The Chinese Supreme People’s Court in Transition

  • Yulin FuEmail author
Part of the Ius Gentium: Comparative Perspectives on Law and Justice book series (IUSGENT, volume 59)


In China, the court system consists of four-level ordinary courts that lie at the core of the system, special courts and military courts. The next higher court to the first instance court has appellate jurisdiction as the second instance, and the decision by this court is final and cannot be appealed a second time, which explains the so-called ‘two-instance trial system’ in China. The Supreme People’s Court sits at the apex of the court system pyramid. Its functions fundamentally focus on trying influential cases, formulating interpretations of the law and regulatory documents within the scope of its official duties as well as supervising lower levels of courts. In respect of adjudication, the Supreme People’s Court specifically concentrates on screening petitions for reopening proceedings and on trying such proceedings. The reopening proceedings aim to correct substantial and significant procedural flaws of judicial decisions. With regard to its interpretive function, the Court interprets the law and its ‘judicial interpretations’ have binding effect for all courts throughout the country. From the political perspective, with regard to its supervisory function, the Supreme People’s Court strongly influences the lower courts through its regulations in respect of policy related to the justice system and judicial reform, so as to achieve a better administration of justice.


Civil Procedure National People Lower Court Judicial Interpretation Supreme People 
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© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Peking University School of LawHaidian District, BeijingChina

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