|Supreme People's Court of the People's Republic of China|
Zh?nghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó
Zuìg?o Rénmín F?yuàn
|Established||22 October 1949|
|Composition method||Presidential selection with National People's Congress approval|
|Authorized by||Constitution of the People's Republic of China|
|Judge term length||5 years|
|President and Chief Justice|
|Since||15 March 2013|
|Executive Vice President|
|Since||24 April 2008|
The Supreme People's Court of the People's Republic of China (SPC; Chinese: ; pinyin: ) is the highest court of the People's Republic of China. It exercises appellate jurisdiction over cases that originated from the high people's courts and original jurisdiction over cases concerning matters of national importance. The court also has a quasi-legislative power to issue judicial interpretations and adjudication rules on court procedure.
According to the Chinese constitution, the Supreme People's Court is accountable to the National People's Congress, which prevents the court from functioning separately and independently of the governmental structure. The court has about 400 judges and more than 600 administrative personnel.
Except for cases investigated by the Office for Safeguarding National Security in Hong Kong, Hong Kong and Macau, as special administrative regions, have separate judicial systems based on British common law traditions and Portuguese civil law traditions respectively, and are out of the jurisdiction of the Supreme People's Court.
The Supreme People's Court was established on 22 October 1949 and began operating in November 1950. At least four members of the first court leadership did not come from a legal background, and most staff members came from the military.
The functions of the court was first outlined in the Chinese constitution in its 1954 version, which said the court has the power of independent adjudication and is accountable to the National People's Congress.
During the Cultural Revolution, the 1975 constitution removed the provision that said courts were to decide cases independently and required them to report to revolutionary committees. Most staff members of the court were sent to the countryside, and the People's Liberation Army occupied the court from 1968 to 1973.
Following the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1976, the Supreme People's Court began to focus on legal issues, especially those related to civil and commercial law, because of China's economic liberalization under new leader Deng Xiaoping. The independent power of adjudicate cases returned to the constitution with the 1982 amendment, which explicitly states the courts' right of adjudication cannot be influenced by administrative organs, social organizations and individuals.
In 2005, the Supreme People's Court announced its intent to "[take] back authority for death penalty approval" over concerns about "sentencing quality", and the National People's Congress officially changed the Organic Law on the People's Courts to require all death sentences to be approved by the Supreme People's Court on 31 October 2006. A 2008 report stated that since the new review process, the court has rejected 15 percent of the death sentences decided by lower courts.
On 1 January 2019, the Intellectual Property Tribunal of the Supreme People's Court was established to handle all second instance hearings from cases heard in the first instance by the Intellectual Property Courts.
The Supreme People's Court exercises its original jurisdiction over cases placed with the court by laws and regulations and those the court deems within its jurisdiction. It also reviews appeals or protests against trial decisions or verdicts of high people's courts and special people's courts, as well as appeals against court judgments lodged by the Supreme People's Procuratorate according to trial supervision procedures. When the court has discovered errors in the rulings and verdicts of lower courts that are already enforced, it investigates or appoints a lower court to rehear the case.
The court also approves death sentences and suspended death sentences handed down by lower courts. It also approves verdicts on crimes not specifically stipulated in the criminal law.
The reply is a request for a specific case. Its legal binding force is limited to the case itself and does not have universal legal effect. In other cases, the judge cannot directly use the above reply as the basis for the judgment. For documents that have universal effectiveness and guide courts at all levels, the Supreme People's Court generally publishes it in the form of judicial interpretation and can make inquiries in newspapers and on the Internet.
While the Chinese constitution does not state that courts have the power to review laws for their constitutionality (see constitutional review), the Supreme People's Court can request the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress to evaluate whether an administrative rule, local regulation, autonomous regulation or separate regulation contravenes the constitution or a national law. However, the Supreme People's Court has never made such request.
The Supreme People's Court is also responsible for supervising the adjudication of lower courts and specialized courts.