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China chief justice applauds judicial reform

[JURIST] Xiao Yang [official profile], chief justice of China's Supreme People's Court [official website] has said that court reforms over the last 10 years have achieved judicial efficiency and improved the quality of trials and rulings [press release, in Chinese] in China, the China Daily reported Monday. Xiao noted that judicial committees, the highest decision-making bodies at each level of the Chinese judicial system, have been reformed [Xinhua report] so that panel decisions are more fair. Prior to judicial reforms, the judicial committees allowed closed sessions without direct contact with either party to the case, but under new reforms, the panels will take part in the trial process. Xiao added that judicial committees have to "hear cases in person to better understand the facts and reduce the chances of biased rulings" when considering "difficult, complicated or socially important" cases. Judicial committees also now use secret ballots to vote on their rulings to avoid bias on the bench, and the judicial committees have been divided into panels exclusively for criminal cases and other civil or administrative cases to improve accuracy.

Last year, Xiao said that public trust in the Chinese judiciary needs to be restored [JURIST report] in the face of court corruption and systemic failures to implement court orders. A report by Xiao to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress [official websites] said that 800,000 court orders remained unimplemented by the courts due to negligence and bribery. Early this year, the Communist Party of China announced plans to intensify its anti-corruption campaign [JURIST report] following Xiao's complaints. The China Daily has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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