Tag Archives: circuit courts

Dean Jiang Huiling (蒋惠岭) on the Last 10 Years of Judicial Reform

Dean Jiang Huiling (蒋惠岭院长)

As the readers of this blog know, Tongji University Law School Dean Jiang Huiling worked at the Supreme People’s Court for over 30 years, and for over 25 of those years, he was involved in judicial reform. He has the most comprehensive and deep understanding of the importance, challenges, and multiple implications of reforming China’s court system.

On 11 January 2023, Dean Jiang spoke on the last 10 years of judicial reform to my judicial reform class at the School of Transnational Law, colleagues and students from Tongji University, and some other visitors.  This very delayed blogpost summarizes his presentation and responses to questions from the audience. The references to “we” in the summary are his, as are the unattributed quotations.

Presentation Outline

A. Roadmap of [the last ]10 Years of Judicial Reform
B. Four Fundamental Reforms
C. Judicial Organizations Reform
D. Procedural Justice Reform
E. Diversified Dispute Resolution
F. Judicial Democracy

G. Other Reforms

H. General Observations

A. Roadmap of Chinese Judicial Reform

The focus of his presentation was the last ten years of judicial reform (2013-2023), which included two five-year judicial reform plans. He first provided some historical background to the most recent two judicial reform plans, speaking about earlier judicial reform plans from a participant’s perspective.

1. Earlier judicial reform plans

Many Chinese scholars and some foreign scholars consider that those earlier ones were working method reforms, focusing on efficiency and other matters-they say is it not real judicial reform. He disagrees but says that it was only with the reforms of the last 10 years that structural (radical) reforms were made.

  • The first judicial reform plan (starting in 1999)–Dean Jiang was involved in drafting it.  The principal focus was making the public and judicial professionals aware of the nature of a judicial system.
  • The second 5-year judicial reform plan: Setting the tone of the judicial system–procedural justice, professionalization and other basic elements of a judicial system.
  • The third 5-year judicial reform plan: in 2002 the Central Government [中央] discussed structural judicial reforms, and although the environment was very helpful, after preparing detailed plans (in which Dean Jiang was involved), the government and the SPC gave up those structural or radical reforms.

2. The Last Two Judicial Reform Plans

  • The fourth 5-year judicial reform plan (from 2013): Radical change of the judicial structure, organization, and nature of the legal profession.  In response to my question as to why was the political leadership willing to do these reforms, Dean Jiang said that it was there had already been 15 years of judicial reform, of reforms to working methods, but it did not solve severe basic problems of judicial independence [it will be evident in this account what he means by this], fairness, and local protectionism. It is 穷则变塔–if there are no other options, then that is what needs to be done, and reflects what Chinese scholars had been calling for.  As to the nature of the legal profession, he meant treating judges and prosecutors differently, not simply as civil servants.
  • The fifth 5-year judicial reform plan (from 2019): comprehensive and supplementary reform and “Zhengfa” (政法 political-legal) reforms. (See his explanation in last year’s presentation).

3. Summary of the characteristics of judicial reform in the past ten years-

“It’s a new time….”

  • Breadth: From the judiciary to other related areas
  • Depth: From judicial system reform to broader systematic innovation
  • Goal: From a fair, efficient, and authoritative judicial system to basic values of judicial system systems–touching on basic values such as independence, professionalization, and public confidence
  • Method: From branch-driven to Central Committee-driven–by this he means that previously, reforms were undertaken by institutions separately, but now the reforms are driven by the Central Committee [Central political leadership]
  • Nature: Chinese style and self-owned brand

B. Four Fundamental Reforms

Dean Jiang focused on four fundamental reforms, giving a quick summary and some comments.  I will supplement with scattered comments, some links to some English-language academic articles, and some of my own blogposts.

  1. Judicial Personnel Management System Reform

This is one of the most important reforms. Although the Central Government had sought to improve the quality of judicial personnel (judges and prosecutors) for a long time, they had been treated as ordinary civil servants with ranking.  Now they are managed as professional civil servants.  He noted that when he was in Taiwan in 2011, Taiwan had done something similar.  (The reform is not complete, and the SPC’s website and casual conversation among judges and legal professionals reflect this).

