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SPC Adjusts Jurisdiction of Chinese Courts in Foreign-Related Civil and Commercial Cases

Tue, 20 Dec 2022
Categories: China Legal Trends
Editor: C. J. Observer

On 15 Nov. 2022, the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) issued the “Provisions of the Supreme People’s Court on Several Issues Concerning the Jurisdiction of Foreign-Related Civil and Commercial Cases” (最高人民法院关于涉外民商事案件管辖若干问题的规定, hereinafter the “Provisions”), which shall come into effect on 1 Jan. 2023.

The highlights of the Provisions are summarized as follows:

  • The jurisdiction of foreign-related civil and commercial cases will be transferred to primary courts as far as possible.
  • Foreign-related civil and commercial cases under the jurisdiction of several local courts will be concentrated in one.
  • Foreign-related civil and commercial cases under the jurisdiction of one local court will be transferred to one of its internal trial divisions or collegial bench.

Chinese courts are divided into a four-level court system - Supreme court, high courts, intermediate courts and primary courts). The SPC requires courts at the intermediate and higher levels to have primary jurisdiction over appellate cases while transferring jurisdiction over first-instance actions to primary courts whenever possible.

Traditionally, foreign-related civil and commercial cases were mainly under the jurisdiction of intermediate courts. Yet, jurisdiction over most of these cases is gradually being referred to primary courts. Intermediate and high courts only have jurisdiction over the first instance of those cases involving substantial amounts of money.

However, most of the judges in Chinese primary courts are not necessarily capable to hear foreign-related civil and commercial cases. To address this problem, according to the Provisions of the SPC, such cases of several primary courts can be concentrated in one, whose capacity of dealing with foreign-related cases will be enhanced after that.

Moreover, to ensure better adjudication of cases involving foreign matters, the SPC requires local courts to pool judges with competence in this area together, so as to let them hear all these cases.



Cover Photo by JuniperPhoton on Unsplash

Contributors: CJO Staff Contributors Team

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