Promulgation Date: 2019-4-23 Title: Judges Law of the People's Republic of China Document Number: Expiration date: Promulgating Entities: Standing Committee of the National People's Congress Source of text: http://www.npc.gov.cn/npc/xinwen/2019-04/23/content_2086082.htm
Judges Law of the People's Republic of China
Article 1: This law is formulated on the basis of the constitution so as to comprehensively advance the establishment of a high-caliber judicial corps, to strengthen the management and oversight of judges, to protect judges' lawful rights and interests, to ensure that the people's courts lawfully, independently, and justly exercise the adjudication power; to ensure judges' performance of their duties in accordance with law; and to ensure judicial fairness.
Article 2: Judges are trial personnel who exercise state adjudication powers in accordance with law; including the court presidents, vice presidents, members of the adjudication committee, division heads, deputy division heads, and adjudicators of the Supreme People's Court, all levels of local people's court, and military and other specialized people's courts.
Article 3: Judges must faithfully implement the Constitution and laws, maintain social fairness and justice, and serve the people wholeheartedly.
Article 4: Judges must treat parties and other litigation participants fairly, and treat all individuals and organizations equally in the application of law.
Article 5: Judges shall be diligent and conscientious, honest and clean, and abide by professional ethics.
Article 6: Judges hearing cases shall have the facts as their basis and the laws as their measure, and maintain an objective and fair posture.
Article 7: Judges performing their duties in accordance with law are protected by law and are not to be interfered with by administrative organs, social organizations and individuals.
Article 8: Judges' duties:
(1) Lawfully participate in collegial panel trials or single-judge trials of criminal, civil, and administrative cases, as well as state compensation cases;
(2) Lawfully handle extradition and judicial assistance cases;
(3) Other duties provided by law.
Judges are responsible for all cases they handle within the scope of their duties.
Article 9: People's court presidents, vice presidents, adjudication committee members, division heads, and deputy division heads, shall, in addition to performing their adjudication duties, also perform the duties corresponding to their position.
Article 10: Judges shall perform the following obligations:
(1) Strictly follow the Constitution and Laws.
(2) Handle cases impartially and never twisting the law for personal gain;
(3) Safeguard the procedural rights of parties and other litigation participants in accordance with law.
(4) Preserve the national interests and societal public interests, and preserve the lawful rights and interests of individuals and organizations;
(5) Protect state secrets and trial work secrets, and keep commercial secrets and personal private information learned of in performing one's duties confidential.
(6) Accepting legal oversight and public oversight in accordance with law;
(7) Through lawfully handling cases and using cases to explain the law, strengthen the entire population’s rule of law consciousness, and move the construction of a rule of law society forward；
(8) Other obligations provided for by law.
Article 11: Judges enjoy the following rights:
(1) the authority and working conditions that judges shall have to perform their duties;
(2) to not be transferred, removed, demoted, or sanctioned for reasons other than those legally prescribed and in accordance with legal procedures.
(3) that judges performing their duties shall enjoy job security and welfare benefits;
(4) to have legal protection of the safety of their person, property, and domicile;
(5) To raise complaint petitions or make accusations;
(6) Other rights provided for by law.
Article 12: Those serving as judges must possess the following capacities:
(1) Have citizenship of the People's Republic of China;
(2) Uphold the Constitution of the People's Republic of China, and uphold the leadership of the Communist Party of China and the socialist system;
(3) Have good political and professional character, and moral fiber;
(4) Have the physical capacity to perform their duties normally;
(5) Have an undergraduate degree in law from an ordinary college and have received the rank of bachelor or higher; or have an undergraduate degree or above from a full-time ordinary college in a subject other than law, and have received master's degree in law or jurisprudence; or have an undergraduate degree or above from a full-time ordinary college, have received the corresponding degree, and have specialized legal professional knowledge;
(6) have engaged in legal work for five years. Of these, the number of years engaging in legal work may be expanded to four or three years respectively for those that have obtained a masters in law or jurisprudence, or obtained a JSD.
(7) Judges serving for their first post shall obtain legal professional credentials through the National Unified Legal Professional Qualification Examination.