(For those interested in the quota judge system, please see this article by Hong Kong University Faculty of Law Dean Fu Hualing and Zhongshan University Professor Sun Ying. )

2. Judicial Responsibility and Accountability System Reform (司法责任制)

He quoted President Xi Jinping’s description of it as “牛鼻子工程”–the nose of the cow project–crucially important. He noted that it is right to punish ethical violations and intentionally wrong judgments. Although this reform provides for more· internal Independence, it comes with strict restrictions and supervision.  Jurists, prosecutors legal scholars, and others disagree with this approach.  They argue that the reason for continued corruption, miscarriages of justice, and unfairness lies in the lack of reform elsewhere, The focus on judicial responsibility is a politician’s wisdom.  Under that system, supervision is more important, and that is the reason for defining “four types of cases.”

See my earlier blogpost on the “four types of cases” and Straton Papagianneas’s article on the use of automated methods of supervision.  

3. Professional Guarantee Reform: Salary, Rankings, Selection, Training, Disciplinary Reform

He spoke only briefly on this, saying these were needed so that judges were treated as judges.

4. Judicial Administration at the Provincial Level–

Delocalizing the Chinese judiciary–local protectionism was criticized by legal scholars and those within the judiciary [not to mention litigants and their lawyers] for many years. Judicial protectionism was terrible for fairness. Officials now characterize judicial power as a central power.

Chinese and foreign scholars consider the first and fourth most important.

See this earlier blogpost on problems with the court funding reform.

C. Judicial Organization Reform

These reforms are more technical and less fundamental.

1. Branch Courts of the Supreme People’s Court (Circuit Courts)

Six Branches in the country.  The country is large but only one Supreme Court in Beijing exists. They were established to deal with trans-provincial cases, so that cases involving parties from different provinces, especially when the local government or its entities are a defendant,  are heard fairly.  He favored the scholars’ proposal of making the circuit courts into a separate tier (or quasi-tier), but that idea was not accepted.

Note my earlier research on the caseload of the SPC Circuit Courts, which found that most cases that these courts considered were applications for retrial, most in administrative cases.  This has now changed with the reform to the four levels of the Chinese courts, as discussed here.  See this article by the deputy chief of the SPC administrative division and two colleagues.

2. Specialized Courts

IPR Courts
Financial Courts
Internet Courts……

He noted that the Internet Court is not officially recognized as a specialized court by the Organic Law of the People’s Courts, but is an innovative action by the Chinese government.

See also Georgetown Law Professor Mark Jia’s article on China’s specialized courts. 

3. Transregional Court Systems

“It’s another interesting invention in China.” Virtually all courts in China are based on the corresponding administrative area, so a county court will be established in a county, emphasizing the localized nature of the courts.  So in 2015, the Central Government established the following two courts:

  • Beijing Fourth Intermediate Court
  • Shanghai Third Intermediate Court

Under the situation that judicial appointments and budgets have been transferred to the provincial level, this reform may not be so useful. It is his suggestion that China establishes transregional courts beyond the provincial level. This overlaps with the circuit courts.  It is a scholar’s view.

5. Internal Organs of Courts

This one has many Chinese characteristics.

This involves the five-eight-ten test.  If you have under 50 personnel in your court, you can establish up to give internal organs in your court. If you have between 50-150 personnel, you can establish eight internal organs, and if more than that, you can establish 10 internal organs. This means that it is possible to save some quota (headcount) for personnel [linked to the headcount system of the organizational departments–see here].  But it also pushes local courts in the direction of professional, rather than bureaucratic management.

D. Procedural Justice Reform

This is considered a “technical” reform but touches upon fairness, and what President Xi Jinping says about making each person feel fairness in every case.

  1. Criminal Justice Reforms

Both inquisitorial and adversarial systems have the same standards of procedural justice. But in China, traditionally 公检法都是一条龙, the public security, procuratorate, and courts are a production line.  “We have a long history in China with this.” They consult with one another and sometimes other bodies coordinate them. Which is the center?  In this round of reforms, the Central Government pointed out that the trial, the hearing should be the center in criminal justice. It’s very difficult and the reform is not finished. But we are moving in the right direction.

2. Accesss to Justice

Case filing reforms, making it easier for a party to file a case.

3.  Simplification of procedure

For judicial efficiency, enabling more cases to be closed in a short period of time, the following reforms were made:

  • Sole judge and One Judge Panels
  • Small claims

4. Functions of the four levels of the courts

“An old item of reform but a new action taken in recent years.”

