China mulls revisions to laws on judges, prosecutors
China's top legislature Friday began discussing two draft revisions to laws on judges and prosecutors to legislate on judicial reforms.
The draft revisions were given a first reading at the bimonthly session of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, which runs until Dec. 27.
The two laws were both adopted in 1995 and went through amendments in June 2001 and September 2017.
China begins discussing two draft revisions to laws on judges and prosecutors to legislate on judicial reforms on December 22, 2017. [File Photo: IC]
Compared with the current law, the draft revision to the Judges Law adds stipulations about the establishment of selection committees responsible for examining the professional competence of judge candidates in the Supreme People's Court (SPC) and the provincial-level areas.
The draft raises the professional threshold for judges, requiring at least five years of legal practice. Under the current law, those holding master's or doctorate degrees are allowed to be recruited as judges after just one year of legal practice.
Meanwhile, the draft revision tightens supervision over judges, as committees must be set up in the SPC and provincial-level regions to punish judges for wrong decisions with serious consequences, as a result of negligence or deliberate breach of laws and regulations.
Judges are banned from working part time in profit-making organizations, but are allowed to teach or research part-time in institutions of higher education or research after being approved.
Those who have had their certificates of notary or law practice revoked will be forbidden from serving as judges for life.
"The revision is very necessary as practice has shown that many provisions of the law, including the rights and obligations of judges, have been outdated and can no longer meet the requirement of the new situation," said Zhou Qiang, president of the SPC, explaining the draft revision to lawmakers.
According to the draft revision to the prosecutors law, a similar selection mechanism for prosecutors has been introduced. It states that committees should be established to select prosecutors in the Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP) and provincial-level areas.
Moreover, the draft encourages prosecutors to be selected from lawyers, legal scholars and others to practice law.
To strengthen supervision over prosecutors, the draft revision stipulates that punishment committees should be set up in the SPP and provincial-level regions.
The country's procuratorates shall set up committees to protect the rights and interests of prosecutors and ensure they are able to exert their judicial duties in accordance to law, according to the draft.
"The revision is of important significance to improve judicial credibility and the quality and efficiency in dealing with judicial cases," said Procurator-General Cao Jianming, explaining the draft to lawmakers. "The revision will help improve the professional competence of prosecutors and the management of legal teams."