Third Five-Year Reform Outline for the People’s Courts (2009-2013)

The Third Five-Years Reform Outline for the People’s Courts (2009-2013) is formulated with a view to implementing the spirits of the Seventeenth National Congress of the CPC, complying with the overall requirements of the Central Government on deepening the reform of the judicial system and working mechanisms, maintaining social fairness and justice, satisfying the new demands and new expectations of the general public regarding the judicial work, and realizing the scientific development of the people’s courts.

I. Guiding ideology, objectives and principles for deepening the judicial reform of the people’s courts

1. Guiding ideology for deepening the reform of the judicial system and working mechanisms of the people’s courts

The guiding ideology for deepening the reform of the judicial system and working mechanisms of the people’s courts is: to hold high the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics; take Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thoughts of “Three Represents” as our guide; thoroughly apply the scientific view on development; fortify the notion of socialist rule of law; implement the work policies of being strict in the administration of the people’s courts, ensuring public trust in the people’s courts and building up the people’s courts through science and technology; bear in mind that satisfying the judicial demands of the people is the start point, that safeguarding the people’s interests is the fundamental purpose, that increasing social harmony is the primary task and that strengthening the power restraints and supervision as the focus; further solve the judicial problems which the people are most concerned about and expecting to be solved as well as the obstacles existing in the system, mechanism and safeguard which restrict the scientific development of the people’s court, by starting with the practical issues which the people are dissatisfied with and closely surrounding the key factors which may affect and restrict the judicial impartiality, efficiency, capacity and authority; give full play to the advantages of the socialist judicial system with Chinese characteristics and provide a strong and reliable judicial safeguard and a harmonious and stable social environment for the smooth running of the socialist market economy and for the socialist cause with Chinese characteristics.

2. Objectives of deepening the reform of the judicial system and working mechanisms of the people’s courts

The objectives of deepening the reform of the judicial system and working mechanisms of the people’s courts are: to further optimize the allocation of functions of the people’s courts, implement the criminal policy of stressing both leniency and severity, strengthen the team construction, enhance the budget guarantee system, improve the mechanism of judicial work for the people, make efforts to eliminate the contradiction between the increasing judicial demands of the people and the inadequate judicial capacity of the people’s courts, boost the self-improvement and development of the socialist trial system with Chinese characteristics and establish an impartial, efficient and authoritative socialist judicial system.