In areas where there are real difficulties meeting the academic requirements specified in item 5 of the preceding paragraph, upon review and confirmation by the Supreme People's Court, the academic requirements for judges may be relaxed for a period of time to include bachelors degrees from colleges.
Article 13: The following people must not serve as judges:
(1) Those who have received criminal penalties for having committed a crime;
(2) Those who have been dismissed from public office;
(3) Those whose certificates for practice as a lawyer or notary public have been revoked, or who have had been removed from an arbitration commission;
(4) Those with other situations provided for by law.
Article 14: New judges are selected by means of both tests and evaluations, according to the criteria of both ability and integrity, and who have the requirements for becoming a judge.
The people's courts' presidents shall possess legal knowledge and legal practice experience. Vice-presidents and adjudication committee members shall be taken from among the judges, procurators, or other persons the requirements for being judges.
Article 15: As necessary for trial work, people's courts may openly select judges from those engaged in legal professions, such as lawyers and legal educators or researchers.
In addition to having the requirements for serving as a judge, lawyers participating in open selection shall have at least five years in actual practice, have rich practice experience, and have a good reputation; legal educators and researchers participating in the open selection shall have an intermediate level title or higher and have been engaged in teaching or research for at least 5 years, with outstanding capacity for research and corresponding research accomplishments.
Article 16: Provinces, autonomous regions and directly governed municipalities are to set up Judicial Selection Committees, responsible for reviewing the professional competence of new judges.
Members of the provincial Judicial Selection Committees shall include judge representatives of each level of local people's courts and representatives engaged in legal professions and other relevant areas, of whom not less than one-third shall be judge representatives.
The routine work of the provincial Judicial Selection Committees is to be undertaken by offices established within the high people's courts.
A Supreme People's Court Judicial Selection Committee shall be established for the selection of Supreme People's Court judges, responsible for reviewing the professional ability of the judicial candidates.
Article 17: First time judges are generally to take positions in the basic level people's courts. Judges of higher level people's courts are usually to be selected incrementally up through the levels; judges of the Supreme People's Court and High People's Courts may be selected from two levels below of people's court. Judges participating in higher level people's courts' selection shall have served a definite number of years in the lower level people's court, and have work experience corresponding to the new post.
Article 18: The appointment and removal of judges is to be handled in accordance with the scope of appointment and removal authority and procedures provided for by the Constitution and laws.
The President of the Supreme People’s Court is elected and removed by the National People’s Congress, and its vice-presidents, adjudication committee members, division heads, deputy division heads, and other adjudicators are appointed or removed by request of the court president to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress.
The appointment and removal of division heads and deputy division heads of Supreme People's Court circuit court divisions is by request of the president to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress.
The president of all levels of local people’s court are elected and removed by that level of People’s Congress, and its vice-presidents, adjudication committee members, division heads, deputy division heads, and adjudicators, are appointed or removed by request of the court president to the Standing Committee of that level of People’s Congress.
The presidents of intermediate courts established in provinces, autonomous regions, and directly governed municipalities, are selected and removed by the Standing Committee of the provincial, autonomous region, or directly governed municipality people's congress; the vice-presidents, adjudication committee members, and adjudicators are removed upon request of the President of the High People's Court to the Standing Committee of the provincial, autonomous region, or directly governed municipality.
The appointment and removal of court presidents, vice presidents, adjudication committee members, division heads, deputy division heads, and adjudicators of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps and specialized courts, are to be in accordance with relevant provisions of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.
Article 19: After judges are selected in accordance with legally-prescribed procedures, they shall take a constitutional oath when taking office.
Article 20: Where judges have any of the following circumstances, an application shall be made to request their removal from their judicial post in accordance with law:
(1) Where they have forfeited citizenship of the People's Republic of China;
(2) Where they have been transferred out of the people's courts where they held a position;
(3) Where changes in their position do not require them to retain the position of judge, or they personally request to be removed from a position as judge and it is approved;
(4) Where they are evaluated as unable to successfully serve as a judge;
(5) Where they cannot perform their duties for a long time due to illness;
(6) Where they retire;
(7) Where they resign or should be discharged in accordance with law;
(8) Where they are unsuited to hold office due to violations of discipline or law.
