Thoughts on the Judicial Credit Constraints and Countermeasures
October 17,2019   By:CSHRS

Thoughts on the Judicial Credit Constraints
and Countermeasures

LI Yanjie*

Abstract: Judicial credit is closely correlated with the relief dimensions of human rights. Improving judicial credit has become an important task of China's judicial reform and also an important aspect of promoting the protection of human rights by the rule of law. Accordingly, to judge the current situation of the judicial credit of people's courts in a scientific way, find out the existing problems and provide suggestions on targeted measures have become a fundamental topic that combines both theoretical direction and practical urgency. Based on the analysis on the connotation of judicial credit, we make a study on courts’ own factors, awareness of the public towards rule of law, news media communication and other factors that constrain judicial credit, and propose suggestions on how to improve judicial credit.

Keywords: judicial credit ; judicial act ; judicial service ; protection of rights

The Resolution of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on Major Issues Concerning the Enhancement of all-round Law-based Governance, adopted in 2014, makes “ensuring impartial administration of justice, improving judicial creditability” an important part of the law-based governance of China. In this regard, the Supreme People’s Court issued Opinions on Practical Fulfillment of Justice for the People, Vigorous Strengthening of Equal Justice and Continuous Promotion of Public Confidence in Justice (Fa Fa (2013) No. 9). In 2017, the Report of the Supreme People’s Court on the People’s Courts’ Comprehensively Deepening Judicial Reform explicitly proposes “regarding improvement of judicial creditability as a basic criteria of evaluation”.1 In this context, a lot of local people’s courts are making proactive explorations. For example, Shanghai, Zibo (in Shandong Province) and other cities have released their “judicial credit index” or equivalent index regarding building the credibility of the courts as an important direction for their development. Nevertheless, public confidence in Chinese courts is not at all satisfactory. How to build a fair and authoritative image for the courts and what factors constrain China’s judicial credibility are issues that call for more research. The institutions that conduct evaluations of the courts include people’s courts, people’s procuratorates and public security administrations, etc. This paper describes and explains judicial trust issues from the perspective of the work conducted by people’s courts.

I. Dural Connotations of Judicial Credit

Judicial credit applies to both courts and the public, not just to courts alone. It is acted on by the joint efforts of both internal and external factors.

A. Inner support for judicial credit

With “impartial” judicial authorities and acts as its inner support, judicial credit refers to how judicial authorities, agencies and their staff members are trusted and recognized. It expresses the inner attributes and public authorities of judicial power and also the credit status of judicial power for the public.2 The requirements for judicial credit include: open and transparent judicial practice, regular judicial procedures, evidence-based judgment documents, regular and effective execution, etc. Observing legal requirements and rules in terms of statutory period and sequence not only binds the public and parties but also the courts and its judicial personnel and other staff members. If a court violates the law, fails to remain impartial or has a poor performance when trying cases, the court will be challenged by the parties concerned and the public and its credit will be affected.

What is worth noticing is that recent years have witnessed increasing cases accepted by courts at different levels, increasingly sharp conflicts between the shortage of judicial staff and the growing number of cases, and difficulty in striking a balance between the quality and efficiency of case hearings. Since 2000, there has been an obvious trend in the growth of the number of cases accepted by people’s courts. In 2008, the total cases accepted by the courts in China unprecedentedly topped 10 million. Against the background of the promotion of the case filing system, the growth in the number of cases is tending to accelerate. The number of cases accepted by courts at different levels throughout China exceeded 16 million in 2015 and neared 14.6 million in the first half year of 2017. Also, most regions in China, except the Tibet autonomous region, have witnessed a rise in the number of cases accepted and reached a new high in terms of the number of cases accepted and settled. More importantly, the case-filing review system has been converted into the case-filing register system according to the guiding principle of the fourth Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, which provided new momentum for the explosive growth of cases.

What forms a sharp contrast with the rapid growth of cases is no obvious increase in the number of judges and the serious depletion of court staff. In 1995, there were over 280,000 staff members in the courts of China, including about 168,000 judges. In 2005, there were about 297,000 staff members in the courts of China, including about 189,000 judges; and the number of staff members and judges in the courts of China in 2013 was 338,000 and 196,000 respectively. With the advancement of the judge quota system, the growth speed of judges and staff members in the courts has appeared far slower than that of cases. Meanwhile, low wages and benefits, slow promotion, huge workloads, excessive pressure from complaints via letters and visits and other uncertain factors have forced some judges, court staff and judicial personnel to become less enthusiastic about their work. Some have even quit their jobs through various channels. In 2015, the number of judges who resigned exceeded 1,000, an increase of 381 compared to the year before. Take Shanghai for example. There were 105 staff members who resigned from the judicial sector of Shanghai in 2014, including 86 judges. And the turnover rate of judges rose by 91.1% compared to the turnover rate in 2013. In the first quarter of 2015, the number of judges who resigned reached 50, including 18 judges.3 Against such a background, judges face a huge pressure when handling cases. It seems difficult for them to combine both quality and efficiency in judging a case.

