China Law List Reports.. PRC Supreme Court Takes Steps On Petitioning

This was forwarded to our inbox this week….
Supreme People’s Court’s New Measures to Resolve the Petitioning Problem

by Supreme People’s Court Observer

Beijing petitioners at SPC (used with permission of Natalie Behring)

In the past two weeks, the Supreme People’s Court (the Court) has taken new measures to resolve the problem of petitioning, which affects the Court itself. More measures from the Court are anticipated this year.  The current measures are tied with the document released on 27 February 2014 by the General Offices of the Communist Party Central Committee and the State Council on petitioning reform (the Petitioning Reform Document, linked here) and briefly reported here.

Approximately 60,000-70,000 petitioners approach the Court each year, many repeat visitors. In the Court Reform Decision of November, 2013 and other statements in 2013, Court leadership has identified resolving the issues underlying petitioning as a target for action (previous blogposts in January, 2014, October, 2013, and September, 2013).  It is likely that its current and future initiatives related to petitioning will be mentioned in the Court’s Work Report to the National People’s Congress.

Link to the Petitioning Reform Document
The Petitioning Reform Document is intended for distribution to the court system, as a Party document distributed to “all departments.” It pinpoints measures for the court system to take, some highlighted below.

Several points of the Petitioning Reform Document relate to the new measures taken by the Court.  Point 5 of the document relates calls for pathways for petitioning issues to be heard, including on-line petitioning platforms.  Point 9 of the document calls for greater legalization of petitioning, such as:

separating litigation from petitioning;
taking petitioning into the courtoom;
improving various types of appeal procedures (litigation/arbitration/administrative reconsideration)
improving systems within the courts/procuracy/public security/judicial administration to deal with the underlying issues causing petitioning.
The last sentence in Point 9 calls on the strengthening of the capacity of the judicial system, to satisfy the ever increasing demands on the judicial system of the masses (ordinary people), and to make the masses feel that they have received fair justice.

Internet petitioning platform
To implement the Petitioning Reform Document, on 28 February, the Court established an electronic platform for petitioners, linked here.  The internet platform can be accessed from the Court’s official website: