Lecture 4.2 Governance Reforms in Today’s China (II): Court Reforms and the ‘Smart Court’ Initiative
From C. Qiao
The course is taught by Dr. QIAO Cong-rui and Prof. Tom ZWART from the Cross Cultural Human Rights Centre at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, through the 2021 Honours Programme for VU, UvA and AUC students.
The focus of Lecture Four is on China’s organisational and procedural court reforms since 1979. The legislative measures and implementations thereof for improving the court’s independence from the government and the court’s capacity in resolving disputes will be dealt with in detail.
In specific, we will discuss:
· The separation of the courts from the administrative bureaucracy: how did it emerge in China?
· The court budgetary reform: how did the local courts obtain the financial independence from the local governments?
· The judicial professionalisation: what are major measures for regulating and protecting the conducts of legal professionals?
Following that, we will look at the ongoing ‘smart court’ (zhihui fayuan/智慧法院) pilot the purpose of which is to digitalise the work of Chinese works and to allow big-data analytics to assist judicial decision-making during the judicial proceedings. On this point, Mr Straton Papagianneas from Leiden University will share his research finding on whether an online judicial ecosystem where the majority of court decisions will be automated would enhance judicial efficiency and minimalise human discretion or unwanted interference.