China's Supreme People's Court Tuesday published a judicial interpretation on the country's Antitrust Law to ensure fair competition and protect consumer rights.
According to the interpretation, an individual, company or organization may bring a civil anti-trust lawsuit directly to the court without having to obtain a government determination on a certain monopolistic act, the court spokesman Sun Jungong said at a press conference.
The move will reduce the burden of proof for a plaintiff in a civil lawsuit to prove that an industry giant has a monopoly or dominant market position.
Companies and public utilities now have to prove that they did not abuse their market dominance, a move legal experts welcomed as ensuring competition and protecting consumer rights.
Also, experts' testimonies and opinions will be accepted by the courts as evidence, said Sun. He said the difficulty of collecting and providing sufficient evidence was previously a major obstacle for the plaintiff to secure a favorable court ruling in anti-trust actions.
China's current anti-trust law became effective in August 2008. The new rules take effect in the coming June.
Between 2008 and the end of 2011, Chinese courts have received 61 civil cases concerning monopoly disputes and 53 cases have concluded trial, according to Sun.
However, plaintiffs have a "rather low" success rate, Sun Jungong, court spokesman, said.
This was because of both a lack of knowledge regarding antitrust cases and difficulties obtaining evidence proving monopolistic behavior or abuse of market position, Sun said.