Civil case pilot program to be promoted, top court says

(      Updated : 2021-03-02

China's top court said it will pay more effort to promote a pilot program in handling civil cases, as it has seen high efficiency and great convenience in the test.

The plan and achievements have been written into a report that was submitted by the Supreme People's Court to a session of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, the country's top legislature, which opened on Saturday, for review.

The two-year pilot program was launched by the top court in January 2020 as a move to implement the central leadership's requirements on improving the efficiency of case hearings, giving easier access to litigation and better protecting people's legitimate rights.

Since then, the test has been developed in courts in 20 cities nationwide, including Beijing, Chengdu, Shenzhen and Zhengzhou, according to the report.

Last year, the program not only helped the courts accelerate the process of dealing with civil disputes and provide more convenience for litigants, but also alleviated judges' burdens in case hearings, Zhou Qiang, president of the top court, said when introducing the report to national lawmakers on Saturday.

The pilot program allows the courts to solve simple civil cases, such as those involving small amounts of money, through mediation or by streamlining civil procedures, "which contributed a lot to reducing time and legal costs," he said, adding mediation that can be conducted online also helped litigants save traffic expense.

But the test clarifies case solution - by litigation or mediation - depends on litigants, or no court can compel litigants to solve their problems only by mediation.

Besides the report, a draft law on stamp duty also was submitted to the nation's top legislature for review on Saturday.

Additionally, lawmakers made some preparations for the upcoming annual session of the NPC, which will open on March 5, such as reviewing the work report of the NPC Standing Committee and a draft agenda for the NPC annual session.