Courts and the party state
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Courts and the Party-state. Courts beholden to local party-state No tenure for judges Local government controls funding Local party committee and party political-legal committee ( 政法委员会 ) Have influence over Court personnel (technically People’s Congress authority of personnel)

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Courts and the Party-state

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Courts and the party state

Courts and the Party-state

  • Courts beholden to local party-state

    • No tenure for judges

    • Local government controls funding

    • Local party committee and party political-legal committee (政法委员会)

      • Have influence over

        • Court personnel

          (technically People’s Congress authority of personnel)

        • Acceptance of cases

        • Handling of cases


Courts and the party state

立足中国特色社会主义事业发展全局扎扎实实开创我国政法工作新局面

《人民日报》 ( 2007-12-26 第01版 )


The court structure

The Court Structure

  • Court hierarchy

    • Supervisory responsibilities (contrast appellate courts, Lubman, 295)

      • Merit/demerit system

      • Upham: “judges taking a ‘mistaken’ position face possible fines, loss of bonus, or even dismissal”

        • Time limits on cases (not mediation—slow)

        • Overturned judgments (mediation—can’t be overturned)

        • Mediation rate (politically promoted)

  • Supreme People’s Court (center)

  • Higher-level people’s courts (prov)

  • Intermediate-level people’s courts (prefect)

    • May be court of first instance if

      • High-level gov dept involved

      • Large amount of money involved, etc.

  • Basic-level people’s courts (county)

  • People’s Tribunals (some townships)


Courts and judges

Courts and Judges

  • 3,133 basic-level people’s courts (2004)

  • with 148,555 judges (法官),

    • of which 91,099 were front-line judges

      (一线法官) (i.e. those hearing cases),

    • reduction of 13.07 percent from 2000

    • may reflect a new emphasis on training and appropriate educational attainment

    • Background

      • 250,000 judges in 1997

      • Many transferred from military, party


Training of judges

Training of Judges

  • Judicial training college established 1997

  • Judges Law 1995

    • Required college degree

    • Judges in place could acquire degree over time

      1987 17% of judges had college degrees

      1992 66.6% of judges had college degrees

       Note: night school, party school phenomenon


Case typology

Case Typology

  • Administrative

    • Cases against government (ALL 1989)

  • Civil (including economic)

    • Family law, debts, contracts, personal injury, land

    • Labor (separate division)

  • Criminal

  • Enforcement court

    • Handles applications for compulsory enforcement


Perceptions of judges

Perceptions of Judges

  • Lawyer Dai on

    • Judges in Anxiang County, Hunan

    • Judge in Haidian District, Beijing


Debate discussion

Debate/discussion

  • Debate “Sending Law to the Countryside” (Frank Upham on Zhu Suli)

  • Zhu: “native resources”  Why?

    • Not because of

      • Chinese tradition,

      • Asian values,

      • Social connections (guanxi 关系)

    • Rather

      • Institutional weakness


Debate discussion1

Debate/discussion

  • Debate “Sending Law to the Countryside” (Frank Upham on Zhu Suli)

    • Judicial independence

      • Why does Zhu support the role of adjudication committees?

      • Why does Upham see this as problematic?


Debate discussion2

Debate/discussion

  • “Situational justice” / “morality play”

    • Policeman Wang and college grad

    • Farmer who lost a leg

  • Note the political backdrop

    • Local party leaders evaluated by their party superiors on indicators of social stability

      • protests, stikes, demonstrations, violence in their jurisdiction

         is a basis for demerits


Debate discussion3

Debate/discussion

  • Debate “Sending Law to the Countryside” (Frank Upham on Zhu Suli)

    • Meaning of judicial independence

      • Why does Zhu support the role of adjudication committees?

        • Low level of professional sophistication of many judges

        • Social, institutional support against local pressure on judges

           Really promotes local judicial independence

      • Why does Upham see this as problematic?

         Really a means of party control


Debate discussion4

Debate/discussion

  • Debate “Sending Law to the Countryside” (Frank Upham on Zhu Suli)

    • Why does Zhu think demobilized military officers make good judges?

    • Why does Upham or He Weifang see this as problematic?


Debate discussion5

Debate/discussion

  • Debate “Sending Law to the Countryside” (Frank Upham on Zhu Suli)

    • Why does Zhu think demobilized military officers make good judges?

    • Why does Upham or He Weifang see this as problematic?


Judicial mediation

Judicial mediation

  • Judicial mediation vs. formal judgments

    • Problematic formal judgments

      • Land disputes link to social stability

      • Sales non-payment dispute link to labor

    • Contradictory trends

      • Data  why?

