Petitioners to get third chance for grievances

Updated: 2013-11-20 00:32

By AN BAIJIE (China Daily)

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Public 'news conference' to be held if final appeal fails to convince

Reform of the country's petition system will introduce a third trial procedure for a petitioner who is not satisfied with a court's final verdict, a senior judicial official said on Tuesday.

Under the current system, a second trial is the final trial for all cases.

"Since many people are not convinced by the final trial and then repeatedly petition, we decided to hear their cases for a third time to completely respect their rights of appeal," said Jiang Wei, head of the Central Leading Group for Judicial Reform of the Communist Party of China, during a news conference at the State Council Information Office.

If the third trial also fails to convince the people, judicial authorities will hold public hearings "like holding a news conference", with the attendance of all the parties involved, local residents, reporters, deputies to the people's congress, and lawyers, Jiang said.

After the hearing, a case will be terminated even if petitions continue, he said.

Petitioning, also known as letters and calls, is the administrative system for vetting public grievances. People who are not satisfied with decisions can request reexamination.

The decision released by the Third Plenary Session of the Communist Party of China Central Committee on Friday said that a system will be established to terminate lawsuit-related petitions.

Some people have repeatedly petitioned after objecting to court outcomes, imposing not only an economic burden onto petitioners themselves but wasting judicial and administrative resources, Jiang said.

Reform of the lawsuit-related petition process is aimed at protecting the people's rights of appeal while maintaining the authority of the judicial system, he added.

Only the Supreme People's Court and the local provincial higher people's courts can terminate the petitioned cases, Jiang said.

Before the cases' termination, the petitioners' demand should be met in line with the law, and the local government should help them to overcome difficulties of livelihoods, Jiang added.

Yang Weidong, a law professor at the Chinese Academy of Governance, said that the current law should be revised before the third trial procedure is introduced.

"After the Third Plenary Session, lots of laws should be revised to meet the requirement of the reform package," he said.

The third trial is likely to focus more on the application of law rather than the identification of facts, Yang added.

"The third trial could terminate the petitioned case through legal channels, but the petitioned cases could only be actually terminated after petitioners are really convinced," Yang said, adding that the courts should guarantee justice.