3. Principles for deepening the reform of the judicial system and working mechanisms of the people’s courts

The principles for deepening the reform of the judicial system and working mechanisms of the people’s courts are: (1) To always adhere to the Party’s leadership. The reform of the judicial system and working mechanisms is an integral part of the political system reform of China, and has strong political, policy and legal features. We must, under the uniform leadership of the Party, make decisions scientifically, democratically and according to law, and make progress actively, steadily, gradually, from top to bottom, according to an overall plan and step by step. We must firmly follow the orientation of the judicial reform so as to ensure the correct political direction of the judicial reform of the people’s courts. (2) To always adhere to the direction of socialism with Chinese characteristics. The reform of the judicial system and working mechanisms must conform to the state system of the people’s democratic dictatorship and to the political regime of the people’s congresses. We must be guided by the Marxist legal thoughts and the notions of socialist rule of law, take the socialist road of political development and construction of rule of law with Chinese characteristics, meet the requirements for giving top priority to the cause of the Party, interests of the People and the Constitution, and ensure favorable conditions for the sound and rapid development of the economy and society, maintenance of the national security and social stability, self-improvement and development of the socialist judicial system, and strengthening and improvement of the Party’s leadership over the work of the people’s courts. (3) To always adhere to our national situation. We must, in the reform of the judicial system and working mechanisms, first take into consideration our basic national situation that our country is still and will remain at the primary stage of socialism for a long term and the characteristics of development at this stage. We shall carefully study, absorb and borrow the beneficial achievements of the mankind in the rule of law, but not simply copy the foreign judicial systems and regimes. We shall keep pace with the time, but not put forward requirements beyond the actualities at this stage. (4) To always adhere to the mass line. We must, in the reform of the judicial system and working mechanisms, fully heed the opinions of the people, fully reflect the wishes of the people, endeavor to solve the dissatisfactions of the people, consciously accept the supervision and test by the people, and make the reform in deed done for the people, depending on the people and beneficial to the people. (5) To always adhere to the overall planning and coordination. We must, in the reform of the judicial system and working mechanisms, first enhance the capacities of the people’s courts to perform their functions vested by law, make overall planning and coordination on the relationships between the central and local authorities, between the present time and the future, between the courts at different levels and between the people’s courts and other political and law departments, and ensure that all reform measures not only meet the requirements for our economic and social development, development of democratic politics and legal awareness of citizens but also the professional characteristics of the people’s courts and the judicial police of the courts so as to actively boost the scientific development of the cause of the people’s courts. (6) To always adhere to pushing forward the reform according to law. We must regard the Constitution and laws as the basis for all the measures for the reform of the judicial system and working mechanisms, consciously accept the supervision by the people’s congresses, maintain the constitutional status and judicial authority of the people’s courts, implement any measure which is contrary to a current law only after the relevant law or regulation has been amended so as to ensure all reform measures completely conform to the constitutional spirits and legal provisions. (7) To always adhere to the objective law of the judicial work. We must combine the reform of the judicial system and working mechanisms with the objective law peculiar to the trial and execution work, and stress the exploration of the concrete application and embodiment of the objective judicial law in the particular national situation and the particular environment. We shall insist on applying the scientific view of development to the overall judicial reform, establish a scientific trial system and an effective execution working mechanism which conform to the objective judicial law, improve the justice administration system, endeavor to raise the judicial capacities of the people’s courts, and ensure that all the reform measures of the people’s courts meet the requirements for our economic and social development and development of socialist democratic politics.

II. Main tasks of the judicial reform of the people’s courts (2009-2013)

1. To optimize the allocation of functions of the people’s courts

(1) To reform and improve the operating mechanism for the judicial functions of the people’s courts. We shall, by centering on the trial and execution work, optimize the allocation of functions among the trial departments, among the comprehensive administration departments, between the trial departments and the comprehensive administration departments, and between the courts at different levels so as to form a more reasonable function structure and organizational system.

(2) To reform and improve the criminal trial system. We shall regulate the discretionary power, incorporate sentencing into the court trial procedures, study and issue the Guiding Opinions on Sentencing Procedures of the People’s Courts. We shall improve the criminal procedures for the first and second instances, implement the relevant provisions on the roles of the procuratorial organs and lawyers in criminal trials, and strive to improve the quality and efficiency of trials. We shall establish rules on opening the trial procedures for commutation and parole cases, tighten the applicable conditions for commutation and parole of criminals with felonies, and strengthen the synchronous supervision. We shall assist the relevant departments to improve the legislation on the time limits for trying major, difficult and complicated cases; enhance the applicable conditions and adjudicating procedures for the medical parole, temporary serving of sentence outside a prison and change of place of serving a sentence; improve the system of civil lawsuits incidental to criminal cases, regulate the working mechanisms for the execution of judgments of property-related penalties and civil lawsuits incidental to criminal cases, reinforce mediation in lawsuits, and promote the execution of judgments; improve the criminal evidence system, formulate rules on the examination of criminal evidence, unify the criterions on admissibility of evidence; establish and enhance the systems for witnesses and experts to take the stand and for the protection of them, and clarify the extent and procedures for criminal investigators to take the stand.

(3) To reform and improve the civil and administrative trial systems. We shall further improve the evidence rules for civil procedures, clarify the concrete conditions for the military courts to accept civil cases within the army, establish a sound trial system and sound working mechanisms compatible with the features of intellectual property cases, and explore the formation of consolidated trial court which exclusively accepts intellectual property cases in municipalities directly under the Central Government and in large and medium cities with more intellectual property cases. We shall give an impetus to the process of amending the administrative litigation law and push forward the reform and improvement of the trial and jurisdictional systems for administrative lawsuits. We shall improve the summary procedures for civil and administrative lawsuits, clarify the scope of cases subject to the summary procedure and formulate rules on trials under the summary procedure. We shall establish a trial information communication and coordination mechanism for new-type, complicated, mass and sensitive civil cases so as to ensure the uniformity of judgment standards.

