Litigation

The system of people's courts in China consists of the Supreme People's Court, the local people's courts at different levels and the special people's courts. The local people's courts consist of the High People's Courts, the Intermediate People's Courts and the Primary People's Courts.

The Supreme People's Court is the highest of the judiciary of the state. It tries cases of first instance over which it has jurisdiction according to law and cases of first instance it deems that it should try, cases of first instance submitted for trial by people's courts at lower level in accordance with law, cases of appeal and protests against the judgments and orders of High People's Courts and special people's courts and cases of protests filed by the Supreme People's Procuratorate in accordance with the procedures of trial supervision. The Supreme People's Court supervises the trial conducted by local people's courts and specialized people's courts.

The Supreme People's Court interprets the application of laws in litigation.

Local people's courts

1). The High People's Courts
There are now in China 30 High People's Courts at the level of province, autonomous region and municipality with provincial status.
High people's court tries cases of first instance over which it has jurisdiction, cases of first instance submitted for trial by people's courts at lower level according to law, cases of first instance transferred from the Supreme People's Court according to law. cases of appeal and protest against judgments and orders of people's courts at lower level and cases of protest filed by people's procuratorate in accordance with the procedures of trial supervision. The High People's Court supervises the adjudication work of people's courts at lower level.

2). The Intermediate People's Courts
The Intermediate People's Courts are set up in prefectures in China's provinces and autonomous regions , districts in municipalities with provincial status, cities and autonomous prefectures of provinces and autonomous regions and in other places as needed. by the end of 1994, there were 391 Intermediate People's Courts in China.
An Intermediate People's Court hears cases of first instance over which it has jurisdiction, cases of first instance empowered by the Supreme People's Court to try, cases of first instance submitted for trial by Primary People's Courts, cases of first instance transferred from courts at higher level according to law, cases of appeal and protest against judgments and orders of Primary people's Courts and cases of protest filed by the people's procuratorate according to the procedures of trial supervision. An Intermediate People's Court supervises the adjudication work of the Primary People's Courts within its jurisdiction.

3) The Primary people's Courts
The primary People's Courts are set up in counties, cities at county level, autonomous counties, banners, city districts and in places as needed. A Primary People's Court may set up a number of people's tribunals in light of local conditions, the density of local population and the pressure of case laid. By the end of 1994, there were 3074 Primary People's Courts and close to 20,000 people's tribunals in China.
A Primary People's Court hears criminal, civil, economic and administrative cases of first instance, except for those cases otherwise stipulated by law. A Primary People's Court also handles civil disputes, economic disputes and minor criminal cases not requiring trial and guide people's mediation committees in their work.

The special people's courts

The special people's courts consist of the Military Courts, the Maritime Courts, the Railway Transportation Courts and other special people's courts set up as needed.

As stipulated in the Constitution of the People's Republic of China, " All power in the People's Republic of China belongs to the people. The National People's Congress and the local people's congress at various levels are the organs through which the people exercise state power. " The Supreme People's Court is responsible and reports its work to the National People's Congress and its standing Committee. Local people's courts at various levels are responsible and report their work to local people's congresses which approve them and their standing committees at corresponding levels.

Qualifications, Appointment and Removal of Judges

The judge Law of the people's Republic of China was adopted by the Standing Committee of the Eighth National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China at its 12th Session on February 28,1995 and entered into force on July 1, 1995. Under the law, judges are required to perform legal responsibilities and obligations and enjoy due legal rights and honor. They must subject themselves to legal and populace supervision and bear legal liabilities for violation of code of conducts. The adoption of this law is of great importance in safeguarding the tenure of the state judiciary and promoting the effective administration of justice.

The Chinese judges exercise the adjudication power according to law. Their hierarchy includes the Presidents, Vice-Presidents, members of the Judicial Committees, Chief Judges and Associate Chief Judges of Divisions, Judges and Assistant Judges of the Supreme People's Court, the local people's courts at various levels and the special people's courts including the Military Courts.

