Chinese courts will be criticized and held accountable if they are found to not have filed new cases because they are handling existing disputes, China's top court said on Tuesday.
Since 2015, courts nationwide have been ordered to file cases immediately after receiving plaintiffs' registrations and ensuring their materials are sufficient, "but we've still discovered some courts have refused to accept new cases at the end of a year because they have been under pressure to solve existing disputes," said Qian Xiaochen, head of the Case Filing Tribunal with the Supreme People's Court.
He noted such refusals must not be tolerated, "as ensuring every case can be filed and every litigation can be solved are necessary to protect litigants' legitimate rights and also to maintain a people-centered approach in judicial work."
While pledging to strengthen inspections on case filing across the country, Qian said the top court welcomes public supervision.
"If we receive people's reports or petitions complaining that some courts failed to file new cases, we'll expose those courts to the public, and officials and those responsible for those failures will be held accountable," he added.
According to a previous survey, a few courts did not file new cases, especially toward the end of each year, because the number of judges was insufficient to handle the rapidly growing number of disputes.
Qian acknowledged the deluge of cases has placed a great burden on the courts, but he underscored that this was no excuse for refusing new filings or stopping people from registering cases.
From Jan 1 to Nov 15 this year, Chinese courts filed more than 30 million cases, up 11 percent year-on-year, according to a statistic of the top court.
It also showed that there are some 127,000 judges nationwide, with each handling about 240 cases every year.
In recent years, the top court has taken measures to alleviate the case filing burden, including asking courts to solve minor disputes through mediation or simplify legal procedures to speed up the handling of easy cases.
Liu Shude, deputy director of the top court's Trial Administration Office, said courts nationwide invited 58,000 mediation institutions and 228,000 mediators to help solve disputes between Jan 1 and Nov 15.
With their help, more than 8.73 million cases were closed after mediation, up about 37 percent year-on-year, Liu said.
"We'll continue efforts in trial and mediation and improve our work efficiency to meet people's increasingly big demands for justice," he added.