China mulls piloting reforms on people's jury system

Updated: 2015-04-23 16:58


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Chinese lawmakers are reviewing plans to adjust the juror system in the country.

Under the proposed changes, jurors who are selected to sit on a case will be asked to express their opinions on the case itself, rather than making their decisions about the case based only on the strict letter-of-the-law.

Supreme People's Court President Zhou Qiang says they are also recommending the minimum age requirement for jurors be increased.

"The minimum age for jurors will be increased from 23 to 28. At the same time, the education requirement will be lowered from junior college to senior high school."

Zhou Qiang also says the jurors will be given more opportunities to sit in different cases.

"Jurors will be able to take part in more first-trials involving both groups and cases connected to the public interest. They'll also be able to sit on major cases that have a lot of public attention. They'll also be allowed to help adjudicate serious criminal cases which involve potential sentences of more than 10 years in prison."

Under the proposals, the number of jurors who will sit on major cases will be increased to at least three from the current maximum of two.

The proposed changes will also see prospective jurors chosen at random from the public, rather than through recommendations and applications.

Unlike the jury system in the United States, where the jury is selected at random from the area where a case is heard, the Chinese system has a pool of jurors who are sent to help adjudicate cases across the country.

The system was first implemented in 2005, with some 27 thousand jurors selected for 5-year terms.