The number of applications for administrative reconsideration has increased rapidly since August 2021 when Shanghai kicked off the reform of the administrative reconsideration system, the Shanghai Municipal Justice Bureau announced at a media briefing on Tuesday.
The number of such applications received in the first year after the reform more than doubled that in the previous year, and the number in the following year rose more than 60 percent year-on-year, a clear sign that more and more individuals and enterprises are choosing administrative reconsideration as the primary means of settling administrative disputes, said the bureau.
Chinese laws entitle citizens, legal persons or other organizations to apply for administrative reconsideration if government actions are believed to have infringed on their legitimate rights and interests.
Prior to the reform, if a citizen or organization pointed out that a particular government authority, for example, a district bureau, had infringed on their rights, the superior bureau at city level would respond to the citizen or organization's application for administrative reconsideration.
During the past two years, about 20 percent of the cases were settled by mediation before case acceptance, and more than one-third of the cases received were concluded by mediation. Through administrative reconsideration, the number of cases brought to court was only 10 percent of the total number of cases received, according to the bureau.
"A large number of administrative disputes are resolved via administrative reconsideration. The institutional advantages of administrative reconsideration in fairness, efficiency, and providing convenience for the people are becoming increasingly prominent," said Li Yaoyao, deputy head of the administrative response and coordination division at the bureau.
The municipal government and the city's 16 district governments all opened online application channels for administrative reconsideration last year to provide greater convenience to applicants.
In addition, an administrative reconsideration mini app was also launched in WeChat with functions including the provision of smart versions of application documents, online corrections, one-click withdrawal of applications, and inquiries into case progress.
Last year, Fengxian district was the first in the city to achieve complete coverage when it availed administrative reconsideration at all 14 of its justice stations.
"In applications involving administrative punishment cases with clear facts and relatively small amounts of monetary penalty, we usually consult with relevant units or institutions in advance to discuss the solution plan and explain the law to the applicant," said Gu Binquan, director of the Fengxian District Justice Bureau and director of the Fengxian District Administrative Reconsideration Bureau.
Gu noted that, for example, from January 2021 to September 2023, the Fengxian District Administrative Reconsideration Bureau received altogether 571 administrative reconsideration cases, in which the respondent was the district traffic police, 259 were settled by mediation before case acceptance.