With a major overhaul of China’s trial system, the ongoing reform will grant higher courts greater discretion to decide to hear the first-instance cases from its lower courts, so as to ensure that judges are impartial and independent of local authorities.
How Chinese Courts Work
Under China’s People's Assessors Law, the assessors in a seven-person collegial bench can only participate in the fact-finding, but not the application of law. The newly issued replies from the SPC and MOJ clarify how the collegial bench shall produce a list of issues on the fact-finding, so as to sure the proper distinction between legal matters and factual matters.
In China, court conference summary, though not binding, can serve as guidance to the judges in their trials. In essence, it is more of a consensus of the majority of judges, similar to 'prevailing opinion' (herrschende Meinung).
China's judiciary comprises of courts, procuratorates, supervisory commissions, and two other governmental organs—public security organs and judicial administrative organs.
The PRC Organic Law of the People's Courts(人民法院组织法) helps us to gain a better understanding of China's court system and the internal structure of Chinese courts.
B.F.I.P.C., the most renowned court in China that has jurisdiction over foreign-related cases, can be seen as the counterpart of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York in China.
Though not binding, judicial documents issued by the Supreme People's Court (SPC) are highly persuasive for Chinese courts nationwide.