Guideline streamlines China's court case filing process

Updated: 2016-05-10 11:52

By Cao Yin(

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A new guideline introduced last year has streamlined the process of filing court cases, China's top court said on Tuesday.

By March, 14.2 million cases had been filed in Chinese courts, a 28.44 percent year-on-year increase. Of the total, 222,664 were administrative cases, up more than 60 percent year-on-year.

This follows a legal guideline adopted by the Supreme People's Court last May, which requires Chinese courts to accept appeals without hesitation and reply to litigants in a timely manner.

The guideline also stipulates that a civil, criminal or administrative appeal should be accepted as soon as it is registered — previously a preliminary review of the merits of the case was carried out beforehand.

According to the top court, courts in four provinces — Shandong, Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Guangdong — accepted more than 1 million cases after the guideline took effect.

Jiang Qibo, chief judge of the case filing tribunal under the top court, said that many grassroots courts were exploring new ways for residents to file lawsuits as they looked to speed up proceedings.

In Shanghai's Pudong court, for example, a case can be accepted within 15 minutes thanks to a self-service system, "which improves the court's work efficiency and reduces the waiting time", Jiang said.

In Jiangsu province, case filing has also been moved online. Residents can submit case materials through the internet, or even using their smartphones, Jiang said, adding that 25,779 cases were accepted via the online platform in the province last year.

But the official warned that the increasing number of cases has also brought challenges as there is a general shortage of judges across the country.

It is also important to put measures in place that prevent residents from filing unnecessary or vexatious lawsuits, he said.