On October 18, 2017, halfway through his mind-numbing three-hour report to the Communist Party’s 19th National Congress, President Xi Jinping called for “advancing the work of constitutional review” (推进合宪性审查工作). We then noted, and Chinese media later confirmed, that it was the first time such expression appeared in Party documents. While the expression might be novel, the concept of constitutional review is not—it has been an inherent part of “recording and review” (备案审查; “R&R”) since at least 1982. For purposes of our discussion, R&R is a process whereby various governmental entities with lawmaking powers record the legislation they enact with the NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC), and the NPCSC then, through several established mechanisms, review such legislation for potential violations of the Constitution and national laws and take appropriate actions. The primary goal is to ensure the uniformity in the hierarchical legal system.
In August 2014, the NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) passed a decision establishing three intellectual property courts (IP courts) in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou—a reform set forth in the 2013 Third Plenum Decision. On the basis of that decision, the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) further delineated the jurisdiction of the three IP courts in October 2014. (The SPC’s provisions are not available in English, but the China IPR blog has analyzed them in detail in this blog post, which links to a helpful chart outlining the IP courts’ jurisdiction.) The three courts started accepting cases at the end of 2014.
Pursuant to the NPCSC’s decision, the SPC reported to the NPCSC on the first three years of operation of the three IP courts in late August. The purpose of this blog post is to highlight some statistics and developments mentioned in the report and also to flag it for other commentators to conduct further parsing.
This post continues Part 1 with a summary of the second half of the Supreme People’s Court’s (SPC’s) midterm report on pilot reform of the people’s assessor system—authorized by the NPC Standing Committee in April 2015. This part of the SPC’s report concerns the problems the Court identified with the pilot projects as well as its suggestions for further advancing the reform. In the days since we published Part 1, we have learned that the NPCSC is poised to renew the pilot projects (at least for another year, we think). One therefore could expect the SPC to focus on the difficulties discussed below in the next phase of the reform.
In April 2015, the NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) passed a decision authorizing the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) to conduct pilot programs to reform the people’s assessor system in 50 courts—at both basic and intermediate level—in ten listed provinces. The pilots formally began on April 28, 2015 to run for a period of two years, in accordance with the NPCSC’s authorization. In June 2016, months before we started this Blog, the SPC submitted to the NPCSC a midterm report on the status of the pilot programs, as required by the authorization. As the authorization is set to expire later this month, we think it fitting at this moment to review what the SPC has written about the reform efforts in its 2016 report.
This post serves as a portal to all the documents relating to the recently concluded plenary session of the National People’s Congress (NPC).
Currently, only Chinese documents are available. English versions of some of the documents should be available in a few days; this post will then be updated accordingly.
Last week, the 24th Session of the Standing Committee of the 12th National People’s Congress heard the Supreme People’s Procuratorate’s interim report on the reform pilots on people’s procuratorates initiating public interest litigation. The pilots were authorized by the NPCSC a little over a year ago in July 2015 for a period of two years. The following is an overview of the pilots, followed by a summary of the interim report.