“Cylinder or Cone”?

Traditionally the Supreme People’s Court could hear a case within the jurisdiction of a local court. But this is not good for professionalism.  So now, the reform is to have the higher courts focus on legal issues and more important issues, that is for the court system to be shaped more like a cone.

See my two blogposts on this reform.

E. Diversified Dispute Resolution

ADR–in China called Diversified Dispute Resolution. This is an efficiency issue.  It is also important for Chinese state governance. The courts are a beneficiary of these developments because they resolve more cases.

1. One-stop Litigation Service
2. One-stop Dispute Resolution Service
3. Judicial Platform and Governmental Platform
4. Judicial Confirmation of Mediation Settlements

–we learned from the United States and other countries in designing this. In the US, courts approve a settlement, while in China, we have a confirmation of mediation settlement procedure.
5. Arbitration–In China, we have over 260 arbitration commissions, almost one for each city, with CIETAC, Beijing Arbitration Commission, Shanghai International Arbitration Center, and the Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration being the most prominent. We have learned from overseas in arbitration.

F. Judicial Democracy

1. People’s Congress Supervision

This sometimes makes courts anxious.  The president of a court does an annual report and the people’s congress votes on it. If it does not pass by much or does not pass, the court president and the court feel embarrassed. It has happened. What happens if the report does not pass? After two or three months, the court president has an opportunity to report again. It is a type of facilitation.

See my recent blogpost related to people’s congress supervision.

2. Peoples Accessors (Lay Judges) System

–although the terminology in Chinese is similar to a jury, it is actually more similar to the lay judge system in Europe.  It has a long history in China (not as long as Europe), and changed in the last 20 years. Now the people’s congress appoints them on the recommendation of the people’s court.

3. Judicial Transparency: Written Judgements, and Live Broadcast of Hearings

4. Media Supervision

Very different from people’s congress supervision and he spoke about the rise of commentary on the courts through social media platforms.

G. Other Reforms

1. Constitutionality Review

The Chinese courts do not do that, it is a function of the National People’s Congress. They have established a committee. This is a big progress, although some scholars think this should be given to a constitutional commission or court, or to the courts. He is not sure which is better. The NPC Standing Committee has recently published its annual report on this.  These contain legal judgments. But how should these legal judgments be made? Should they follow some procedures? The legislature is trying to reflect people’s views. The standard between the courts (black-letter rules) and people’s views is different. He hopes there will be some improvement.

2. Judicial interpretation

The SPC and Supreme People’s Procuratorate both have interpretative power within their area of competence. This is always criticized by NPC deputies, the staff of the NPC, and some scholars because the content is abstract and looks similar to legislation, but it plays an important role in unifying the application of law in the whole country. The judges love it. Without interpretations of law, given the brief provisions of law, it gives judges great discretion, so there is a risk of inconsistent application of law. He is sure judicial interpretations will be there for another decade.

3. Guiding Case System

Justice Xiao Yang found another way of interpreting the law-through cases.

4. Prosecution system

The procuratorate disappeared in the former Soviet Union but in China, it is still here. It has found a new way of life with public interest litigation, supervising administrative, civil, and criminal litigation, enabling them to oversee the executive.

5. Ministry of Justice

The State Council’s Legal Affairs Office has been merged into the Ministry of Justice. And everyone knows that President Xi chairs the Rule of Law Commission and that secretariat is located in the Ministry of Justice.

6. Public Legal Service

The Central Government just issued a reform plan.

7. Legal Profession and Pre-career Training

It is another technical but important reform for the future of the legal profession. We followed the civil law countries in planning pre-career training.  I hope we can insist on two years of legal training.