(4) To reform and improve the retrial system. We shall improve the supervision procedures for criminal trials, regulate the trial procedures for criminal cases appealed by the procuratorates under the supervision procedures for criminal trials, improve the functional division and work procedures for the filing and retrial of criminal petition cases. We shall improve the retrial procedures for civil cases, protect the right of a party concerned to apply for retrial, and correctly deal with the relationship between correcting mistakes according to law and maintaining the force of the effective judicial judgments so as to actually solve the people’s difficulties in making petitions and retrial applications.

(5) To reform and improve the trial organizations. We shall improve the scope of and procedure for cases subject to discussion of the judicial committee, and regulate the functions and administrative work of the judicial committee. We shall implement the provision on procurator-general and deputy procurator-general authorized by the procurator-general of the people’s procuratorate sitting as observers of the judicial committee of the people’s court at the same level. We shall improve the system of collegiate bench and fortify the functions of the collegiate bench and presiding judges. We shall further improve the system of the people’s jurors, expand the scope of selection and the scope of participation in trial activities of the people’s jurors, regulate their participation in the trial of cases, improve relevant administrative rules and implement the safeguard measures.

(6) To reform and improve the enforcement system for civil and administrative cases. We shall strictly regulate the enforcement procedures and acts, promote the enforcement efficiency, and regulate the uniform enforcement work system of the people’s courts; improve the working mechanism that the higher people’s court uniformly administers and coordinates the enforcement work within its jurisdiction; improve the systems of enforcement objections and lawsuits over objections; comply with the principle of separating trial from enforcement, establish an enforcement system under which the power to rule on enforcement and the power to conduct enforcement are separated and mutually restricted and the lawsuit lodged by a party over objections to enforcement are tried by the original tribunal making the effective ruling; regulate the division of work regarding property control measures in lawsuits, improve the appraisal, auction and sale procedures, perfect the rules on the investigation, control, disposal and distribution of property during enforcement procedures and impose sanctions on those evading enforcement. We shall assist the relevant departments in establishing a sound enforcement deterrent mechanism, clarify the legal duty to assist in enforcement of the relevant departments and entities according to law, and boost the establishment of a long-term effect mechanism for enforcement work under which the Party committees and committees of politics and law are responsible for organization and coordination, the people’s courts take the lead, the relevant departments make joint efforts and all walks of life participate.

(7) To reform and improve the relationship between the people’s courts at different levels. We shall strengthen and improve the working mechanisms for the people’s courts at a higher level to supervise and guide the people’s courts at a lower level, clarify the scopes and procedures for the people’s courts at a higher level to conduct judicial administration of the business, personnel and management of the lower people’s courts and form scientific hierarchical trial relations. We shall regulate the system of remanding cases for retrial, clarify the conditions for remanding cases for retrial and establish a communication and coordination mechanism for cases remanded for retrial. We shall regulate the system regarding the requests made by the people’s courts at a lower level to the people’s courts at a higher level for instructions, and improve the working mechanisms regarding the entrusted announcement, service and enforcement of judgments.

(8) To reform and improve the trial administration system. We shall improve the trial administration working mechanisms characterized by clear rights and responsibilities, mutual assistance and efficient operation. We shall study and formulate the criterions for case quality evaluation and checkup conforming to the objective law of trial work and the uniform administrative measures for trial flow applicable to the courts at the same level throughout the country. We shall regulate the functions and work procedures of the trial administration departments.

(9) To reform and improve the mechanism for the people’s courts to accept external restraint and supervision. We shall improve the working mechanism under which the people’s court shall consciously accept the Party committee’ supervision over the leading group, members of the leading group, Party organizations and Party member officials of the courts. We shall improve the working mechanism of reporting to the people’s congress and accepting supervision by the people’s congress according to law. We shall regulate the contents and manners of and procedures for the people’s courts to accept legal supervision by the procuratorial organs. We shall regulate the working mechanism regarding the people’s courts to accept supervision by the news media.

