judges as needed.

(4) Understanding and verification. Employ methods such as individual conversations and on-site investigations to learn about and verify circumstances related to judges. As necessary, hear the comments of the discipline inspection and supervision departments.

(5) Determination of Grade. The committee for the appraisal of judges is to comprehensively consider regular evaluations, individual summaries, and the opinions of the departments to submit recommendations on the evaluation grade based on the foundation of the scores for each indicator, and report it to the court's Party organization for confirmation.

(6) Display of Results. Judges that are to be given a grade of exceptional are to be announced within that court for at least 5 work days.

(7) Feedback of results. The results of the evaluations are to be given to the judges themselves and the department to which they belong.

26. Judges' annual evaluations are to have a foundation in the regular evaluations, and where the annual evaluation grade is to be exceptional, it shall be from judges whose regular evaluations during that year have more good results and no average or poor results.

27. Where judges have objections to the results of their own evaluation results, they may apply for a re-examination to the court's committee for the appraisal of judges. The committee for the appraisal of judges shall promptly address it, and notify the applicant of the outcome of the re-examination.

28. Where judges have special circumstances such as having been transferred, rotated, sent to provide assistance, or put in an adjunct position, have been on sick leave or personal leave for more than half a year, or have received Party discipline or governmental sanctions, their evaluation is be handled in accordance with provisions on the evaluation of civil servants.

29. Each level of people's court shall periodically report on the completion of case handling tasks by division heads and deputy division heads, and higher level people's courts shall periodically report on the completion of case handling tasks by leadership of people's courts in their jurisdiction at the level below.

30. Each level of people's courts' party organization shall strengthen the uniform leadership of efforts on the evaluation of judges and other operations evaluations, and reasonably aggregate evaluation programs and types to prevent mutliple and repetitive evaluations.

31. Each level of people's court's discipline inspection and supervision body shall strengthen oversight of efforts to evaluate judges, and are to severely punish conduct such as twisting the law for personal gain, taking revenge, and distorting the truth in the course of evaluations in accordance with provisions.

32. Each level of people's court shall strengthen the informatization of evaluation efforts, fully utilizing information tactics and technology to carry out the evaluation of judges, and exploring the automatic retrieval of evaluation data through the case handling (office) platforms, to increase the quality and efficiency of evaluations.

V. Use of Evaluation Results

33. The evaluation results for judges managed by the court's Party organization are to be taken as the results of their civil servant evaluation and recorded in their annual evaluation registration form. Feedback on the actual trial work performance of judges not within the management of that courts' Party organization may be given to the Party organization department in accordance with relevant provisions.

34. The results of judges' evaluations are to be an important basis for the judge's promotion in rank, removal from the number of trial judge positions, and allocation of performance bonuses.

35. Where judges are given an annual evaluation grade of exceptional, they are to be given priority consideration where other conditions are the same when participating in the promotion of judges. Where judges are given an annual evaluation of qualified, they may participate in the promotion of judges in accordance with relevant provisions. Where judges are given an annual evaluation grade of unqualified or basic qualification, or where a grade was not set in the annual evaluation, the year of that evaluation is not to be counted in the years of service for judges' promotions.

36. Where judges are given an annual evaluation grade of not qualified or receive grades of basic qualification for two consecutive years, they shall be removed from the ranks of trial judges.

Where judges that are not within the management of the court's Party organization have any of the circumstances in the first paragraph of item 21 of these Opinions, they shall be removed from the ranks of trial judges.

37. Where judges are given an annual evaluation of exceptional or qualified, they are to enjoy rewards of performance evaluation bonuses. Where judges are given an annual evaluation of basic qualification or unqualified, or where a grade is not determined in the annual evaluation, they are not to enjoy rewards of performance evaluation bonuses.

VI. Supplementary Provisions

38. Based on these Opinions, each high people's court may draft specific implementation measures for the evaluation of judges in consideration of local conditions, and guide courts in their jurisdictional area in carrying out efforts on the evaluation of judges.

39. The political department of the Supreme People's Court is responsible for the interpretation of these Opinions.

40. These Opinions are to take effect on January 1st, 2022, and where earlier provisions on the evaluation of judges are inconsistent with these Opinions, enforcement is to be in accordance with these Opinions. Where these Opinions are silent, the relevant provisions on evaluation of civil servants are to be applied.