H. Some General Observations

1. The first 5 years vs. the second 5 years–very different. The first five years of reforms are structural or system reform, like the identity of the judges or prosecutors, delocalization…But the second five-year reforms–comprehensive, supplementary reforms–the four fundamental reforms have finished, and we go on to the next. But those reforms and others are not finalized–it is not possible within four or five years to fundamentally change a judicial system. This reform plan is continuing the former plan, plus supplementary reforms. Unfortunately, the Central Government has invested less. This is linked to Covid-19, the unsatisfactory international environment, and the economy—many negative factors.
2. From judicial reform to “Political and legal (政法) reform”–from judicial (司法) to political-legal reform, including reforms to the people’s congress system. The comprehensive, supplementary reforms must fit into the political-legal reforms
3. Step-by-step reform: Waiting for or creating satisfactory conditions for some reforms–only a few provinces have finished the financial reforms, less than half. Reasons– now few meetings to coordinate with other branches on this.
4. How to deal with the halfway reforms and progressing with the Comprehensive supplementary reforms–there should be some evaluation–but there are no formal critical objective evaluations published.  How to deal with the halfway reforms.
5. Yes and no to Politics-Driven Reform–the nationwide judicial reforms must be driven by political power. No comprehensive effect is possible without the use of political power. There should be more legal elements in this process.
6. On the Track of Rule of law–how to keep judicial reform on the track of the rule of law.–#5 of Xi Jinping rule of law thought is putting state governance on the track of the rule of law. That will take all legal professionals, foreign scholars, the international community, and internal incentives.  This is what is needed to keep judicial reforms on the track of the rule of law.

In the next five or ten years, the judicial reforms will not stop. The pace might be slower. The country has so many difficulties. We hope that the rule of law will help the development of this great country.

He concluded the main part of his presentation by cautioning that these are his views, as a scholar.


In response to the question concerning which reform is the most important and what obstacles it faces, Dean Jiang said that two are the most important–the centralization of judicial power and the professionalization of judges, so that judges are sufficiently qualified to exercise greater judicial power. Time is a challenge.

A question from one of my students–what about using contract judges to supplement the shortage of judges?  A: In UK, they are called part-time judges.  But in China, Chinese judges must have 政法专项编制 (political-legal specialized headcount)–in China we have not changed our minds on this–we are concerned about corruption. Perhaps in the next 10 years, we will have part-time judges, more likely borrowed from the executive. Professional ethics is very important.

A second question from one of my students, concerning the constitutionality of the quota judge reform–removing the title of judge from 70,000-80,000 personnel. Dean Jiang said it was a good question and would have been challenging if done in Europe. The Central Government leadership decided, saying that many people were not doing judicial work, but were in the General Office, Research Department, etc.  People thought about the legality or constitutionality of this. We didn’t use the word “removal,” but “suspension,” you keep the title of “judge,” but no longer do judicial work.  Dean Jiang himself was affected by this reform. He was appointed as a senior judge by the NPC Standing Committee but was working in the Judicial Reform Office. Approximately 360 judges were appointed as quota judges by the SPC. He was not one of them, not a 员额制法官, but still enjoyed the title of “senior judge,” (of the bureau-chief ranking 正局级). If all those judges had continued to be judges, it would have been a disaster for judicial reform, it would have slowed things down. It was a balancing, at the edge of legality/constitutionality. The second question that the student asked was about the accountability of judicial assistants under the judicial responsibility system.  Dean Jiang said the reason is that they are involved in judicial work and are future judges.

Another question from the audience related to reforms such as abolishing the Procuratorate and moving the prosecution function to the Ministry of Justice (like many other jurisdictions)–unlikely and why the enforcement bureau remains in the courts, when the enforcement function is elsewhere in many jurisdictions. Dean Jiang said many court presidents would welcome that, and the proposal has been made, but during the 16th Party Congress, it was decided that it was not appropriate to do so. A question was raised about military courts–he noted that they are considered specialized courts, and under the reforms moved from being under the General Political Department to being directly under the Central Military Commission (through its Political-Legal Commission).


What Is the Impact of the SPC’s Circuit Courts?

President Zhou Qiang’s May, 2020  report to the National People’s Congress (which I will analyze when time permits) revealed that the number of cases that the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) has increased about 10% over last year to 38,498 cases accepted. This year’s report usefully set out a bar graph with the number of cases that the SPC accepted and concluded.


These (also from the report) show that in 2019, almost 60% of the SPC’s cases were heard in the six circuit courts.

This is not accidental, but the result of intentional SPC policy. Judge He Xiaorong, current head of the #2 Circuit Court (and former head of the SPC’s judicial reform office) stated five years ago–” after the circuit courts (literally tribunals) are established, the center of the work of SPC headquarters will shift to supervision and guidance, primarily trying cases that have a major guiding function in unifying the application of law, that can become guiding cases  (巡回法庭普遍设立后,最高人民法院本部应当将工作重心转移到监督指导上,主要审理一些对统一法律适用有重大指导意义、具有重大示范价值、能够作为指导性案例的案件).

