Courts need to be more open to public
Updated: 2012-12-14 08:23
By Cao Yin and An Baijie (China Daily)
The top court has required all courts in the country to explore a case database, set up service centers to change their judicial working styles and let justice run in a more open environment.
The requirement is one of six measures the Supreme People's Court published on Wednesday that require courts to provide more convenience for residents and raise efficiency in the judicial system.
Wang Shengjun, president of the top court, said on Wednesday that courts nationwide should upload more verdicts and trials that can be shown to the public online, improve their news conferences and open day events to better interact with the people.
The number and varieties of meetings, such as forums and seminars, must be strictly controlled, while court documents should be condensed, Wang said.
The main task for judges is to improve trial quality and be honest in receiving supervision from every walk of life, he said, adding that court personnel should be banned from meeting in luxury hotels and traveling at the public's expense in the name of holding a conference.
The Haidian District People's Court in Beijing has tried many of the measures mentioned at the meeting on Wednesday and received positive feedback.
"We established a lawsuit service center in January 2005, the first center responsible for dealing with trial affairs and keeping relationships with residents," said Wang Jingsheng, director of the center.
The center has handled nearly 33,000 appeals, received more than 131,000 consulting calls and collected almost 38,000 legal documents, according to the court.
"The office not only helps residents understand the trial process, but also reduces the work burden of judges," he said, adding his center now serves as a bridge between the court and residents.
Zhou Yuanqing, an officer working for the court's information office, said they have uploaded some verdicts to the Internet, including all intellectual property right cases, for public supervision and suggestions.
"We'll provide more verdicts that our laws permit to disclose, no matter criminal or civil, hoping parties can conveniently seek information," Zhou said.
To further open the justice system, the court launched a website in February to help residents understand judges' work and look up case information quickly, according to Zhou.
She said that they select a typical case every week to broadcast that has aroused public attention or is meaningful, as well as invite youngsters from different schools to visit on June 1 every year, one of the court's open days.
"These measures have become our regular work and brought positive effects to make our judicial work more transparent," she said.
The requirements from the top court are expected to make the process of lawsuits more transparent, said Chen Tao, a lawyer and member of the Beijing Lawyers Association.
Trials broadcast online require judges to be more dedicated to judicial fairness since each word can be tracked, he added.
However, Wang Shengli, a lawyer with Hebei Houzheng Law Firm, said that the current online broadcast of trials could not meet public demand.
"Many sensitive cases are not broadcast on the Internet, and it's meaningless to broadcast too many cases in which the public has no interest at all," he added.
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