Article 21: Where it is discovered that a judge is appointed in violation of the provisions of this Law, the organ that made the appointment shall revoke the appointment; where a higher people's court discovers that the appointment of a judge in a lower people's court violates the conditions set forth in this Law, it shall advise the lower people's court to request that the appointing organ at the same level revoke the appointment in accordance with law.
Article 22: Judges must not concurrently serve as a member of the Standing Committee of a People's Congress, must not concurrently serve in a position at an administrative organ, supervision commission, or procuratorate; must not concurrently serve at an enterprise or other for-profit organization, or public institution; and must not concurrently serve as lawyer, arbitrator or notary public.
Article 23: Judges may not hold the following positions at the same time where they are spouses, immediate blood relations, collateral blood relationship within three generations, or close relatives by marriage:
(1) court presidents, vice presidents, members of the adjudication committee, division heads, or deputy division heads in the same court;
(2) court presidents, vice presidents, and other adjudicators in the same court;
(3) Division heads, deputy division heads and other adjudicators of the same tribunal;
(4) the president or vice president of people's courts at adjacent levels.
Article 24: Where judges' spouses, parents, or children have any of the following circumstances, the judges shall recuse themselves:
(1) Serving as a partner or founder of a law firm within the jurisdiction of the people's court where the judge serves;
(2) As a lawyer, serving as an agent ad litem or defender in the jurisdiction of the people's court where the judge serves, or providing other paid legal services to parties in case proceedings.
Article 25: A personnel ration system is implemented for management of judges. The personnel ratio of judges is determined on the basis of factors such as the case volume, the economic and social development situation, the population size, and the level of people's court, with total numbers controlled and dynamically managed within provinces, autonomous regions, and directly governed municipalities, with priority consideration given to the case handling needs of basic level people's courts and people's courts with a large number of cases.
Where there are vacancies in the judicial personnel ratios, procedures are to be promptly followed to supplement.
The personnel ratio of judges for the Supreme People's Court is determined by consultation of the Supreme People's Court and relevant departments.
Article 26: Judges implement a separate job management sequence.
The ranks of judges are divided into twelve levels, which are Chief Justice, first-level Justice, Second-level Justice, First-level High Judge, Second-level High Judge, Third-level High Judge, Fourth-level High Judge, first-level Judge, second-level Judge, third-level judge, fourth-level judge, and fifth-level judges.
Article 27: The president of the Supreme People's Court is the Chief Justice.
Article 28: The determination of judges' rank is based on their showing of integrity and ability, their professional skill level, their years of trial practice and work, and so forth.
Judges are promoted through a combination of regular periodic promotions and selective promotions, and frontline case handling judges who are exceptional or that are especially needed for work may be specially selected for promotion.
Article 29: The set up and confirmation of judges' ranks, and specific measures for their promotion, are to be provided for elsewhere by the state.
Article 30: A uniform orientation training system is to be implement for new judges.
Article 31: Political, theoretical, and operational training for judges shall be conducted in a planned manner.
Judges' training shall connect theory with practice, teach according to needs, and stress practical results.
Article 32: Judges' training is to be one of the bases for their serving as a judge and promotion.
Article 33: Training institutions for judges are to follow the relevant provisions in undertaking the task of training judges.
Article 34: Judges' applications to quit shall be submitted personally and in writing, after approval, they are to be removed from their post in accordance with legally prescribed procedures.
Article 35: Dismissed judges shall be removed them from their post in accordance with the legally-prescribed procedures.
Dismissal of judges shall be by decision in accordance with the scope of management authority. Dismissal decisions shall give written notice to the judge being dismissed and lay out the reason and basis for the decision.
Article 36: For two years after judges leave the people's courts, they must not serve as an agent ad litem or defender as a lawyer for two years;
After judges or prosecutors leave the people's courts they must not serve as an agent ad litem or defender handling cases in their prior court, except where they are a party's guardian or being the agent ad litem or defender for a close relative.
After judges are dismissed they must not serve as an agent ad litem or defender, except where they are a party's guardian or being the agent ad litem or defender for a close relative.