(10) To build up the judicial professional security system. We shall strengthen the system for ensuring the people’s courts’ independent and impartial exercise of their trial powers according to law. We shall study and establish an accountability system for illegal intervention in the people’s courts’ independent handling of cases and a filing, registration and report system for case interventions in violation of legal procedures. We shall intensify the disciplinary supervision over the improper interference with trial and enforcement work of the people’s courts. We shall improve the legal provisions on punishing such violations and crimes as obstructing a people’s court from fulfilling its official business and refusing to execute an effective judgment made by a people’s court. We shall improve the system of coordination between the Supreme People’s Court and relevant departments in respect of judicial interpretations and the system of filing judicial interpretations with the National People’s Congress.

2. To implement the criminal policy of stressing both leniency and severity

(11) To establish and improve the trial system and working mechanisms for strict punishments according to law. To meet the needs for cracking down on serious crimes according to law in the new situations, we shall formulate proper judicial policies on the strict punishments of serious crimes and improve the conviction and sentencing criterions for relevant crimes. We shall improve the death penalty review procedure to improve the quality and efficiency of reviewing death penalty cases. We shall assist the relevant departments in studying and establishing a crime registration system of criminals, improve the litigation system for strict punishments of serious crimes, establish strict execution systems for penalties of death with a reprieve and life imprisonment, and clarify the term of sentence actually served by a convict after the penalty of death with a reprieve or life imprisonment is commuted to a fixed-term imprisonment.

(12) To establish and improve the trial system and working mechanisms for leniency. We shall improve the trial system and organization for juvenile delinquency cases, and reform the trial mode and execution mode of punishments in light of the physical and psychological characteristics of minors. We shall explore and establish a lesser punishment system for confessed defendants under conditions. We shall assist the relevant departments in establishing a system for clearing the petty offense records of minors under conditions, and clarify the relevant conditions, time limits, procedures and legal consequences; study and establish a judicial mechanism for proper lenient punishments of the elderly convicts, and clarify the relevant conditions, scope and procedures; study and establish criminal reconciliation system for private prosecutions and other petty criminal cases, and clarify its scope and validity; improve the approval system of sentences below the statutory penalties; study and establish an expedient trial system for petty criminal cases and expand the applicable scope of summary procedures; enlarge the applicable scope of the reprieve system according to law, properly reduce the application of incarceration penalties, and clarify the scope of cases eligible for non-incarceration penalties.

(13) To establish and improve the judicial coordination and security systems embodying the criminal policy of stressing both leniency and severity. We shall assist the relevant departments in establishing an effective mechanism for linking the criminal trial to the administrative law enforcement and discipline enforcement. We shall establish a case-handling quality evaluation system and a reward and punishment mechanism embodying the requirements of stressing both leniency and severity and promoting social harmony and stability, improve the system of indicators for case-handling inspection and evaluation, and improve the criterions for identifying misjudged cases and accountability system for illegal trials of the people’s courts.

3. To strengthen the team building of the people’s courts

(14) To improve the system for recruiting and fostering judges. We shall assist the relevant departments in improving the measures for recruitment of judges. When selecting judges or recruiting judges by examination, the Supreme people’s court, the higher people’s courts and the intermediate people’s courts shall, in principle, select and recruit the best from among the judges with relevant experience in the grassroots work or from among other excellent legal talents. We shall establish extensive criterions on the evaluation of various qualities of judges to be appointed. We shall, by reforming such measures for the recruitment of judges as directional selection, authorized fostering, periodic work and directional flow, actually solve the problems of shortage of judges and ageing of judges in the grassroots people’s courts in ethnic minority areas and underdeveloped areas of the mid-western regions. We shall establish and improve the system regarding the judges transferred from military courts to local people’s courts.

(15) To improve the mechanism for training judges. We shall strengthen the ideological and political education of judges and form a long-term effect mechanism for education on socialist legal concepts. We shall establish an in-service training system which conforms to the professional characteristics of judges, introduce the system of periodic training of all judges in a centralized manner, improve the system of pre-appointment training of junior judges and the system of training of judges to be promoted, and earnestly enhance the judicial capabilities of the people’s courts to serve overall work of the Party and the state and protect the interests of the people. We shall intensify the training of judges from ethnic minorities, especially the bilingual training of judges from ethnic minorities, and as soon as possible, foster a batch of bilingual judges who can meet the needs of trial work in ethnic minority areas.

