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Updated: Jun 20, 2017 english.legalinfo.gov.cn Print

1.Categories of People who can be entrusted as agents

According to Chinese Civil Procedure Law and other relevant laws, foreigner in civil litigation in China can entrust one or two persons as agents from lawyers, legal service staffs at the grassroots level, near relatives or citizens recommended by the community he lives, his employing unit, and related social organizations and their staffs. If the party wants to entrust a lawyer for litigation, he must entrust a lawyer of the People's Republic of China.

2.Procedures of entrusting where entrusting another person to represent him in civil litigation

Where a party appoints another person to act on his behalf in litigation, he must submit to the people's court a power of attorney bearing his signature or seal. The power of attorney must specify the matters entrusted and the powers conferred. The agent must obtain the special authorization of the principal to admit, waive or modify litigation claims, or to compromise or to file a counterclaim or an appeal.

To be effective, a power of attorney mailed or delivered through others by foreigners, stateless persons, foreign enterprises and organizations without a domicile within the territory of the People's Republic of China who entrust lawyers in the People's Republic of China or another person to represent him in litigation, shall be proved by the notary organ in his country, and authenticated by the embassy or consulate of the People's Republic of China stationed in that country, or shall conclude the identification procedures specified in the relevant treaty between his country and the People's Republic of China.

3.Courts with the jurisdiction for foreigners in China to file a lawsuit

According to the relevant laws of China, except for major foreign-related cases, when a foreigner in China files a lawsuit in China, he shall file before a district people's court. Based on the rules of the Supreme People's Court, different regions in China apply different standards to major foreign-related cases, and it should follow the specific rules of the Supreme People's Court. Here only the specific practice in the five regions of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong, Zhejiang and Tianjin will be introduced.

Beijing: Foreign-related civil and commercial cases of first instance with the litigation bid of more than 100 million yuan are under the jurisdiction of the higher people's court; foreign-related civil and commercial cases of first instance with the litigation bid of more than 20 million yuan are under the jurisdiction of the intermediate people's court; foreign-related civil and commercial cases of first instance with the litigation bid of less than 20 million yuan are under the jurisdiction of the district people's court.

Shanghai: Foreign-related civil and commercial cases of first instance with the litigation bid of more than 100 million yuan are under the jurisdiction of the higher people's court; foreign-related civil and commercial cases of first instance with the litigation bid of more than 20 million yuan are under the jurisdiction of the intermediate people's court; foreign-related civil and commercial cases of first instance with the litigation bid of less than 20 million yuan are under the jurisdiction of the district people's court.

Guangdong: Foreign-related civil and commercial cases of first instance with the litigation bid of more than 200 million yuan are under the jurisdiction of the higher people's court; for the intermediate people's court of Guangzhou, Foshan, and Dongguang, foreign-related civil and commercial cases of first instance with the litigation bid of more than 40 million yuan but less than 200 million yuan are under their jurisdiction; for the intermediate people's court of Zhuhai, Zhongshan, Jiangmen and Huizhou, foreign-related civil and commercial cases of first instance with the litigation bid of more than 20 million yuan but less than 200 million yuan are under their jurisdiction; for the intermediate people's court of Shantou, Chaozhou, Jieyang, Shanwei, Meizhou, Heyuan, Shaoguan, Qingyuan, Zhaoqing, Yunfu, Yangjiang, Maoming and Zhanjiang, foreign-related civil and commercial cases of first instance with the litigation bid of more than 10 million yuan but less than 200 million yuan are under their jurisdiction.

Zhejiang: Foreign-related civil and commercial cases of first instance with the litigation bid of more than 100 million yuan are under the jurisdiction of the higher people's court; for the intermediate people's court of Hangzhou and Ningbo, foreign-related civil and commercial cases of first instance with the litigation bid of more than 10 million yuan are under their jurisdiction; for the intermediate people's court of Wenzhou, Jiaxing, Shaoxing, Taizhou and Jinhua, foreign-related civil and commercial cases of first instance with the litigation bid of more than 5 million yuan are under their jurisdiction; for other the intermediate people's courts, foreign-related civil and commercial cases of first instance with the litigation bid of more than 2 million yuan are under their jurisdiction.

Tianjing: Foreign-related civil and commercial cases of first instance with the litigation bid of more than 50 million yuan are under the jurisdiction of the higher people's court; foreign-related civil and commercial cases of first instance with the litigation bid of more than 5 million yuan are under the jurisdiction of the intermediate people's court.

