New public judicial system to be launched in 2020 to cover all residents
Chinese will enjoy improved legal services in 2020 following the setting up of a new public judicial system, the nation's top justice authority said on Thursday.
The system, which is scheduled to be unveiled in two years and covers residents from urban and rural areas, aims to meet the public's increasing demand for high-quality and efficient legal services, according to a Ministry of Justice statement.
By 2020, services involving lawyers, mediation, legal aid, institutes for verifying judicial materials and notarization will be improved, while there are plans to make legal knowledge and education more widely known, it said.
"We'll supply better services by making full use of technologies and big data such as setting up hotlines, establishing a legal case database and answering questions on social media or smartphone applications," said Vice-Minister Xiong Xuanguo.
Meanwhile, he said each township in the country will have a legal services office, and each village will be sent a legal counselor.
So far, legal counselors have been sent to villages in 13 provinces and municipalities, while a WeChat group to connect counselors with villagers is ready to be set up, the statement said.
The services will be increased, especially in western areas of the country, it added.
"People's increasing needs concerning the rule of law, justice and security are prompting us to provide better legal services," Xiong added.
Cheng Lei, an associate law professor at Renmin University of China, applauded the system, saying it is in everyone's interest and is part of judicial reforms launched by the central leadership in 2013.
"Better legal services allow people to feel justice is being done, which is also the aim of the reforms," he said.
Yang Weidong, a law professor at the Chinese Academy of Governance, said the system is the implementation of the rule of law and also satisfies legal demands among litigants.
"More people would like to know how to solve problems in the best way when they suffer a lawsuit, which is why it is urgently necessary to build the legal public service system," he said.
"For years, residents paid attention to how much money they could be compensated in a lawsuit. But with rapid economic development, their legal demands have been changed to know more about how to mediate or what services they could get from lawyers," he said.
The system will integrate legal services that are scattered across different legal documents, "which is to make the services provided more organized and efficient", he added.
Since 2013, Chinese legal aid agencies have handled about 5 million cases, including 1.3 million that were resolved last year, the statement said.
By the end of 2017, China had 3.67 million mediators who handled 8.76 million disputes. The success rate reached 98 percent, it added.
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