New Rules Aim to Improve Beijing’s Court System

Beijing courts will launch a pilot program to test out new regulations on dealing with evidence-related issues in lawsuits, according to Qin Zheng'an, president of Beijing High People's Court.

The new regulation aims to improve fairness and efficiency in the judicial system, Qin declared at a conference yesterday.

In recent years, many problems have occurred during the adjudication process especially in lawsuit litigation, Qin said.

The fact that there did not use to be any time restrictions on citing evidence resulted in some litigates abusing the system, which not only damaged the legal rights of their counterparts, but also influenced the quality and efficiency of case handling.

Some litigates and witnesses have faced threats to their safety for citing evidence in court, because some related rules have not been fully applied, he said.

Furthermore, many litigates even doubt the fairness of judges, after some courts appear to have abused their authority on investigations and in their collection of evidence, the president added.

The question appears to be how to determine the effectiveness of appraisals, poly-appraisals and double evaluation, leading to unresolved cases.

Another big problem is that the witnesses, who always issue written evidence, seldom appear in court for questioning, he said.

He Rong, vice-president of the court, said that the new regulation urges the exchange of evidence in courts dealing with civil and administrative actions, as well as in criminal cases.

According to He, the regulation will provide a norm for all courts belonging to the capital on evidence appraisal and investigation.

More importantly, the regulation will serve as a test stone on exploring the best methods available to deal with such issues, as some areas of the law are currently not able to regulate such matters.

Wan Exiang, vice-president of the Supreme People's Court, praised the efforts of the Beijing High People's Court.

The regulation has set an example for other courts in other provinces and cities, Wan said.

"The regulation will instill new blood to the current judicial system and will especially provide an important reference for the drafting of a long-awaited law on evidence," he said.

With China's approaching accession to the WTO, more effort is needed to improve and to make clear the process, results and documents of the adjudication, Wan said.

(China Daily 09/26/2001)

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