The top court of China released instructions on November 27, 2013 for all courts in the country to disclose in public the progress of trials and judgments. The courts are also ordered to disclose if sentences have been enforced, in order to improve judicial transparency.

China courts

The president of the Supreme People’s Court, Zhou Qiang said that the new transparency rule will help the courts in providing independent verdicts and this will also boost the trust of people in the legal system. Qiang went on to say that this is of utmost importance for improving judicial reform.

Usually, the majority of courts publish information only on their websites and the information is limited to verdicts. The top court argued that the information provided online is not enough, as it does not provide any information on the progress of cases. Zhou explained that the courts must embrace technology in order to better communicate with the public. He said, “I’m glad to see positive feedback after some controversial cases, but I also find that some people complain or question our judicial work because we cannot disclose information on trials.”

Some cities in the country have already started holding pilot programs which publicize the progress of trials. Since 2008, almost 4,500 lawsuits have been filed in Shanghai and residents can follow the cases on a 24-hour online platform.

Photo Credits: NY Times


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