New guideline seeks clarity amid appeals process confusion

Updated: 2016-06-23 13:39

By Cao Yin(

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Beijing No 4 Intermediate People’s Court issued a guideline on Thursday to clarify the procedures for filing an appeal, in a move to reduce misunderstandings among residents.

The judicial document calls on judges to explain the legal process to litigants so that they understand their rights and responsibilities.

Chinese courts have been required to accept appeals without hesitation and reply to litigants in a timely manner under a guideline that was forwarded by the Supreme People’s Court and has been effective since May 2015.

Under the guideline, which aims to remove unnecessary barriers to access, an appeal should be received once it is registered instead of waiting until a preliminary review of the merits of the case has been completed.

However, confusion among residents over why their appeals had not been filed and what materials should be provided if their case was refused lead the intermediate people’s court to make the new specific guideline, it said.

Judges in the court have been asked to help litigants understand the case filing process orally or in writing, and must ensure that this explanation has been understood.

“The move is both to ensure litigants’ rights and improve judges’ work efficiency,” said Shi Donghong, chief judge of the case filing department of the court.

It will prevent residents coming to the court repeatedly and unnecessarily, Shi said.

The new guideline, made up of 17 articles, was piloted last year, with case filing explanations issued more than 10,000 times, according to the court’s statistics.

Litigants in 75 cases withdrew their appeals last year after judges explained the case filing process, while from January to May this year, litigants in more than 30 cases have indicated an unwillingness to appeal following an oral or written explanation.