4.Rights and obligations for participation in civil litigation

According to relevant laws of China, foreigners, stateless persons, foreign enterprises and organizations in China enjoy the same litigation rights and obligations as that of citizens, legal persons and other organizations of the People's Republic of China when they file a lawsuit or respond to a lawsuit in the people's court. But where the court in the home country of the foreigners in China limits the civil litigation rights of citizens, legal persons and other organizations of the People's Republic of China, the people's court will adopt the principle of reciprocity as regarding to the litigation rights and obligations of foreigners, foreign enterprises and organizations of that country.

Where the court in the home country of the foreigners in China does not limit the civil litigation rights of citizens, legal persons and other organizations of the People's Republic of China, the foreigners of that country in China shall have the following rights during the litigation period in China: (1) the right to entrust agents, apply for withdrawal of judicial officials, collect and provide evidence, debate, and request mediation; (2) may have access to materials related to the case and may copy materials and legal documents related to the case; (3) the two parties may reach a settlement agreement on their own; (4) the plaintiff may give up or modify his litigation claims, and the defendant may admit or rebut the litigation claims and shall have the right to file counterclaims; (5) the parties shall have the right to within the limits prescribed by law dispose of their own civil rights and litigation rights; (6) the parties may request the people's court to provide translation, but the cost need to be borne by the parties; (7) may appeal in advance within the statutory time limit if not satisfied with the judgment of a people's court of first instance; (8) the right to apply for a retrial in accordance with the law of the effective judgment or order.

Where the court in the home country of the foreigners in China does not limit the civil litigation rights of citizens, legal persons and other organizations of the People's Republic of China, the foreigners of that country in China shall fulfill the following obligations during the period of trial of first instance: (1) shall exercise their litigation rights in accordance with the law; (2) shall abide by the order of litigation; (3) fulfill the obligations in legally effective judgments, ruling and mediation agreements.

5.Method to resolve different opinions on legally effective judgment or ruling

According to Chinese law, if a foreign party considers that there is error in a legally effective judgment or ruling made by a Chinese court, he may apply to the people's court at the next higher level for a retrial; if one party of the case includes many people or both parties are citizens, they may apply to the original court for a retrial. If the parties concerned apply for a retrial, execution of the judgment or ruling shall not be suspended. With respect to a legally effective judgment or mediation agreement on dissolution of marriage, neither of the two parties shall apply for retrial. A party who intends to apply for a retrial shall submit an application within six months after the judgment or ruling becomes legally effective; if there is new evidence sufficient to set aside the original judgment or ruling, or the main evidence for the facts ascertained in the original judgment or ruling is falsified, or the legal document based on which the original judgment or ruling was made is abrogated or revised, or in the trial, the adjudicator is found to have committed embezzlement, accepted bribes and engaged in malpractices for personal gain, the party shall submit the application within six months after he comes to know or should know the fact. Where a party applies for a retrial, he shall submit an application for retrial and other materials.

A foreign party may also apply to a people's procuratorate for supervision suggestion or protest under any of the following circumstances: (1) the people's court denies the retrial application; (2) the people's court fails to make a decision for retrial within three months after receiving the application for a retrial; or (3) there is an obvious error in the retrial judgment or ruling.

6.Circumstances where a people's court decides to retry a case

According to the relevant Chinese law, where an application made by a party meets any of the following circumstances, the people's court shall make a decision to retry the case: there is new evidence sufficient to set aside the original judgment or ruling; there is a lack of evidence for establishing the basic facts ascertained in the original judgment or ruling; the main evidence for the facts ascertained in the original judgment or ruling is falsified; the main evidence for the facts ascertained in the original judgment or ruling is not cross-examined; the party to a lawsuit, due to objective cause, cannot collect the evidence necessary for adjudicating the case and has applied in writing to the people's court for investigation and collection of such evidence, but the people's court fails to investigate and collect the evidence; there is a definite error in the application of law to the making of the original judgment or ruling; the formation of the trial organization is unlawful or the adjudicator who should withdraw has not done so; the person incapable of judicial act is not represented by a legal agent, or the party who should participate in the litigation fails to do so for reasons not attributed to himself or his litigation agent; in violation of the provisions of law the party's right to debate is deprived of; the judgment is made in the absence of the party where a summons is not served on; some claims are omitted or excessive claims are confirmed in the original judgment or ruling; the legal document based on which the original judgment or ruling is made is abrogated or revised; in the trial, the adjudicator is found to have committed embezzlement, accepted bribes and engaged in malpractices for personal gain.