B. Social perception of judicial credit

As for public perceptions, judicial credit refers to how and to which degree the public expresses their trust, reliance and recognition in the judicial system. It is the collective awareness composed of individual awareness and indicates how the public trusts the judicial process and its result, including trust in and respect for courts and judges, reliance and recognition of judicial process, as well as voluntary submission to and execution of judicial decisions.

As the awareness of rights prevails, judicial credit relies on the belief of the public in the rule of law and is supported by the trust in and respect for the courts. For example, the appeal rate has a high negative correlation with how the parties trust the courts of first instance. That means the higher the appeal rate is, less judgments made in the first instance will be accepted and the parties will have low recognition towards court judges; and vice versa. Accordingly, some local courts see sustained high appeal rates, reflecting the lack of judicial credit. For example, the appeal rate for administrative cases in China in 2013 maintained a high level, at 72.7%.4 In Shanxi province, both the appeal rate and rate of request for retrial have increased year by year.5Shanxi is not isolated individual case, however. The situation is similar in other regions including Jiangxi province.

C. Judicial credit and news media

Today, traditional media including TV and radio, as well as new digital channels such as the internet and social media such as Weibo and WeChat are important sources for the public to see justice in action. It is necessary for us to be clearly aware that the trust and recognition of the public towards justice is closely and directly correlated to what they perceive.

Positive coverage by the media produces a corresponding effect on the improvement of judicial credit. For example, by focusing on active PR, some courts introduced their advanced units, model figures, innovative practices and successful experience through news media. These moves played an active role in improving the image of their own and even the whole judicial system. More and more courts are actively publicizing the effects of their work by opening portal websites, official microblogs and WeChat accounts, and actively contacted and communicated with all sectors of the society, thus producing the effect of “positive energy”. However, such positive effects should not be overestimated. The media that publishes related positive news reports tend to be official mainstream media and are mainly limited to the newspapers and magazines inside the judicial sector. With narrow audiences, these have little effect in improving the image of the courts. And the Weibo and WeChat accounts opened by courts generally have not enough interactions with the public. Some courts have explored livestreaming trial via Weibo. Although such moves can attract public attention within a short period of time, it may be suspected of gaining that attention after being implemented for some time. Then, the courts are paid less attention to or even rejected by the public. A lot of courts built their websites with great efforts but the number of visits has remained at a low level for a long time. All the above shows the poor effect of the communication efforts of courts.

Negative information on justice may often become a hot topic for the media and even a public opinion event. Also, in some controversial cases, court decisions are generally challenged by public opinions. That was evident in cases such as those of Peng Yu and Yao Jiaxin. Public opinion has undoubtedly become an important negative source that affects judicial credit. The dissatisfaction of the public with justice and their prejudice was converted to “negative energy” against the courts. For the hotly debated topics such as Yao Jiaxin case, Peng Yu case, it was undeniable that some factors that hindered a fair trial existed. But most of the public opted to understand according to fragmented and groundless information, believed that they properly applied morality and law, and questioned judicial acts and decisions. In fact, when the hot issue cooled down, the defendant Peng Yu indicated that he had collided with the victim, but no one cared at all.6 The previous reports and public opinions that deviated from the truth at that time misrepresented the incident that no one else helped the fallen old man and Peng was wrongly accused. In recent years, the frequent occurrence of “judges beating attorneys” in Tianjin, Beijing and other regions have attracted wide attention from the public and media but videos showing that was not what happened that were shown to the public later were little paid heed to.

