China to Improve Jury System

To enhance the anti-malpractice drive in courts and maintain justice, China will further improve the people's jury system.

Draft regulations on improving the people's jury system authored by the Supreme People's Court (SPC), was presented to the ongoing 18th session of the Standing Committee of the Ninth National People's Congress (NPC) Monday.

In his presentation about the draft to NPC, Xiao Yang, president of SPC, said that it is of vital necessity to work out a regulation on the system because the former jury system provided for in the 1954 Constitution is poor and not very specific.

"The system only exists in name in many places or not implemented at all," he said.

The draft stipulates that in view of authority, the selection of jurors should go through the procedures of being appointed by the standing committee of the local people's congress.

Chinese citizens with a senior high school diploma or above who has some knowledge on law, upon the recommendation of his working unit and approval of local court, is subject to appointment as a juror by the standing committee of local people's congress, says the draft. The people's jurors are indispensable in initial criminal trials, trial of civil cases involving personal rights, and civil, administrative, intellectual property and first-time maritime trials that are of considerable social impact, the draft regulations say.

Judges and jurors form a collegiate bench to handle cases, it was noted.

Litigants may also ask the court to form collegiate benches with jurors to handle their lawsuits, the draft regulations say.

People's jurors are empowered to raise complaints to the president of the court if they find illegal court proceedings or wrongdoing of judges, according to the regulations.

Jurors are also liable to legal consequences if they break the law, the draft regulations say.

The means of reimbursement for jurors has long crippled the people's jury system, Xiao said.

(Xinhua 10/23/2000)

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