There has been one academic article in English (that I am aware of) (by Professors Chen and Wang) that focuses on the circuit courts, but looking at large scale policy rather than more granular analysis of circuit court decisions, whether in the form of judgments or rulings, or how circuit courts guide the lower courts, the impact on law practice in circuit court cities, and what it means for law students.  I’ll set out some quick thoughts on each topic.

Circuit Court Judgments & Rulings

According to the research of Tsinghua Professor He Haibo and colleagues, most of the SPC documents are rulings rather than judgments.  According to their data relating to 2017, 91% of the documents were rulings (relating to applications for retrial or trial supervision), with judgments accounting for about 4%, which in the authors’ view, makes it difficult for the SPC to fully fulfill its function of supervising and guiding the lower courts. This statement has made me think more about what the circuit courts are doing, particularly behind the scenes, as “supervising and guiding” the lower courts has multiple meanings.

What appears not to be generally known is that a substantial proportion of the cases heard in the circuit courts are administrative cases, although Chinese law firms have done many big data reports of commercial cases heard in the circuit courts. I am not aware of a comprehensive study on the number and type of administrative cases in the circuit courts.  This report on the #3 Circuit notes that approximately 70% of the cases were administrative, without breaking out annual statistics. I understand that similar statistics are true for the #1, #2, and #6 Circuit Courts. This report from a Shaanxi law firm on #6 Circuit cases (based on 2017-first half of 2019) found that practically all administrative rulings (96%) rejected the applicant’s request to retry or remand the cases (see the pie chart below).
Screenshot 2020-06-09 at 2.19.33 PM

The law firm commented that of the administrative cases that were accepted, most of them involved the taking of collective land and the condemnation of housing on state-owned land, indicating government enforcement issues (among others). The comments of the lawyers on the judgments indicated that “administration according to law” is still a long term goal, particularly in western China, as the cases revealed instances of local governments:

  1. condemning or taking land and housing without obtaining approval;
  2. taking land or housing in excess of administrative authority;
  3. taking land or housing first, then obtaining approval;
  4. failing to compensate real estate owners or land use rights holders;
  5. failing to follow required procedures;
  6. demonstrating poor awareness of law, including procedural and evidentiary requirements;
  7. failing to protect the rights of related persons;
  8. failing to comply with open government regulations.

This data is consistent with what I had understood from other sources. One informed commentator mentioned that circuit courts are reluctant to order the retrial of administrative cases. He attributed it to “holistic” thinking on the part of judges (my term–considering factors other than those relating to the case), particularly social stability, the need to uphold the prestige of government, etc.

However, in addition to judgments and rulings, circuit courts use other ways of guiding local courts, and indirectly, local governments.

 How the circuit courts guide the lower courts

Doing some further digging, I found that circuit courts use their judgments and rulings in other more traditional ways to guide the lower courts.  Among those are:

Circuit Courts and Elite Law Firms

Another impact of the circuit courts is to attract some of the elite Beijing or Shanghai law firms to establish branches in circuit court cities.  Tian Tong Law Firm appears to be one of the first, but I’ve also noticed that some of the other big Chinese law firms have followed Tian Tong’s lead. The impact on lawyer career paths remains to be seen, but it is likely to improve the level of litigation practice in some locations.

Circuit Courts and Chinese law students

Finally, having a circuit court nearby has an unrecognized benefit for Chinese law students, many of whom are educated in a very traditional way, with little experience in thinking through legal problems in a comprehensive way or are unused to using their research skills analytically.  It also enables the circuit courts to have greater intellectual support, without expanding their headcount.  From my conversations with law students who have interned in circuit courts, the experience has given them the opportunity to undertake thorough analysis on new issues and to have their work reviewed carefully by highly qualified and experienced mentor judges or judge’s assistants.  It has also given some law students an appreciation of the demands of working “in the system” rather than the more relaxed environment of a university, as several of my students found when they didn’t realize that they needed to inform their supervisors ahead of time about taking leave from their internships to return to school!


What are China’s new circuit courts doing?

#1Circuit Court Building
#1 Circuit Court Building

In January, 2015, the Supreme People’s Court (the Court) established circuit courts (actually circuit tribunals) in Shenzhen and Shenyang.  Are they doing anything more than serving as places to divert petitioners from Beijing?  In September I visited the #1 Circuit Court in Shenzhen to have a look for myself.

