For­eign­ers to gain eas­ier ac­cess to court ver­dicts

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By CAO YIN caoyin@chi­

An English-lan­guage ver­sion of a web­site op­er­ated by China’s top court will make it eas­ier for for­eign­ers to learn how the coun­try’s courts make judg­ments.

It will also pro­vide them with in­for­ma­tion about re­lated ju­di­cial doc­u­ments.

“We need to in­tro­duce the ver­dict web­site in English, as dis­putes in­volv­ing for­eign lit­i­gants are ris­ing rapidly, and to as­sist in the prepa­ra­tion of re­lated work,” said Li Liang, di­rec­tor of the Trial Man­age­ment De­part­ment at the Supreme Peo­ple’s Court, on Tues­day.

Although ver­dicts must be writ­ten in Chi­nese to com­ply with the law, “We’d like to pro­vide for­eign­ers with a bet­ter guide in English on the web­site if they need to search for ver­dicts and re­lated ju­di­cial doc­u­ments”, Li said.

He said some courts in coastal re­gions, such as Zhe­jiang and Jiangsu prov­inces, have been look­ing to pro­vide for­eign­ers with le­gal ser­vices amid an in­creas­ing num­ber of for­eign-re­lated cases in these re­gions.

“We hope to ease ac­cess to courts for lit­i­gants, no mat­ter where they are from,” he said, adding that the English-lan­guage ver­sion would be based on the Chi­nese web­site that cov­ers ver­dicts.

Since July2013, theChi­nese ver­sion has at­tracted more than 2 bil­lion vis­its, in­clud­ing 500 mil­lion from over­seas, and has pub­lished more than 20 mil­lion ver­dicts, ac­cord­ing to the top court.

Liu Xuewen, a mem­ber of the court’s Ju­di­cial Com­mit­tee, said the web­site helps users who reg­is­ter to search for and down­load ver­dicts.

“This is an ef­fec­tive way to im­prove ju­di­cial trans­parency,” Liu said.

To bet­ter reg­u­late dis­clo­sure, the top court also is­sued a re­vised rule on Mon­day to clar­ify how ver­dicts should be re­leased and the types of judg­ments that should not be dis­closed.

From Oct 1, when the new rule takes ef­fect, all ver­dicts should be open to the pub­lic on­line within seven days, and the range of dis­clo­sures will be ex­panded.

“In the past, some courts did not re­lease ini­tial rul­ings on the web­site as there was no uni­fied stan­dard on dis­clo­sure,” Li said. “But start­ing in Oc­to­ber, judg­ments made at any stage will be re­leased.”

The rule­makes it clear that ver­dicts re­lat­ing to di­vorces, of­fend­ers un­der age 18 and State se­crets are ex­empt from dis­clo­sure.

Lit­i­gants’ per­sonal in­for­ma­tion, such as home ad­dresses, bank ac­count de­tails and num­bers of car reg­is­tra­tion plates or iden­tity cards, should be deleted from the ver­dict, the rule states.

Huang Jin, pres­i­dent of China Univer­sity of Po­lit­i­cal Sci­ence and Law, praised the new move, but said some courts are too con­ser­va­tive in mak­ing ad­min­is­tra­tive and crim­i­nal ver­dicts pub­lic.

Of the 20 mil­lion ver­dicts pub­lished since July 2013, 3.6 mil­lion re­lated to crim­i­nal cases, while 680,000 in­volved ad­min­is­tra­tive cases, Huang said.

The web­site should also sup­ply a chan­nel for peo­ple to re­port sus­pected flawed ver­dicts or im­proper dis­clo­sure promptly, he said.

We hope to ease ac­cess to courts for lit­i­gants, no mat­ter where they are from.” Li Liang, di­rec­tor of the Trial Man­age­ment De­part­ment at the Supreme Peo­ple’s Court

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