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Circuit courts helping to ease burden on China's top court, litigants

Updated: 2016-10-10 15:25
By CAO YIN in Beijing and LIU CE in Shenyang (chinadaily.com.cn)

The Second Circuit of the Supreme People's Court has helped ease pressure on China's top court since it was set up in January 2015 to implement judicial reforms, a senior judge said on Monday.

The Second Circuit Court in Shenyang, capital of Northeast China's Liaoning province, aims to reduce the number of cases to be heard by the Supreme People's Court in Beijing and make it more convenient for litigants to file lawsuits in the northeastern regions of China, including Jilin, Liaoning and Heilongjiang provinces.

The court had accepted a total of 1,783 civil, administrative and criminal disputes as of Sept 30, of which 1,583 have been concluded, according to Hu Yunteng, chief judge of the court.

"The court was established to take the judicial reforms forwarded by the central leadership in 2013 into practice, ensuring case hearings are more independent, and to improve judicial credibility," Hu said.

He made the comments on the court's Open Day on Monday, when journalists and residents visited to gain a better understanding of the court.

"Litigants in the three northeastern provinces often went to Beijing to petition, as they thought verdicts made by local courts were wrong," Hu said. "Our court helps shorten the distance litigants need to travel and helps conclude their cases."

"We have a panel to deal with cases being retried, while for those who are short of legal knowledge, we help explain laws to them so they can fully understand their verdicts," he said.

Since it was opened, 46,570 residents have petitioned in the court, "but the number of petitions has been declining since then", Hu said. "More than 1,000 petitions were filed on the first working day, but now the figure has decreased to less than 100 per day."

The court also makes life more convenient for litigants, according to Hu.

"The number of litigants who we visited at their home or workplace has totaled 394 so far, helping them to save time and money in relation to their lawsuits," he added.

In addition, the First Circuit Court in Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong province, is responsible for cases in Guangdong and Hainan provinces and the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

In 2015 alone, the First Circuit Court handled 898 cases.

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