7.Applying for the declaration of a person as missing or dead

According to the relevant Chinese law, with respect to a citizen whose whereabouts are unknown for two years in full, a foreigner in China who is an interested party to the missing citizen may apply to the district people's court in the locality where the missing person has his domicile for declaring the person as missing. For applying for declaring the person as missing, one shall submit an application, and the application shall clearly state the facts and time of the disappearance of the person missing as well as the motion, and documentary evidence from a public security organ or other relevant organs concerning the disappearance of the citizen shall be appended to the application.

With respect to a citizen whose whereabouts are unknown for four years in full or whose whereabouts are unknown for two years in full after an accident in which he was involved, or with respect to a citizen whose whereabouts are unknown after such an accident and upon proof by the relevant authorities that it is impossible for him to survive, a foreigner in China who is an interested party to the missing citizen may apply to the district people's court in the locality where the missing person has his domicile for declaring the person as dead. For applying for declaring the person as dead, one shall submit an application, and the application shall clearly state the facts and time of the disappearance of the person missing as well as the motion, and documentary evidence from a public security organ or other relevant organs concerning the disappearance of the citizen shall be appended to the application.

8.Courts for confirming citizens without the capacity of civil conduct or with limited capacity of civil conduct

According to the relevant Chinese law, for an application for a judgment of a citizen's incapacity of civil conduct or limited capacity of civil conduct, if a foreigner in China is a near relative or an interested party of that citizen, he may file the application to the district people's court in the locality where the citizen has his domicile. For an application for a judgment of a citizen's incapacity of civil conduct or limited capacity of civil conduct, one shall submit an application, and the application shall clearly state the facts and grounds of the citizen's incapacity of civil conduct or limited capacity of civil conduct.

9.Recognition and enforcement by a people's court of China of a legally effective judgment or ruling made by a foreign court

According to the relevant Chinese law, where a legally effective judgment or ruling made by a foreign court requires recognition and enforcement by a people's court of China, the foreigners in China concerned may directly apply for recognition and enforcement to the intermediate people's court of China which has jurisdiction. The foreign court may also, in accordance with the provisions of the international treaties concluded or acceded to by that foreign country and the People's Republic of China or with the principle of reciprocity, request recognition and enforcement by a people's court.

For the application or request for recognition and enforcement of a legally effective judgment or ruling of a foreign court, the people's court shall, after examining it in accordance with the international treaties concluded or acceded to by the People's Republic of China or with the principle of reciprocity and concluding that it does not contradict the primary principles of the laws of China nor violate state sovereignty, security and social and public interest of the country, recognize the validity of the judgment or ruling, and, if required, issue a writ of execution and enforce it in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Chinese law. If it contradicts the primary principles of the Chinese law or violates state sovereignty, security and social and public interest of the country, the people's court shall not recognize and enforce it.

If an award made by a foreign arbitration organization requires the recognition and enforcement by a people's court of the People's Republic of China, the foreigners in China concerned shall directly apply to the intermediate people's court of the place where the party subjected to enforcement has his domicile or where his property is located. The people's court shall deal with the matter in accordance with the international treaties concluded or acceded to by the People's Republic of China or with the principle of reciprocity.

10.The period for trying civil and commercial cases involving foreign interests by people's court

According to the Civil Procedure Law, the people's court shall apply the system whereby the second instance is final.

Cases of first instance shall be concluded within six months from the date of the case putting on record. Where an extension of the period is necessary under special circumstances, a six-month extension may be allowed subject to the approval of the president of the court. Further extension, if needed, shall be reported to the people's court at a higher level for approval. The parties shall have the right within the statutory time limit to appeal for the judgment or ruling of the people's court in accordance with law.

If the parties appeal for not yet effective judgment or ruling, the case shall enter the procedure of second instance. The people's court shall conclude the case within three months from the date of appeal. Where an extension of the period is necessary under special circumstances, it may be allowed subject to the approval of the president of the court. The people's court shall make a final decision on the case of appeal within 30 days from the date of admitting the case.

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