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Courts to Hold Stricter Standards for Judges

Courts at all levels will improve the efficiency and quality of judges by no longer allowing the position to be taken by clerks who work their way up, according to a news conference held here Monday by the Supreme People's Court.


Earlier this month, the Provisional Measures on Clerk Administration in the People's Court was jointly issued by the Organization Department of the CPC (Communist Party of China) Central Committee, the Personnel Ministry and the Supreme Court.


The clerks, to be employed in the courts, are defined by the new measures as assistant personnel for judiciary affairs, such as taking notes, and they can not become judges any longer despite holding the post for a long time.


Since New China was founded half of century ago, the clerks in the courts have been regarded as administrative cadres as well as the judges and they were promoted under the model from clerks to assistant judges to judges. Becoming a clerk was considered training for future work as a judge.


As a result, the number of judges has been growing while the ratio of judges to clerks has been badly disproportionate, bringing a negative influence to the trials.


Statistics show there were more than 300,000 personnel in the courts at all levels by the end of last year with nearly two thirds of them judges and only about 40,000 clerks in a reverse-Pyramid construction.


"Under the old model of administration, nearly all the clerks left no stone unturned in their efforts to become judges since it was the best way out," said Su Zelin, director of the political department in the Supreme Court.


Instability and shortage of clerks in many courts forced the judges to do such jobs as taking notes and filing documents, which were not their own business, resulting in low efficiency in judgments.


"The whole level of the judges is not satisfying and the courts have been crying for high-level professionals on law," said Lu Guanglun, an official of the political department in the Supreme Court.


However, clerks were required to be professionals with a high educational level even in the beginning, and some were masters or doctors, which caused a waste of professional resources.


From now on, the courts can optimize the efficiency of judges thanks to the reform, so as to increase the quality of judges on the whole, Su Zelin said.


According to him, the supreme court is considering establishing the system of selecting judges from the lower level courts for the higher level ones and selecting them from legal professionals.


(Xinhua News Agency October 28, 2003)


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