Article 37: As necessary for work, and upon appointment or approval by a unit, judges may assist in carrying out practice education and research in schools of higher learning and research centers, and are to comply with relevant state provisions.
Article 38: People's courts are to set up a Judicial Evaluation and Review Committee responsible for the evaluation of that court's judges.
Article 39:Judicial Evaluation and Review committees are to have 5-9 members.
The Judicial Evaluation and Review Committee is headed by the Court President.
Article 40: The evaluation of judges shall be comprehensive, objective and just, and is to combine ordinary evaluations and annual evaluations.
Article 41: The content of judges' evaluations is to include: actual trial work performance, professional ethics, professional skill level, work capacity, and trial style. Actual trial work performance is to be the key consideration.
Article 42: Annual evaluation results are to be divided into four grades: outstanding, competent, basic competence, and incompetent.
Evaluation results are the basis for adjusting judges' rank and salary, and for rewards and punishments, removal, demotion, or dismissal.
Article 43: Judges are to be informed of their evaluation results in writing. If judges have objections to the evaluation results, they may apply for a review.
Article 44: Judges having notable achievements or contributions in trial work, or have other outstanding deeds, are to be commended and rewarded in accordance with the relevant provisions.
Article 45: Where judges have any of the following performances, they shall be given rewards:
(1) outstanding achievements in judicial fairness;
(2) outstanding achievements in summarizing trial practice experience, playing a guiding role for trial work;
(3) making notable achievements and contributions in handling major cases, handling emergencies, and undertaking important special work items;
(4) Having a recommendation for trial work reforms accepted, with noticeable effect.
(5) put forward judicial recommendations that have been adopted or carrying out legal publicity or guiding mediation organizations to mediate various kinds of disputes with noticeable results;
(6) other achievements.
Rewards for judges are to be handled in accordance with relevant provisions.
Article 46: Where judges have any of the following circumstances, they shall be given sanctions; and where a crime is constituted, criminal responsibility is pursued in accordance with law:
(1) Corruption or taking bribes, acting for personal gain, or abusing the law in a capricious and arbitrary manner.
(2) Concealing, fabricating, altering, or intentionally destroying evidence or case materials;
(3) Leaking state secrets, trial work secrets, commercial secrets, or individuals' private information;
(4) Intentionally violating legal provisions in handling a case;
(5) Gross negligence leading to errors in rulings causing serious consequences;
(6) Delaying handling cases and putting off work;
(7) Using their authority to seek personal gain for themselves or others;
(8) Accepting benefits from parties or their agents, or meeting with parties or their agents in violation of relevant provisions;
(9) Violating relevant provisions by engaging in or participating in for-profit activities or concurrently holding a position in enterprises or other for-profit organizations;
(10) having other conduct in violation of discipline or law.
Sanctions for judges are to be handled in accordance with relevant provisions.
Article 47:Where judges are suspected of violating discipline or law, and a case inquiry and investigation have begun, and it is inappropriate for them to continue performing their duties, the performance of their duties is to be suspended in accordance with the scope of management authority and procedures provided.
Article 48: The Supreme People's Court and provinces, autonomous regions, and directly governed municipalities, are to establish judicial disciplinary committees responsible for reviewing and determining from a professional perspective whether judges have conduct in violation of items 4 or 5 of article 46 of this Law that violates trial duties, and submit an opinion that an intentional violation of duties is constituted, that there was gross negligence, that there is ordinary negligence, or that there is no violation. After the Judicial disciplinary committees submit review opinions, the people's courts are to decide on sanctions in accordance with relevant provisions, and make a relevant disposition.
Members of the Judicial disciplinary committees shall be composed of judge representatives and other representatives enganged in legal professions and relevant areas, of whom not less than half shall be judge representatives.
The routine work of the Supreme People's Court's Judicial Disciplinary Committee and provincial level judicial disciplinary committees is to be done by a functional department set up internally in the relevant people's courts.
Article 49: When the judicial disciplinary committee hears matters on sanctioning, the judge party has the right to apply for the recusal of relevant personnel, and the right to make statements, present evidence, and offer defenses.