(16) To improve the code of conduct of judges. We shall strictly comply with the provisions on “five prohibitions” and perform the supervision responsibilities so as to ensure the judicial integrity. We shall establish and improve the accountability system for judges and enforcement staff who violate the law in the trial or enforcement, and the accountability system for officials who neglect their duties. We shall study and establish a trial affairs supervision system, strengthen the supervision over the handling of relevant work, and reinforce the measures for punishing the judges who violate the code of judicial conduct.

(17) To improve the long-term effect mechanism for the people’s courts to combat corruption and advocate integrity. We shall build a responsibility system compatible with the professional characteristics of judges, which clarifies the duties and powers of judges and ensures proper evaluation of performances of judges and effective pursuit of corrupt judges, and boost the systematic mechanism reform which prevents and controls the judicial corruption from the source. We shall improve and implement the responsibility system for work on Party conduct and clean administration and the accountability system, strengthen the construction of the system of the people’s courts for punishing and preventing corruption, and establish a systematic mechanism for the disciplinary supervision work of the people’s courts which is compatible with the socialist trial system. We shall improve the patrol inspection system, and study and establish a system of stationing clean administration supervisors in all judicial tribunals and offices. We shall establish a system of clean administration archives of judges, and study and establish a clean administrative incentive mechanism to ensure judicial integrity. We shall improve the tip-off network, strengthen the information exchange and interconnection between the internal and external supervision mechanisms, and boost the work on Party conduct and clean administration in the people’s courts.

(18) To improve the personnel management system and structural establishment of the people’s courts. We shall establish a scientific selection and appointment mechanism and an effective mechanism for overseeing and administering the court officials, enhance the transparency and openness of personnel management. We shall improve the categorized administration of judges and auxiliary personnel. We shall reform the system of judicial police of the people’s courts, clarify the legal status, role, functions and power of judicial police, improve the functional setup of judicial police, regulate the personnel management system and working mechanisms, establish a police safeguard system compatible with the traits of trial work. We shall improve the setup of auxiliary institutions of judicial technology.

(19) To improve the system of staffing and position sequence of the people’s courts. We shall assist the relevant departments in formulating the special political and legal staffing standards which are compatible with the nature of the work of the people’s courts and the regional characteristics, study and establish a more adaptable staffing system, gradually execute the system of number control of judges, study and formulate opinions on the position proportion and position sequence compatible with the professional characteristics of judges, and properly escalate the grade of positions of judges of grassroots people’s tribunals.

(20) To reform and improve the system of salaries, benefits and position security of judges. We shall improve the judge incentive mechanism, assist the relevant departments in formulating the salary polices compatible with the professional characteristics of judges and commensurate with the rank of judges, study and formulate a salary system which is helpful to keep stable grassroots judges and improve the system of periodic salary rise; make an overall plan on the post subsidy, case-handling subsidy and overtime pay of judges, increase the proportion of judge post subsidy and trial subsidy in the salary income of judges; properly increase the relief payments for judges who die or become injured or disabled in line of duty, and formulate the measures for the living allowance for judges suffering from severe diseases; in view of the existing phenomena such as leaving positions ahead of schedule, modify and improve the retirement system for front-line judges compatible with the professional characteristics of judges, and improve the systems of personal security, position security and other professional security of judges.

(21) To reform and improve the system of team administration of the people’s courts. We shall assist the relevant departments in improving the system of trans-regional and trans-departmental shift of principals of the people’s courts. We shall establish a periodic rotating shift of the leading group members and the middle-level officials of the people’s courts. We shall establish and improve a system of “dual responsibilities of one post” of court presidents and divisional chief judges to realize their dual responsibilities for the trial work on the one hand and the team work on the other hand. We shall establish a system of movement and exchange of judges. We shall establish and improve a trial quality and efficiency supervision and control system mainly focusing on the evaluation of the trial quality and efficiency, a post target evaluation management system mainly focusing on the performances and categorized management of judges, assistants to judges, clerks and other administrative personnel, and a judicial affairs security system mainly focusing on the security capacity of the comprehensive service departments.