II. Court Constraints of Judicial Credit

There are many underlying reasons for the lack of judicial credit. The main reasons from the perspective of the impact of courts can be analyzed as follows:

A. Irregular judicial acts damage judicial image

Whether judicial power operates normally relates to judicial justice and also produces influence over judicial credit. In practice, the issues regarding irregular judicial power are frequently seen and are mainly reflected in the following aspects: refusal to file cases, case filing against regulations and governance beyond judicial power; and in terms of trials, irregular rights and obligations notification, execution measures and court trials, and failure of courts in opening court sessions, and other procedure- and discipline-related issues. Take Zhejiang province for example. In 2014, 95.3 percent of the grassroots courts of the province delivered the notices of acceptance to plaintiffs and 95.4 percent of the intermediate courts and courts at higher levels delivered the notices of acceptance for the cases of first instance. The percentage of sending notices of producing evidence was 94.8 percent for grassroots courts and 89.2 percent for intermediate and courts at higher levels. The percentage of sending notices of producing evidence within five days of filing a case was 84.2 percent for grassroots courts and 69.2 percent for intermediate courts and courts at higher levels. And the percentage of sending notices of litigation was 45.9 percent for grassroots courts and 16.9 percent for intermediate courts and courts at higher levels. In terms of judicial execution, a lot of executive judges in Zhejiang do not fill the content of judgments when affixing the common seals of their courts but do so by manual if needed. It is common to see that written orders with blank content of judgments are incorporated into files. According to the court videos of the whole province randomly inspected, 19.23 percent of the judgment staff was irregular in dressing and conducts.7 Also, it is difficult for us to eradicate judicial corruption and law-bending judgments. The Huang Songyou case in 2009 to the Xi Xiaoming case in 2015 indicates there is still a long way for us to supervise and constrain the operation of judicial powers. Those judicial corruption and law-bending judgments have caused extremely adverse impacts although they are less likely to happen.

With respect to trial results, coverage on various wrongful convictions is frequently seen in newspapers. Let’s take as examples some criminal cases only. The Du Peiwu case in Yunnan province, Li Huawei case in Liaoning province, Sun Wangang case in Yunan province, Li Jiuming case in Hebei province, She Xianglin case in Hubei province, Nie Shubin case in Hebei, Huugjilt case in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, Teng Xingshan case in Hunan, Jing Chun case in Jilin province, Zhao Zuohaicase in Henan, the case of Zhang Gaoping and his nephew in Zhejiang, the Han Yafu case in Guangdong and other wrongful convictions have appeared one after another. Although the rectification of wrongful convictions conforms to the judicial principle of “seeking truths from reality, righting every wrong”, it exposes the issues that are hidden behind judicial acts. The public’s trust and confidence in judicial authorities is weakened to varying degrees.

B. Poor judicial service hampers public use of the service

Difficult litigation, time-consuming procedures, uneasy communication, complex case registration formalities and a long litigation cycle remain the general feelings of the public on judicial acts. Some judges show rude, impatient and difficult attitudes towards the parties and their attorneys and often delay the litigation, which has still not been eradicated. For example, according to the judicial transparency survey that the author participated in, the anonymous verification of the common phone numbers provided by the websites of the courts of provinces and major cities in China and on the complaint hotlines left by judicial authorities indicated that the phone numbers left by the courts were less used. A lot of courts provided invalid phone numbers, or failed to connect after multiple tries, response by recordings or fax, etc. Even if a phone call was connected, those taking the call either passed the buck to other departments, or refused to answer questions, or treated the parties who consulted in an inpatient and even accusing tone. Such circumstances are both a waste of time and effort and also harm to the public image of the courts.

C. Deviation from public openness, poor implementation of the public’s right to know the facts and supervise

Judicial openness as well as communication and interaction between courts and the public are important moves for courts to gain trust, understanding and support. In this regard, the Supreme People’s Court is promoting judicial openness and has witnessed remarkable achievements. However, due to the long-standing work inertia, and other factors, judicial secretiveness has not been completely eliminated.

Judicial openness has the problems of inaccurate positioning and deviated content. Some courts intensively release the activities of their leaders, conferences and documents in eye-catching positions. The websites of some courts place emphasis on publicity of court culture, judges’ charm, accomplishments of a scholar of the old school, songs and poems. Actually, the huge day and night work of judges are less open and less known to the public.

The promotion of judicial justice will undoubtedly increase the workload of courts and obviously constrain the activities of the courts. As a consequence, the flexibility of the courts’ work will be affected and some courts will even lose face before the public due to the exposure of their individual irregular behavior. Thus, it is not surprising justice lacks inner momentum and sustainability.

