China Adopts Decision on Revision of Civil Procedure Law

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Sept. 4 – The “Decision of the Standing Committee of National People’s Congress (NPC) on Revision of the Civil Procedure Law ” has been adopted by vote (140-2-1) at the 28th Session of the 11th NPC Standing Committee, according to an official statement read at the press conference held by the General Office of the NPC Standing Committee on August 31. Highlights of the revised Civil Procedure Law (hereinafter referred to as the ‘Revised Law’) can be found below.

Further guaranteeing the procedural rights of concerned parties

Introducing public interest litigation

The Revised Law adds a provision on “public interest litigation” by providing that the authorities and relevant organizations, as stipulated in the law, may institute legal proceedings in the people’s courts for acts that harm the public interest. Such acts include environmental pollution and infringement on the legitimate rights and interests of consumers.

Completing the judgment document disclosure system

The disclosure of judgment documents has been deemed an important way to improve the quality of trials, the interpretation of laws, and submissions of judgment. The Revised Law entitles the public to search and review the legally effective judgments and rulings; excluding, however, material involving state secrets, business secrets and personal privacy.

Improving summary procedures

Establishing a small-sum litigation system

The Revised Law establishes a small-sum litigation system. In trying a case qualifying as a simple civil case – and whose subject matter amount is lower than 30 percent of the annual average wage of employees in the relevant city, province or autonomous regions – the primary People’s Court and its dispatched tribunal shall utilize one final trial system.

Expanding the coverage of summary procedures

The Revised Law entitles the parties concerned to dispose of their civil and procedural rights. For cases other than simple civil cases, both parties concerned may also apply for summary procedures through consultation.

Further simplifying trial procedures

In trying a simple civil case, the primary People’s Court or its dispatched tribunal may use simplified methods to summon the parties and witnesses, serve litigation documents, and try the case.

Improving enforcement procedures

Strengthening enforcement measures

Where a person subject to execution conceals or transfers property, the execution officer shall, upon receiving the application for execution or the writ of referral directing execution, send an execution notice to the person subject to execution, and may carry out compulsory measures immediately.

Imposing punishments upon those who evade execution

Where the person subject to execution colludes with others in bad faith and attempts to evade obligations specified in the legal documents through litigation or arbitration, the people’s court shall, based on the seriousness of the circumstances, impose a fine on him or detain him. If a crime is constituted, he shall be investigated for criminal responsibility according to the law.

The revised Civil Procedure Law is scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2013.

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