On 4 February the Supreme People’s Court (Court) issued a comprehensive interpretation of the 2012 Civil Procedure Law, with 552 articles, longer than the 294 articles in the law itself. It creates a much more sophisticated body of civil procedure law. The Court has been working on this interpretation for over two years. As is usual, the Court held a press conference to explain its significance. The text of the press conference, in which the Court spokesman and Judges Du Wanhua and Sun Youhai spoke, is also available on the Court’s website. A few of the highlights of the interpretation:
- More detailed section on evidence, including recordings, reflecting the longer term work underway to draft an evidence code.
- A new section on public interest litigation, in relation to environmental, consumer cases and other such cases. The organization must show prima facie evidence of harm to the public interest. Other organizations and administrative agencies can apply to be joint plaintiffs.
- Much longer section on foreign related issues, including provisions concerning foreign language evidence (translations should be provided), and if the parties disagree on the translation, they should agree on a third party translation agency.
- Permission of the court is required to tape, video, or provide live posting on social media.
- Many provisions relating to divorce of [former] Chinese citizens who have settled outside of China.
- Section on small claims procedure.
More analysis to follow.