IV. To strengthen the guarantee of operating funds of the people’s courts

(22) To reform and improve the guarantee system of operating funds of the people’s courts. We shall assist the relevant departments in reforming the current administrative operating fund guarantee system so as to establish an operating fund guarantee system based on “clear responsibilities, categorized burden, separating income from expenditure, and full-amount guarantee”; divide the operating funds of the people’s courts into four categories: operating fund for personnel, operating fund for public utilities, operating fund for business equipment and operating fund for infrastructure construction, determine the grade and proportion of the operating funds to be paid out of the public finance at each level in light of the characteristics of different regions and the work of the people’s courts, realize that the operating funds of the people’s courts are fully paid out of the public finance, implement the provisions on separating the management of incomes from that of expenditure, and forbid linking incomes to expenditure; assist the relevant departments in formulating the implementation measures for the categorization and guarantee of operating funds compatible with the actualities of the people’s courts according to the operating fund categorization and guarantee policies determined by the Central Government on the basis of different projects, different regions and different departments; and reform and improve the operating fund management system of the people’s courts to raise the management capabilities and levels.

(23) To establish a mechanism for the normal increase of public operating funds of the people’s courts. We shall assist the relevant departments in improving and implementing the public operating fund guarantee standards for the grassroots people’s courts. We shall establish a mechanism for the normal increase of public operating funds of the grassroots people’s courts. The higher people’s court shall assist the public finance department at the same level in adjusting the public operating fund standards for the grassroots people’s courts in good time by taking into consideration the local economic and social development, growth of financial power and actual needs of the trial work of the people’s courts; study and formulate the business equipment standards for the people’s courts, determine the overall plan and annual plan on the allocation of business equipment, and ascertain the operating fund for equipment. We shall strengthen the infrastructure construction of the people’s courts, study, formulate and improve the construction standards for various kinds of infrastructure of the people’s courts, and determine the proportions of investments to be made by the central and provincial public finance and the public finance at the same level in the construction of various kinds of infrastructure. We shall assist the relevant departments in gradually dissolving debts for basic infrastructure construction.

24. To increase the degree of computerization of the people’s courts. We shall promote the application of computers in the administrative management, training of judges, case information management, enforcement administration, administration of complaints by letters and visits, etc. of the people’s courts. We shall, as soon as possible, accomplish the construction of the trial information network covering the people’s courts throughout the country. We shall study and formulate implementation opinions on reforming the manners of keeping records of trial activities. We shall research and develop case management process software and judicial administrative affairs management software which are uniformly applicable to the courts throughout the country. We shall accelerate the construction of infrastructure for information security. We shall boost the application of e-government collaboration between the people’s courts and other state organs. We shall build a national case information database of courts and accelerate the construction of the case information inquiry system.

5. To improve the working mechanisms of justice for the people

(25) We shall strengthen and improve the trial and enforcement openness system. We shall continue boosting the reform of the trial and enforcement openness system, enhance the reasoning of judgment documents, increase the judicial transparency, and endeavor to push forward the process of judicial democracy. We shall improve the system of listeners to court trials and regulate the live broadcasting and rebroadcasting of trials. We shall improve the public hearing system. We shall study and establish a system for the on-line release of judgment documents and a system for the on-line inquiry about enforcement information of cases.

(26) To establish and improve diversified dispute resolution mechanisms. According to the requirements of “led by the Party committee, supported by the government, participated by multi-parties and propelled by the judiciary” for the diversified dispute resolution mechanisms, we shall assist the relevant departments in their great efforts to develop alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, expand the scope of parties to be mediated, improve the mediation mechanism and provide more dispute resolution options to the people. We shall strengthen the effective linkage between the pre-litigation mediation and mediation in litigation, improve the coordination mechanism among the diversified dispute resolution methods, and improve the conflict handling mechanism which links litigation and non-litigation.

