China will see more efficient procedures for handling foreign-related civil cases from the beginning of next year, thanks to a newly amended law.
The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, the country's top legislature, adopted the amendment to the Civil Procedure Law when it wrapped up a session on Friday. The law will take effect from Jan 1.
"A major revision this time is improving the efficiency of dealing with civil disputes involving external affairs, considering new problems in such case handling," said Huang Wei, an official from the NPC Standing Committee's Legislative Affairs Commission.
With fast economic development and high-level opening-up, Chinese courts have witnessed a rapid growth of foreign-related civil cases over the past few years, covering more than 100 countries and regions, according to her.
"More foreign litigants have preferred to choose our courts to solve their disputes, and our civil and commercial verdicts have also been recognized and implemented in more nations," she said.
While noting that China's judicial credibility and influence are rising around the world, she pointed out that some foreign-related civil litigation procedures in the current law are being challenged by the growth of cases and the increasingly complicated global conflicts.
In other words, "our rules are difficult to fully meet the need of settling foreign-related lawsuits in a fair, efficient and convenient manner, nor to strongly help safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests," she said.
After learning that sending legal documents to litigants in such case handling is a big difficulty, she noted that legislators adjusted and added a few provisions this time to improve the efficiency of delivery.
For example, the newly amended law adds a provision that allows Chinese courts to deliver documents to litigants' sole proprietorship enterprises set up in China.
It also states that if a foreign company or organization has a legal representative or responsible person in China, documents can also be sent to such people.
In addition, lawmakers also added content about extraterritorial investigation and evidence collection while revising the law, in a bid to optimize the international judicial assistance system for foreign-related civil cases, Huang said.
"The amended law will contribute to building a market-oriented, law-based and internationalized first-class business environment, and to helping modernize our national governance system and capability," she added.
On Friday, the NPC Standing Committee also passed the amendment to the Administrative Reconsideration Law, which is also to take effect on Jan 1.
Liang Ying, another official from the commission, said that this amended law has expanded the scope of administrative reconsideration, and also given people easier access to apply for reconsideration of administrative acts they believe are wrong.
Regarding administrative reconsideration as a key legal means to resolve disputes between residents and administrative bodies, he said that the amended law will also advance the country's building of law-based governance and promote justice and equity in society.