Guiding cases: a precedents system with Chinese characteristics

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Guiding cases: a precedents system with Chinese characteristics, 指导性案例:中国特色的“判例”制度
Pattanaphong Khuankaew/ Getty Images

On 26 November 2010 the Supreme People’s Court issued the Case Guidance Work Provisions (No. [2010] 51), which came into effect on the date of issue.

The main provisions

  • Work institutions: the Supreme People’s Court established a case guidance work office, responsible for the selection, review and approval of guiding cases.
  • Selection criteria: according to the Provisions, guiding cases refer to cases in which the judgment has already taken legal effect and which conform to the following conditions: (1) they have attracted community-wide concern; (2) the legal provisions applied embody certain principles; (3) the cases are typical; (4) they are difficult and complicated or of a new type; (5) they possess other characteristics which can act as guidance.
  • Those able to make recommendations: people’s courts at all levels, deputies of the National People’s Congress and members of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Committee, experts and scholars, lawyers and others from all walks of life concerned with the work of the people’s courts in making and implementing judgments may directly or indirectly recommend cases to the case guidance work office.
  • Review and discussion: the case guidance work office should review cases recommended to it and give its views on them in a timely fashion, requesting the head of the court or the deputy head in charge to submit them to the judicial committee of the Supreme People’s Court for discussion and decision.
  • Public release: guiding cases selected after discussion by the judicial committee of the Supreme People’s Court should be made public in a standard way in the form of bulletins in the Supreme People’s Court Gazette, on the Supreme Court website and in the People’s Court Daily.
  • Checking and compilation: the case guidance work office should make a compilation of the guiding cases each year. For cases issued before the implementation of the Provisions with significance for the work of the national courts in making and implementing judgments, the Supreme People’s Court should release them as guiding cases after they have been checked and compiled.
  • Legal effect: the Provisions clearly require that people’s courts at all levels take the guiding cases issued by the Supreme People’s Court as reference when judging similar cases.

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Business Law Digest is compiled with the assistance of Haiwen & Partners. The authors can be emailed at baochen@haiwen-law.com. Readers should not act on this information without seeking professional legal advice.