Article 50: The review opinions issued by the judicial disciplinary committees shall be sent to the judge party. Where the judge party has objections to the review opinions, they may submit them to the disciplinary committee, and the disciplinary committee shall conduct a review of the objection and its grounds and make a decision.
Article 51: The specific procedures for the judicial disciplinary committee hearing matters on sanctions are to be formulated by the Supreme People's Court in consultation with the relevant departments.
Article 52: People's courts are to establish a committee for the protection of judges' rights and interest, preserving judges' lawful rights and interests and ensuring judges' lawful performance of duties.
Article 53:Judges must not be transferred from a trial position except in the following circumstances:
(1) Where recusal from a position is required by provisions;
(2) To carry out professional exchanges in accordance with provisions;
(3) where organizational adjustments, revocation, mergers, or reduction in personnel allotments require work adjustments;
(4) Where they are unsuited to work in a trial post due to violations of discipline or law;
(5) Other situations provided by law.
Article 54: Units and individuals must not request that judges engage in tasks beyond the scope of their duties.
Judges have the right to refuse any conduct that interferes with handling cases, and to fully and truthfully record and report it; where there are violations of discipline or law, the relevant organs are to pursue the relevant responsible persons or perpetrators based on the severity of the circumstances.
Article 55: The professional dignity and physical safety of judges receive the protection of law.
Judges and their close relatives must not be retaliated against by any units or individual.
Unlawful and criminal acts of retaliation by making false charges, insults and defamation, violent encroachment, threats and intimidation, or provocation or harassment against judicial personnel and their close relatives shall be severely punished in accordance with law.
Article 56:Where judges are falsely reported, maliciously accused, or demeaned and defamed, causing harm to their reputation due to lawful performance of their duties, the people's courts shall join with the relevant departments to promptly clarify the facts, dispel negative impacts and pursue the responsibility of relevant departments and individuals.
Article 57: Where as a result of lawfully performing their duties, judges or their close relatives face physical danger, the people's courts and public security organs shall employ necessary protection measures for the judges and their close families such as personal protections or prohibiting contact with specific persons.
Article 58: A wage system appropriate to judges and their duties is to be carried out for judges, in which they enjoy the salary provided by the state in accordance with their rank, and a mechanism for salaries adjustments in step with those for civil servants is to be established.
The judges' wage system is to be provided for separately by the state, and based on the characteristics of trial work.
Article 59: A system of regular periodic salary increases is implemented for judges.
Those designated as excellent or competent through the annual performance evaluations may have their salary levels raised
Article 60: Judges enjoy allowances, subsidies, bonuses, insurance and welfare benefits as prescribed by the state.
Article 61: Where judges are disabled, they enjoy disability benefits as provided for by the state. Where a judge is killed or dies in service, their relatives enjoy the bereavement benefits and preferential treatment as provided for by the state.
Article 62: The retirement system for judges is to be provided for separately based on the characteristics of trial work.
Article 63: After judges retire, they enjoy pension and other benefits as provided for by the state.
Article 64: Where state organs or their staff have conduct violating the rights of judges provided for in article 11 of this Law, judges have the right to make an accusation.
Article 65: Where there are mistakes in sanctioning or personnel handling of judges, they shall be promptly corrected; where it causes reputational harms, their reputation shall be restored, the impact eliminated, and a formal apology given; where it causes economic harms, compensation shall be made. The personnel directly responsible for retaliation shall be pursued for responsibility in accordance with law.
Article 66: The state implements a uniform legal professional qualification examination system for new judges that is organized and implemented by relevant departments judicial administration under the State Council through discussion with the Supreme People's Court and other relevant departments.
Article 67: People's courts' judges' assistants are responsible for trial support matters such as the inspection of case materials and drafting of legal documents, under the guidance of judges.
People's courts shall strengthen the establishment of the corps of judges' assistants, and select talent for judges.
Article 68: Where this Law already has provisions regarding the rights and interests, obligations and management systems for judges, apply the provisions of this Law; where this law has no provisions, apply the relevant laws and regulations on management of civil servants.
Article 69: This Law takes effect October 1, 2019.