Project offers jobs openings to legal experts

Updated: 2014-06-16 08:00

By An Baijie (China Daily)

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Provincial councils to select judges and prosecutors, increasing transparency

Lawyers and legal experts will have the chance to be selected as judges and prosecutors, according to a judicial reform pilot project.

Unlike in the past, when justice staff members were nominated by local county and city authorities, judges and prosecutors will be selected by a council of provincial authorities, said the guidelines of the pilot project unveiled on Sunday.

According to the guidelines, the council will consider choosing lawyers and legal experts to serve as judges and prosecutors to enhance justice capacity.

The provincial council will consist of legal professionals, including judges, prosecutors, lawyers, and legal experts, the guidelines said.

Candidate judges and prosecutors will be appraised by the council in several aspects, including their political ideology and self-discipline.

The move aims to tackle problems that have influenced judicial fairness and justice capacity, according to the guidelines.

Apart from personnel management, justice workers' salaries will also be given by provincial authorities to prevent lower-level governmental departments from interfering in lawsuits.

The pilot project will be put into practice soon in Shanghai and Guangdong, Jilin, Hubei, Hainan and Qinghai provinces.

It is an implementation of the decisions made during the Third Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China in November last year, when a comprehensive reform package was released.

Judges and prosecutors from lower-level courts and procuratorates will have more opportunities to get promoted to higher-level judicial bodies, ensuring that those in high courts and procuratorates will be more experienced, according to the guidelines.

The guidelines said that judges and procuratorates will be accountable for all of the cases they handle in their lifetime and will be punished for making unjust verdicts.

To boost transparency, judicial work will be audio- and video-recorded, verdicts will be posted on the Internet, and lawyers will play a more important role in lawsuits under the pilot project.

Yang Weidong, a law professor with the Chinese Academy of Governance, said the pilot project is a key step in implementing judicial reform.

The management of judges and prosecutors under the pilot project is in line with international practice, he said, adding that most judges at top courts in western countries are older than those in China.

Yang said the pilot project is also facing challenges, and even though the selection and salary of judges and prosecutors will be handled by provincial authorities, lower-level governments could still interfere in lawsuits through other methods, such as the education of judicial workers' children.

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