 

Attachment: Guidelines for setting the weight coefficient of cases

Guidelines for Setting the Weight Coefficient of Cases

These guidelines are drafted in accordance with the principle of being "scientific, simple, and feasible" so as to reasonable assess judges' actual case handling workload, to make the case handling work of judges in different operational paths and different positions quantifiable and assessable,

1. When people's courts set the weight coefficient for cases, they may distinguish case traits and individually set fixed and floating coefficients. The sum of the fixed and floating coefficients is to be the final weight coefficient for the case.

2. Fixed coefficients are the foundational coefficients for case handling workload, set based on the common traits of cases, generally including the type of case, the trial procedures, the trial level, and the trial team configuration. Each coefficient is multiplied to get a fixed coefficient score.

3. When determining the weight coefficient for case types, the setup is generally to be conducted in accordance with categories such as criminal, civil, administrative, state compensation, enforcement, and other types of cases. Other types of cases may be further divided into expedited cases, bankruptcy cases, commutation and parole cases, judicial aid cases, cases of international and interregional assistance, and special procedures cases. People's courts with the capacity may also further refine case type weight coefficients based on causes of action and so forth.

4. When determining the weight coefficient for trial procedure, the setup is generally to be conducted in accordance with categories such as first-instance simplified procedures, first-instance ordinary procedures, second-instance procedures, retrial procedures, and other procedures. People's courts with the capacity may further refine trial procedure weight coefficients based on actual trial conditions.

5, When determining the weight coefficient for trial level, the setup is generally to be in accordance with categories such as basic level people's court, intermediate people's court, and high people's court, and in principle, the higher the level of trial the larger the weight coefficient for trial level.

6. When determining the weight coefficient for trial team allocation, facts such as the number of judges assistants and clerks, and their individual contributions are generally considered.

7. Floating coefficients are dynamic coefficients set up based on special traits such as the nature and process of the case, and may be applied cumulatively based on the trial circumstances.

8. When determining the floating coefficients, the setup is generally to be conducted in consideration of series of cases, difficult or complex cases, major or sensitive cases, cases with large numbers of parties, cases involving foreign interests, cases deliberated by the adjudication committee, cases deliberated by a professional judges conference, as well as factors such as forensic evaluations, appraisals, auditing, preservation, public announcement, issuing of judicial recommendations, and so forth.

9. Floating coefficients for criminal cases may also consider factors such as attached civil litigation, cases involving the public, and cases giving a death sentence.

10. The floating coefficients for civil cases may also consider factors such as advance enforcement and countersuits.

11. The floating coefficient for administrative cases may also consider factors such as incidental raising administrative compensation, incidental review of normative documents, and reconsiderations with two defendants.

12. The coefficient for state compensation cases may also consider factors such as requesting files for review, organizing debate of evidence, solicitation of opinions, deliberation by the compensation committee, addressing public opinion, case coordination, handling of the aftermath of criminal cases, hardship support, and re-entry to society.

13. The floating coefficient for enforcement cases may also consider factors such as enforcement in different locations, searches, auction of assets for enforcement, the compulsory release of housing or land, detention, fines, restrictions on leaving the country, restrictions on spending, inclusion in lists of the untrustworthy, or transfer of persons suspected of a crime.

14. The floating coefficient for cases involving juveniles may also consider factors such as social investigations, social, social protection, psychological counseling, courtroom education, and follow-up mentorship.

15. The floating coefficient for judicial assistance cases may also consider factors such as organizing evidentiary hearings, household investigations, neighborhood visits, deliberation by the judicial assistance committee, and joint assistance,

16. The proportion of the weight coefficient for members of collegial panels hearing cases is to be based on their contribution to the decision in the collegial panel trial. Of these, the weight coefficient for judges undertaking the hearing of a case is to be calculated in accordance with the standards determined in these guidelines, and the weight coefficient for non-undertaking judges serving as chief judges as well as other members of the collegial panel hearing cases may be setup as a definite percentage of the weight coefficient of undertaking judges.

17. Factors that can reflect judges' workload that are not in these guidelines may also be calculated into the case weight coefficient standards.

18. Each high people's court may set up case weight coefficients for the jurisdictional region with reference to these guidelines and in consideration of actual local conditions, and appropriately adjust them at based on the circumstances of evaluations.

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