(27) To establish and improve the public opinion communicating and expressing mechanism. We shall improve a scientific, smooth, effective, transparent, simple and convenient long-term effect mechanism for communicating and expressing public opinions, and fully guarantee the people’s right to information, right of participation, right of expression and right of supervision. We shall improve the mechanism of communication and contact between the people’s courts and the deputies to the people’s congresses, members of the political consultative conferences, members of democratic parties, non-partisan persons, common people, lawyers, experts, scholars, etc. We shall further improve the mechanism for the leaders of the people’s courts to periodically hear public opinions at the grassroots level, and timely learn the judicial needs of the people. We shall study and establish a system for the on-line expression and survey of public opinions of the people’s courts to facilitate the people’s offering of opinions and suggestions directly to the people’s courts via the Internet. We shall establish and improve the case feedback and follow-up system to timely know the opinions and suggestions of the people on the trial and enforcement work. We shall improve the system of analysis, handling and feedback of the opinions of the people. We shall improve the working mechanisms for gathering public opinions, and properly solve the hot livelihood issues in the judicial work.

(28) To improve the working mechanisms for complaints by letters and visits involving lawsuits. We shall establish a working mechanism for the comprehensive control of complaints by letters and visits involving lawsuits. We shall boost the legalization and standardization of complaints by letters and visits involving lawsuits. We shall establish a system of separating “lawsuits” from “complaints”. We shall improve the accountability system for the work on complaints by letters and visits involving lawsuits, and adopt the retroactive accountability investigation system. We shall study and establish a mechanism for closing complaints by letters and visits involving lawsuits, and regulate the order of complaints by letters and visits involving lawsuits. We shall improve the information feedback mechanism for complaints by letters and visits involving lawsuits. We shall regulate the system of reception of visitors by court presidents and divisional chief judges and the system of visits by court presidents and divisional chief judges of the people’s courts.

(29) To establish and improve a long-term effect mechanism of justice for the people. We shall improve the litigation service institutions, and reinforce the work on litigation guidance, pre-litigation mediation, notification of risks, litigation aid, inquiry about case information, receipt and transfer of litigation materials, reception of complaint letters and visits, consulting of documents, etc. so as to facilitate the lawsuits of the people. We shall explore and introduce such measures convenient and helpful to the people as distance acceptance of cases, on-line inquiry about acceptance of cases, circuit trial, expedient tribunal and distance trial. We shall establish and improve the network of grassroots judicial services, and introduce the approach that the grassroots people’s courts and people’s tribunals invite some respectable, warmhearted and capable persons to act as judicial mediators or invite the people’s mediators, justice administrative departments, industrial organizations, etc. to offer assistance in the settlement of social conflicts and disputes.

(30) To reform and improve the judicial remedy system. We shall establish a criminal victim remedy system, offer state remedies to the victims who face living difficulties resulting from crimes, and study and formulate detailed rules for remedies of the people’s courts. We shall help the relevant departments to improve the state compensation system, regulate the compensation procedures, strengthen the executions on compensation, and enhance the efficacy of compensations; improve the procedures for execution remedies and establish a fund for execution remedies.

III. Requirements for the work of deepening the reform of the judicial system and working mechanisms of the people’s courts

1. To intensify the leadership and clarify the responsibilities

To deepen the reform of the judicial system and working mechanisms of the people’s courts is an important move to deeply learn and practice the scientific view of development and a significant political task of the people’s courts at all levels throughout the country at present and in a future period. The people’s courts at all levels must put this work in a key position of agenda, actually strengthen the organization and leadership, with the principal leaders leading the task in person and the divisional leaders devoted to the implementation, establish a liaison person system and project responsibility system as soon as possible with clear responsible entity, responsible persons, time limit and work requirements for each link, and muster forces to crack difficulties. The Leading Group for Judicial Reform of the Supreme People’s Court shall be responsible for the uniform arrangement, organization and execution of various reform tasks, timely understand the situations, conduct coordination and guidance in good time and strengthen the supervision, inspection, evaluation and summarization of relevant work. The relevant departments of the Supreme People’s Court shall be directly responsible for the execution of various reform tasks. The leading department of a reform task shall be responsible for the concrete execution of the task, and shall, with the collaborative departments, waste no time in formulating plans on the implementation of reform opinions. Each collaborative department shall designate special staff members to take charge of the collaboration so as to timely accomplish the reform work assigned by the leading department. Each leading department shall timely report to the Office of the Leading Group for Judicial Reform of the Supreme People’s Court the execution information as well as major issues needing discussion and coordination. The local people’s courts at all levels shall, as soon as possible, determine the relevant responsible departments and special persons and do a good job in preparing for and implementing the reform tasks, and must make new achievements. With regard to a reform project involving different departments, all of the relevant departments of the people’s court shall actively participate and make concerted efforts to ensure that all reform tasks are accomplished smoothly.