D. Insufficient evidence and less convincing judgment documents

Judicial documents are the essence and key content of judicial acts and should reflect the spirit of the rule of law best. Through judicial documents, the judge conveys the reasoning process and judgment to the parties, convinces the parties and enables them to obey the judgment made by the court. However, in practice, the irregular format of judicial documents, more emphasis on evidence listing but less on challenges and certification, more emphasis on listing legal clauses but less on reasoned explanations, poor writing, even low-level spelling errors and other formal mistakes are hard to be solved. Take Zhejiang for example. According to the evaluation on the justice in sunshine for third-level courts of the entire province in 2015, the sampled judicial documents showed a common issue of poor logic. Formally, for most of these documents, an evidence list was produced and then challenges from both parties were summarized. For the evidence with doubtful challenge, give an explanation on whether to adopt the evidence when summarizing the views of challenge or make a brief description at the end of the judgment. However, the reason why the evidence is adopted is generally described as “not related to the case”, “the view of challenge is reasonable”, “legal source, true facts” and other statements, with insufficient demonstration and poor persuasive reasoning.

E. Extensive existence of poorly regulated judicial execution

Judicial execution represents the final step to guarantee the implementation of judicial judgments and safeguard the rights and interests of the parties involved. Directly related to social justice and fairness, it is a key link to enhance judicial credit. In practice, the actual execution rate and the availability rate of execution object remain at a low level. As a result, the rights and benefits of the party winning the suit fail to be fully and effectively guaranteed. Over three years since the Supreme People’s Court proposed the plan of “basically solving the difficulty in execution in the following two to three years” in 2016, the people’s courts at different levels of China have accepted 20,435,000 cases to execute, executed 19,361,000 cases and recovered 4.4 trillion yuan, an increase of 98.5 percent, 105.1 percent and 71.2 percent respectively.8 The failure of effective judgments to be executed means that legal order fails due to the end of litigation and that the rights and benefits of some parties “get lost again after being recovered”. The losing of the legitimate rights and interests that should be gained via the effective judgment means that the effective legal document is merely a scrap of paper. Difficult and irregular execution makes it difficult to timely ensure the due parties win the litigation and may possibly endanger the legitimate rights and interests of the executed and outsiders. That will undoubtedly make the parties and their relatives and family members lose confidence in and trust in the judicial authorities.

III. External Constraints against Judicial Credibility

It is not enough for the courts alone to make efforts to improve judicial credibility. The external constraints against judicial credibility are also worthy of discussion.

A. Bias of public awareness

Recent years have seen an increase in citizens’ awareness of rule of law. But although citizens have gradually built the awareness to protect their rights and interests using legal weapons, their awareness of their corresponding duties and responsibilities has not kept pace. The public raised some requests and expectations of the courts that do not conform to the requirements of the rule of law and are irrational. On the one hand, some parties and attorneys show no trust in judicial operation. Some people have tried to aggravate the distrust of the public in judicial system and mechanism through channels except legal procedures or by asking celebrities, people’s representatives and committee members. On the other hand, some litigation parties did not recognize or even severely rejected the process and results of trials. For example, some of them refused to follow the request of the judges. In some cases, some losing parties intentionally refused to execute court judgments and the courts had to take compulsory measures to enable the judgments by mobilizing a lot of resources.

B. The complaints via letters and visits against laws are still prominent

Judicial complaints via letters and visits can play a positive role and help to find and correct the errors in judicial acts. However, it should be made clear that the complaints via letters and visits may hinder the normal operation of judicial process and impair the stability and authoritativeness of court decisions. Some attorneys, parties and their family members have abused or pursued by illegal means the complaints via letters and visits, which has put serious pressure on court work.

First, the number of litigation-related complaint cases remains at a high level. For example, the grassroots and intermediate courts of Ningbo received 6,494 letters and visits in 2014, an increase of 36.31 percent on a year-on-year basis. Among them, the intermediate and grassroots courts of Ningbo received 3,054 and 3,440 letters and visits respectively that year, an increase of 35.55 percent and 36.99 percent compared to the previous year. According to the statistics of the Ningbo Municipal Committee and the Political and Legislative Affairs Committee of Ningbo, among the law related complaints via letters and visits made to public security organs, procuratorial organs and people’s courts, the percentage of complaints to people’s courts is up to 59.14 percent.9

Second, some litigation-related complaints via letters and visits are intensified and transformed. Some parties neither trust nor cooperate with the courts and deliberately confront the courts, which has led to the complexity and sharpness of conflicts and disputes. Then, cross-level complaints, complaints to the National Public Complaints and Proposals Administration in Beijing and repeated complaints are frequently seen.

