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11.26.2007

Adjudication committees reformed

To all those who attend my BA lectures


On November 23, the National Working Conference on court reform took place. The adjudication committees underwent some reforms.

As a result, what you read in the course literature about the adjudication committee does not correspond anymore to the way these bodies are (or should be) working. Below, you will find a summary of the main points of an article on the reform of the adjudication committees.



National working conference on court reform/1 – 23 November 20007

Reforms of the adjudication committees (shenpan weiyuanhui, 审判委员会). Key points:

What happened?

A criminal section (xingshi zhuanye weiyuanhui 刑事专业委员会) and a civil and administrative section (minshi zhuanye weiyuanhui民事行政专业 委员会) have been established in the adjudication committee of the Supreme People´s Court.

These sections will be established in some of the High People´s Courts and of the Intermediate People´s Courts.

The composition of the adjudication committee is being changed. Before, the adjudication committee was composed by the president of a court, by the presidents of its sections and by the other personnel mentioned in the course literature. Now, senior judges will have the opportunity to sit in the committee.

What differences there have been in the way the adjudication committee adjudicates cases?

Members of the adjudication committee will form a collegiate bench (heyiting 合议庭) on their own. Alternatively, they will sit in the collegiate bench of the court, and examine the case directly.

Before, members of the adjudication committee only heard a report from the judge. Now all members of the adjudication committee will review materials of the case, and express their opinion on it. They will question the suspect (in criminal cases) or the litigant (in civil and administrative cases).

In the following cases, the adjudication committee will be present during court proceedings:

- So-called important cases

- So-called complicated cases

In this way, members of the adjudication committee will have the chance to better understand the main issues debated by the court, and to understand the circumstances of the case.

What issues are discussed and decided by the adjudication committee?

The adjudication committee discusses and decided the following issues:

- the content of judicial interpretations

- so-called “dubious cases”

- so-called “complicated cases”

- cases having a deep impact on society

- cases in which the judicial panel cannot reach a consensus

- cases in which lower level courts and higher level courts cannot reach a consensus

How does the judicial committee make its decisions on these issues? By voting.

What is the voting procedure? The adjudication committee now uses secret ballots


Feel free to contact me in case there is anything that you do not understand!

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