The #1 Circuit Court It is located in the former Shenzhen Intermediate Court building, but an annex contains the reception area for petitioners and separate area with courtrooms.  Visitors, including petitioners, enter through the entrance in the photo below. The burdensome security checks that Chinese lawyers have complained about for many years still operate, with security personnel (and the system under which they operate) who seem to be unable to distinguish between professional visitors and persons who may be a security threat.

The circuit courts are not separate level of courts, but a branch of the Court, but have a narrower jurisdiction, as set out in the regulations governing their operation, primarily civil, commercial, and administrative.

Part of the goal of the circuit court is to implement the personnel and structural reforms that the Court is promoting.  There are 12 judges, plus 12 judge’s assistants, who come from areas outside the circuit.  The twelve judges are  profiled on the Court’s website.  The judges do not serve in fixed collegiate panels, but each serves as presiding judge, with cases assigned randomly, and hearings in appeal cases focused on the issues in dispute on appeal, rather than a re-opening of the entire dispute.

The #1 Circuit Court occasionally “rides circuit”– hears cases outside of its headquarters.



As of early September, the #1 Circuit Court had accepted close to 500 cases.  The hearing that I attended was an appeal from the Hainan Higher People’s Court, a dispute over shareholding between a Hebei and Beijing companies.  The presiding judge was Gao Xiaoli, formerly of the #4 civil division, who often writes and speaks on arbitration, private international law, and judicial review of arbitration.  She, like her other colleagues is highly experienced.


As described in a blogpost by Ivy Chen, a former intern with the circuit court:

In the Court, the interns first review the petitioners’ materials. If these materials fulfill the procedural requirements, the petitioners then would talk to the judge’s clerks and the clerks would decide whether to recommend the case for a further review by the judges. The judges would make the final decision of whether to grant a retrial. The clerks in the Court were actually sitting judges from the High People’s Court and Intermediate People’s Court from provinces other than Guangdong, Guangxi and Hainan. My job there included: 1. to review the cases filed by petitioners and decide whether their cases have fulfilled the procedural requirements stipulated in the procedure laws, and whether the cases belong to the 11 categories of case stipulated to be handled by the Court; 2. to assist the clerks to document each petitioner’s case; and 3. to review the letters written to the Court, categorize the letters by their subject matter (criminal, civil, administrative or non-litigation), geographical associations and procedural status, and decide whether the letters should be resent to the High People’s Court of Guangdong, Guangxi or Hainan, or be resent to the SPC in Beijing or stay with the Court for the judges to review…..during the work, people realized that many petitioners have difficulty in finding good legal assistance and then the Court set up place for lawyers to offer free legal advice to the petitioners in late July.

Window to the world or window dressing?

The  #1 Circuit Court isn’t window dressing, although it seems to receive foreign delegations regularly.  What it does is provide the Court with more headcount to hear more cases, pilot  structures promoted in the judicial reforms in a environment under the Court’s direct control, seek to improve the quality of its legal policy role by research into local legal issues and greater interaction with the local legal communities.  Shenzhen is often on the leading edge in China in legal matters, particularly in commercial law.

New circuit courts opening soon in Shenzhen and Shenyang

Chinese press reports have revealed that the Supreme People’s Court (Court) will establish pilot circuit courts (巡回法庭) in Shenzhen and Shenyang by year’s end.  According to Chinese social media, Judge Liu Guixiang will head the Shenzhen circuit court, which has now been officially confirmed.  The vice presidents in Shenzhen will be Zhou Fan, formerly deputy head of the #4 civil division and Kong Xiangjun, formerly deputy head of the #3 civil division.  Hu Yunteng will head the Shenyang circuit court, while the vice presidents will be Zheng Xuelin, who now heads the environmental division and Yu Zhengping of the trial supervision tribunal.

The Central Leading Group for Judicial Reform approved their establishment in early December.  Although documents have not yet been released describing their location, jurisdiction or the personnel appointed, press reports pinpoint the former site of the Shenzhen Intermediate Court on Hongling Road as the location of the Shenzhen circuit court, with jurisdiction over administrative and major commercial trans-provincial cases arising in Guangdong, Guangxi, and Hainan. According to press reports, the Court issued a notice to judges inviting applications for the circuit courts.

On 30 December, the Court announced that the circuit courts will start taking cases from the beginning of 2015.