Victims can seek State help under new rule
Updated: 2016-07-07 07:51
By Cao Yin(China Daily)
When offenders can't pay compensation, money can be provided by judicial action
Victims of harmful behavior, including negligent or criminal conduct, whose lives have become more difficult as a result of the offender's inability to pay compensation, can ask the courts to provide relief money from the State, under a new legal guideline issued by China's top court.
The guideline, which was issued by the Supreme People's Court on Tuesday, allows litigants in eight circumstances - including those who sustained physical injuries or whose lives have become more difficult as the result of a harmful act - to be given the equivalent of 36-months' pay based on average local wages.
People who have been disabled or who require urgent medical treatment or suffer economic loss for offenses are also allowed to apply for relief in court, it said.
The top court said the guideline is designed to efficiently help litigants who suffer problems due to an inability to get compensation and to solve their urgent troubles in a timely manner.
Zhao Li, a criminal lawyer in Beijing, applauded the guideline, saying it provides a kind of humanitarian care from the country, and is good news for victims who cannot be compensated for offenses in a timely manner.
"I handled a robbery case in Henan province in 2012, in which the victim died after the attack and left two young children, one of whom was under 2 years old," Zhao said. "The family has carried a big burden to live since then, even though the offender's death sentence brought them some relief."
"The victim's family couldn't get timely economic compensation from the offender at the same time, and the criminal's family was unable to pay," he said.
"In the past, some provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions had money available to help litigants in trouble, but the public was not informed about the funds," he said.
The new guideline represents the first time the top court has ruled on the matter, clarifying under what conditions a litigant may apply for relief, Zhao said.
Ruan Chuansheng, a criminal lawyer in Shanghai, said a judicial remedy also shows that the country shoulders its responsibility to help the victims of offenses.
"It is very common that victims find it difficult to get compensation when they are injured," Ruan said. "It's often not practical to ask criminals to pay everything. Some of them are incapable of paying."
But Ruan added that the judicial remedy is aimed solely at helping litigants cope with economic emergencies. "After all, this money is not for helping the poor," he said.
The guideline also stipulates that litigants who falsify evidence to prove his or her injuries or life difficulties will be denied, as will those who interfere with lawsuits or whose damages are not the result of the offense at issue.
Court spokesman jumps to business
The high-profile spokesman of China's top court will soon join e-commerce giant Alibaba, adding to the rising number of legal officers who have resigned from courts in recent years.
Sun Jungong, who became spokesman for the Supreme People's Court in April 2009, will become vice-president for public affairs and report directly to Jin Jianhang, president of Alibaba Group, according to a source inside the company.
In a work report from the top court issued in March, the drain of judicial talent is a serious problem in the court system.
About 1,000 judges left the courts last year, including chief judges, according to Chinese media reports. Some resigned for economic reasons and some because of pressure brought on by an increasing number of cases, the reports said.
Beijing High People's Court said last year that more than 500 legal officers in the capital had quit in the previous five years.
Sun declined an interview request on Wednesday.
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