This paper provides a concise and practical summary of the structure of the Chinese judicial system and court hierarchy, explains key legal processes under Chinese procedure law, and examines the role and functions of courts. In offering this introduction to the Chinese judicial system, the paper also discusses key concepts in the Chinese judicial system that do not have directly equivalent counterparts in the Australian judicial system, including: collegiate panels (合议庭); judicial committees (审判委员会); people’s assessors (人民陪审员); and the people’s procuratorates (人民检察院) (public prosecutor). The paper also outlines some of the recent reforms introduced by the Communist Party’s Central Committee in their Third and Fourth Plenum decisions on judicial reform adopted in 2013 and 2014 respectively.
Yifan Wang is a research assistant, Asian Law Centre at Melbourne Law School, The University of Melbourne.
Sarah Biddulph is Director of the China Program, Asian Law Centre at Melbourne Law School, The University of Melbourne.
Andrew Godwin is Director of Transactional Law, Director of Studies of Banking and Finance Law, and an Associate Director, Asian Law Centre at Melbourne Law School, The University of Melbourne.