China amends civil procedure law
Updated: 2012-08-31 15:21
BEIJING - China's legislature on Friday approved an amendment to the Civil Procedure Law following a third deliberation of the bill.
According to the amended law, agencies or organizations determined by law can bring litigation against those whose acts undermine public welfare by polluting or infringing on consumers' interests, an addition that many experts believe signals a major step forward in creating a public interest litigation system in China.
The amendment stipulates that judges should not accept gifts or treatment from any interested parties or their attorneys.
If interested parties collude with each other for the purpose of undermining others' legitimate rights and interests through litigation or mediation, courts may deny their efforts and punish them.
The amended law also highlights an arrangement to allow small claims for debts or damage to be handled more efficiently.
Courts at the county level will be given permission to make a final judgment for first instance trials concerning civil claims for an amount of money equivalent to 30 percent of the average annual salary in the province where the case takes place.
China is striving to achieve a balance between justice and efficiency, as civil claims have been with a court system unequipped to deal with the surging number of cases, resulting in a large number of unresolved cases.
The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's top legislature, passed the amendment via a vote by lawmakers Friday morning, when it concluded a bimonthly session that started on Monday.