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If you are facing the task of starting a lawsuit in China, then this blog post can give you useful information to think about.

In China, the judiciary is empowered on behalf of the state, and the civil court system consists of the Supreme People's Court (SPC), local people's courts, and specialized people's courts at various levels.

SPC has jurisdiction as a court of first instance over civil cases that have significant influence in the areas in which they exercise jurisdiction.

In parallel with the system of local courts, there are specialized people's courts: military; railway; marine; courts in cases related to agriculture; financial courts; intellectual property courts.

Judges and jurors in Chinese litigation

Judges play a dominant role in the process and take an active part in fact finding by questioning both parties, their solicitors and witnesses. This is contrary to the adversarial system adopted by most common law countries, where a judge and jury remain neutral throughout the proceedings.

However, as part of the reform of the legal system in China, juries have been introduced. It is also planned to increase the number of judges by 10 percent in the next few years.

The selection of jurors is very strict. Candidates receive special training and after additional checks will be eligible to participate in the process. The term of the jury in China will be limited to five years. One of the conditions for candidates is the level of education: jurors must complete at least a two-year course at a higher education institution. People's jurors enjoy the same rights as ordinary judges, after taking office and sit on a bench with judges. 

Preliminary actions in resolving a dispute in China

There are no mandatory prerequisites for proceedings, except in the following cases:

  • shareholder derivative claim;
  • labor disputes.

However, for the purpose of an unimpeded investigation and enforcement, the interested party may request the court to preserve the evidence, the safety of the property and the relevant injunctions prior to the action, in the event of an emergency.

Initiating a trial in China

Litigation will begin with the plaintiff's complaint registration by the court. If the appeal is rejected by the court, the plaintiff has the right to appeal the court's decision to a higher court. If the court decides to register the complaint, the applicant will be notified of the acceptance of the case.

Final word

The Chinese legal system should correspond to the level of economic development. Among the most important tasks, law professionals mention the fight against fraud, abuse of power and infringement of intellectual property rights in China.

Today, centers for the study of the judicial affairs of other countries have been established and unequivocal steps are being taken to liberalize the judicial system. However, we need to note that dispute resolution in a Chinese court is distinctive and sometimes a very complex endeavor. That is why, consulting an international solicitor will be a good solution to understand all the peculiarities of the trial in China.

Do not hesitate to contact our experienced law professionals by filling out the form below or in any other convenient way.