A judge must meet the following qualifications: (1). a citizenship of the People's Republic of China; (2) being or over the age of 23; (3) upholding the Constitution of the People's Republic of China; (4) with political quality, professional competence and standard ethics; (5) being healthy: (6) a college graduate majoring in law who has been employed for at least two years or a college graduate not majoring in law but has received professional legal training who has been employed for at least two years; holder of LL. B. degree who has been employed for at least one year and holders of LL.M. or LL. D. degree. The potential candidates meeting the aforesaid qualifications must enter into open state examination and strict process for performance evaluation, and actual candidates who have passed examination and evaluation for appointment of judges or assistant judges are selected from the elite of them in conformity with the provisions of the Constitution, laws concerning the appointment and removal of judges and due procedures.

The President of the Supreme People's Court is elected and subject to recall by the National People's Congress. The Vice-President, Members of the Judicial Committee, Chief Judges and Associate Chief Judges of Divisions and Judges are appointed and removed by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress upon submission of the President of the Supreme People's Court. is elected and subject to recall by the National People's Congress. The Vice-president, Members of the Judicial Committee, Chief Judges and Associate Chief Judges of Divisions and Judges are appointed and removed by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress upon submission of the President of the Supreme people's Court.

The President of a local people's Court is elected and subject to recall by the local people's congress, and the Vice-Presidents, Members of the Judicial Committees, Chief Judges of Divisions, Members of the Judicial Committees, Chief Judges of Divisions and Associate Chief Judges of Divisions and Judges of the court are appointed and removed by the standing committee of the local people's congress at the same level upon submission of the President of the said court.

The President of an Intermediate People's Court set up in a prefecture in a Chinese province, autonomous region or municipality with provincial status is appointed and subject to recall on the recommendation of the chairman's meeting of the standing committee of the people's congress at he provincial level. The Vice- Presidents, Members of the Judicial Committee, Chief Judges and Associate Chief Judges of Divisions and Judges of the court are appointed and removed by the standing committee of the above people's congress upon submission of the President of the local High People's Court.

In places of ethnic autonomy, the President of a local people's court is elected and subject to recall by the local people's congress, The Vice-President, Members of the Judicial Committee, Chief Judges and Associate Chief Judges of Divisions and Judges of the court are appointed and removed by the standing committee of the local people's congress upon submission of the President of the said court.

The Assistant Judge of a people's court is appointed by the President of the said court. The hierarchy of Chinese judicature is divided into 12 ranks. At the apex of the ranks is the President of the Supreme People's Court, the Chief Justice of the state. Justices, Senior Judges and Judges follow the ranks ranging from 2-12. Judge Scrutiny and Evaluation Committees in the people's courts will be responsible for the training, scrutiny and evaluation of judges. The Judge Scrutiny and Evaluation Committee of the Supreme People's Court is responsible for organizing nationwide examinations for recruiting new Judges and Assistant Judges.

The Cardinal Principles and systems of the Organization and Functions of the People's Courts in China

(1) The principle of the exclusive exercise of judicial power of the state by the people's courts

(2) The principle that the people's courts exercise judicial power independently in accordance with law

(3) The principle that all citizens , legal persons and other entities are equal with regard to the application of law.

(4) The principle of taking facts as the basis and the law as the criterion

The basic systems relating to the organization and functions of the Courts as provided for in China's Constitution and relevant laws are as follows:

(1) The system of open trial
(2) The system of defense
(3) The system of agent at litigation
(4) The challenge system
(5) The system of mediation
(6) The collegiate system
(7) The system of judicial committee
(8) The system of the second instance as the final instance
(9) The system of capital punishment review
(10) The system of trial supervision

Trials conducted by the people's courts in China

(1) Trial of criminal cases
(2) Trial of civil cases
(3) Trial of economic cases
(4) Trial of administrative cases
(5) Trial of maritime cases
(6) enforcement
(7) Compensation

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