About 30 percent of civil and administrative disputes were successfully resolved through mediation last year, China's top court said on Wednesday.
Because Chinese courts had been dealing with so many civil and administrative cases — most of them relatively trivial — over the years, the Supreme People's Court made case-handling reform a priority in early 2019.
The reform required courts to first take up easy cases and those suitable for settlement and then resolve them in diverse ways, such as mediation. The choice to mediate or litigate depends on those involved in cases.
Thanks to the reform, courts across the country witnessed a drop in the number of cases in 2020 after a 15 consecutive years of increases.
"There was also a decline last year," Qian Xiaochen, head of the top court's Case Filing Tribunal, told a news conference on Wednesday.
The percentage of civil and administrative cases resolved through litigation decreased from 90 percent in 2019 to 64 percent last year, which means that about one-third of disputes were effectively mediated, he said.
To improve the efficiency and quality of mediation, the top court has invited professionals and institutes to help mediate disputes in recent years.
Statistics provided by the top court showed that last year, 5,856 mediators and 3,209 institutes specializing in mediation that registered with the Chamber of Commerce participated in 106,000 commercial disputes, and more than 62,000 were successfully mediated.
Such joint mediation efforts have also been made in areas where civil and administrative disputes frequently occur, including family matters, finance, traffic and intellectual property, according to Qian.
While welcoming residents to go to courts to resolve their disputes, he said that people should consider taking advantage of legal services on court websites or on their mobile phones.