2. To make elaborate arrangements, draw on collective wisdom and absorb all useful ideas

To deepen the reform of the judicial system and working mechanisms of the people’s courts involves various aspects and needs joint efforts. We must draw on collective wisdom, absorb all useful ideas, make an elaborate design, make a well-considered arrangement, work out an overall plan on coordination, and implement various reform measures. When studying and preparing a concrete implementation plan, the people’s court at each level shall act as early as possible, do a good job in the interconnection and coordination work and try to win the strong support of the Party committee, people’s congress, government, committee of the political consultative conference, political and law enforcement entities, and all walks of life. If the judicial reform work of the people’s court involves the work of other departments, the people’s court shall hear extensive opinions and conduct sufficient consultations. If there is any significant dissent, the people’ court shall timely report it to the Party committee and the people’s congress at the same level for instructions, and jointly discuss the solutions to the problem. The people’s courts at all levels shall consciously accept the leadership of the Party committee, oversight by the people’s congress, and comments from the general public, solicit the opinions and suggestions of all walks of life on its own initiative, grasp accurate information, comprehend the problems thoroughly and put forward correct solutions so as to ensure that the judicial reform is advancing on an extensive social and public basis and substantial progress will be made in every aspect as soon as possible.

3. To intensify the measures and seek practical effects

To deep the reform of the judicial system and working mechanisms of the people’s courts means high requirements, heavy tasks, great responsibilities and multiple difficulties, so we must intensify the supervision and guidance work. The local people’s court at each level shall, under the overall arrangement of the central government and the uniform requirements of the Supreme People’s Court and according to the local actualities, make an overall plan, adjust measures to local conditions and vigorously execute the tasks on a categorized basis to ensure the obtainment of actual effects. The Supreme People’s Court and the higher people’s courts shall be responsible for the supervision and guidance over the judicial reform of the lower people’s courts, improve the systems for notification of relevant information, requests for instructions, reporting and supervision and inspection, do a good job in the inspection and evaluation, summarization of experience, supervision and coordination, information feedback, etc., make arrangements in a centralized manner and conduct emphasized supervision so as to ensure that the judicial reform work of the people’s courts throughout the country are being carried out in an orderly manner all along. The people’s courts at a higher level shall give strong support to the judicial reform work of the people’s courts at a lower level, timely learn the progress of all projects, understand the dynamic developments of the reform, and effectively solve the new-found problems. The concrete work plan worked out by a grassroots people’s court or an intermediate people’s court for the implementation of this Outline shall not be executed unless it is approved by the higher people’s court. Where a local people’s court finds any new situation or new problem during the execution of the work plan on judicial reform, it shall timely report it level by level to the Supreme People’s Court. The higher people’s court may, under the arrangement of the Supreme People’s Court and in light of the local actualities, choose some reform projects for experiment, and popularize them after they turn out to be relatively mature in practice and actual effects have been obtained. A pilot reform plan must be subject to the examination and approval of the Supreme People’s Court. A major pilot reform plan may be executed only after the Supreme People’s Court has submitted it to the Central Government and the Central Government has examined and approved it. The people’s court at all levels shall further strengthen the investigation and research and theoretical innovation of the judicial reform, and insist on adopting scientific theory and scientific approaches to guide the practice of judicial reform, so as to ensure good legal effects, political effects and social effects resulting from the judicial reform work of the peoples’ courts and new contributions made to promoting the good and rapid development of economy, guaranteeing the social fairness and justice and maintaining the social harmony and stability.

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