A new guideline designed to help litigants who are unsure how to verify the severity of their injuries or the authenticity of documents during litigation was issued by the Beijing Municipal Justice Bureau and the Beijing High People's Court last week.
It focuses on forensic and documentary identification, providing clear answers on what materials litigants need to prepare for cases.
It was the first such guideline issued in China and will contribute to regulating institutes for judicial identification and better serve the capital's social development, said Ma Yan, deputy director of the bureau.
Liu Shuangyu, vice-president of the court, said courts across the city have dealt with a rising number of cases in which litigants have applied for judicial identification in recent years, "and we decided to clarify the requirements of forensic and documentary identification, because litigants' demands in these two fields were frequently seen during lawsuits".
Last year, judicial identification was requested in 9,958 cases, and the figure reached 7,736 in the first six months of this year, she said.
"In case handling, we found that some litigants were not familiar with what they needed to submit for identification, which cost them much time and affected the litigation process," she said.
One example was a resident surnamed Gao, who was injured when he was hit by a car. Gao ended up suing the driver, surnamed Wu, in a Beijing district court earlier this year. During the litigation, the two parties disputed the nature of the injuries and how to calculate surgery fees and other medical expenses, said Liu Jin, who works for the court's litigation service office.
The district court spent some time explaining what items should be identified to Gao and Wu, she said, but added that such a situation would now be alleviated, "because they can refer to the guideline".
She said the guideline was a new legal service that could provide more convenience for litigants, noting it would also help courts improve judicial efficiency.
In addition to the identification of injuries from traffic accidents, she said paternity tests and handwriting identification were often requested in cases of divorce, inheritance and contract disputes.
Liu Shuangyu said the Beijing High People's Court will work with the bureau to draft more guidelines for other sectors, including those involving audiovisual information, asset appraisal, construction costs and environmental damage, to meet increasing demand from litigants and solve new identification problems in the handling of cases.