      • New policy emphasis on mediation  why?


Enforcement

Enforcement

  • Enforcement

    • Martin Shapiro (1981: 13) writes,

      • In most societies courts have had only the most rudimentary enforcement mechanisms… Courts typically do not monitor compliance, and they re-intervene to exact compliance only at the request of one of the parties. The re-intervention often takes the form of a simple repetition of the previous order. The successful suitor even in a modern industrial society frequently finds that the decree is only the first in a long series of painful, expensive, and often inconclusive steps aimed at getting his remedy. Courts, we are repeatedly and rightly told, have neither the purse nor the sword.


Enforcement1

Enforcement

  • China—higher expectation of enforcement?

  • Local protectionism


Discussion

Discussion

  • Define adjudication

  • Bureaucratic rather than adjudicatory organs


Discussion1

Discussion

  • Urban vs. rural norms Zhu (p. 8)

  • Zhu: rural bargaining highly constrained; urban highly competitive, complete well-functioning markets (ask: then why courts at all?)

  • Upham: this is a linear version of modernization theory


The law and development movement

The Law and Development Movement

  • Note areas of emphasis in international legal aid we’ve seen so far

    • Legislative drafting

    • Judicial training

       Which is more valuable?


Courts and the party state

Legal profession

State supervised—not self-regulating

Ministry of Justice

Administers bar exam, certifies lawyers, licenses firms

Exercises supervision of lawyers

Bar associations (often headed by MoJ officials)


Courts and the party state

Supply of lawyers and litigious cultures

Cultural or institutional?

Peng (2000:32) Japan, Taiwan, S. Korea “lawyerless wonderlands”

China—2002 per capita income US $ 960

Korea—2002 per capita income US $11,280

China—one lawyer for every 9,510 people

Korea—one lawyer for every 9,383 people.

In 2004, Shanghai alone had more than 6,000 lawyers in 592 law firms, while Korea had 6,273 lawyers in 258 law firms nationwide


Courts and the party state

Consulting a lawyer significant factor in “escalating” a dispute, e.g. litigating (Landry, RDI)

Contrast Michelson: lawyers as gatekeepers

“Students of contemporary China have uncritically assumed that lawyers open courtroom doors… Why are so few grievances transformed into legal claims?”


Courts and the party state

Lawyers as a force for social change

Public interest lawyers

Supreme People’s Procuratorate

Encourage local procurates to bring pilot cases in the “public interest”

Henan: loss of state-owned assets, environmental pollution, market, industrial and administrative monopolies and the destruction of natural resources or public facilities

arguably at odds with the standing requirements for civil litigation as stipulated in the Chinese Civil Procedure Code, but the procuracy and courts agreed to overlook

Individual lawyers (Qiao Zhanxiang v. Ministry of Railways )

train price ticket increases during the Spring Festival, the biggest travel holiday on the Chinese calendar, were in violation of the Price Control Law

hosted a local talk show answering callers’ questions on traffic law

Qiao lost his cases in Beijing Intermediate and High Courts, but won his case in the court of public opinion. During the subsequent Spring Festival, the Ministry of Railways held a hearing on contemplated price increases.

case selected to highlight the need for transparent administrative processes

Titi Liu (UW) Jan 24th 12noon 317 Thomson

NGOs (Beijing Univ. Law Dept’s Center for Women’s Law Stds and Legal Services

C. David Lee, “Legal Reform in China: A Role for Nongovernmental Organizations,” Yale J. of Int’l Law Vol. 25 (2000

Lawyering in repressive states

Jane Winn (UW) and Tang-chi Yeh, “Advocating Democracy: The Role of Lawyers in Taiwan's Political Transformation,” Law & Social Inquiry, Vol. 20, No. 2. (Spring, 1995), pp. 561-599.

Civil law vs. common law system—fewer opportunities

Turn to opposition political party


Courts and the party state

Legal Aid

Regulations on Legal Aid by the State Council in 2003

Duty of county-level governments

Narrow scope for qualifying for legal aid

No recourse for denial of legal aid

Private lawyers de facto compulsory provision of legal aid

foreign donor activity

educated the National Legal Aid Center, the organization charged by the Ministry of Justice with formulating legal aid policy, about legal aid systems in other countries.

Non-governmental legal aid centers—Ford Fdn funding (as with Women’s Center, above)


Recourse against the state

Recourse against the State

  • Administrative Litigation Law

  • Petitioning


  • Login