Third, typical issues regarding illegal complaints. Specific requirements and prohibitive provisions are specified regarding complaints in the Complaints on Visits via Letters and Visits. However, it is common to see a lot of illegal complaints to courts. For example, beating drums and striking gongs, shouting using althorns, pulling banners at the doors to courts, blocking roads and vehicle access, and employing social layabouts to make trouble are common cases. For example, a Beijing-based law firm exposed various illegal practices in judicial cases, which just showed the tip of the iceberg. Some parties and their attorneys, etc. applied pressure the courts and judges by abusing or illegal pursuing complaints via letters and visits, which seriously disturbed the normal business and trial order of courts.

C. Bad effect of communication with media

Courts appear poor when communicating with the media, which is specifically shown in the following aspects: first, media opinion of the courts lags behind and is wrong in understanding. For example, the harm of negative information is underestimated and there is little awareness that even adverse consequence can be caused by small issues online; the ostrich mentality also occurred. Some believe that the aggressive online opinions have nothing to do with courts and there is no need for them to respond. So, they shirk the responsibility to the publicity department. Second, relatively simple responses. For some negative media coverage and online remarks, many courts only block, cover or delete such information and even said nothing or talk randomly about them. Third, lack of sufficient capability against pressure and interference. For example, the courts appeared improper in responding to public opinions and were even interfered with to varying degrees in the Yao Jiaxin case, Li Changkui case, Deng Yujiao case, and the rape case involving some Li in Beijing.

IV. Suggestions on Improving Judicial Credit

Improving judicial credit has become an important goal for China’s judicial operation and reform. And the constraints of judicial credit and its countermeasures have become important considerations for the current judicial reform. As a systematic project, the improvement of judicial credit requires the consideration of both internal and external factors as well as all-round whole-process improvement of systems and rules.

A. Building a normalized open mechanism for justice in sunshine

The promotion of judicial justice shall be organically combined with the daily trial execution of courts so as to enable judicial openness to play its due role in improving the level of justice, regulate judicial powers and improve judicial credibility. The specific suggestions are listed as follows:

First, establishing a correct concept of judicial openness. It is the precondition for ensuring judicial justice. Maximizing judicial openness can not only satisfy the public’s demand for the acquisition of judicial information and win trust from the public, but also improve the judicial judgment level in turn, thus improving judicial credibility and authoritativeness. For this purpose, a concept of the publicness of judicial information should be established. As part of the public powers, judicial powers are exercised by judicial authorities for and on behalf of the State and the public, making such powers public. All kinds of information arising from the operation of judicial powers should never be monopolized by the courts but should be made a public product that allows the public to freely share. The public has the freedom to choose how to use the public available information and courts should not excessively interfere with such freedom. Of course, there will be applicable laws and regulations to regulate some in-dividual persons if they use the above information for illegal crimes. All judicial information, except the information that relates to State secrets, business secrets, personal privacy, should be open to the public. According to the concept of procedural justice, all judicial information that relates to the parties in the case concerned, should also be open to the public except any particular circumstances where exposure is unsuitable.
Second, further improving the institutional mechanism of judicial openness. Only by stepping onto the track of institutionalization can we gain sustained and steady improvement of judicial openness. In this regard, it is necessary to further improve the system and mechanism for judicial justice, identify the systems of leadership and work, and clearly classify the division of responsibilities and authorities among courts at upper and lower levels and among individual departments of a court, and design in a scientific way judicial openness and planning on information technology development.

Third, making the channels and windows for external communications accessible and improved. The external communication channels are the means for courts to communicate with the public and relate to the image of the courts. The effectiveness of external communication channels (phone, email, website, online consulting or Weibo) should be maintained, phone numbers useable, mails receivable and online consultation available. Staff members who have a strong sense of responsibility should be employed to offer consultation and advice, and do complaint handling. These staff members should be well trained to enable them to understand the situation of judicial openness and system arrangements, to answer the questions from the public skillfully, patiently and with courtesy. Any phone calls, letters, suggestions and complaints, etc. from the public should be answered if received without violating laws, regulations and disciplines and without shirking responsibilities and showing refusal so as to make the public feel the enthusiasm and professionalism of the court staff.

B. Making judicial acts more regular

Whether judicial acts are regular involve multiple aspects. The key aspects include: first, regular notification procedures. Notification shall be given by law, in time, with the real facts and completely. The content should include notification of rights and obligations (or notice of litigation) and major procedural matter notification procedures, such as whether to deliver the Case Acceptance Notice to the parties and their attorneys, litigation risk tips, Notice of Response to Action, Notice of Online Query, Notice to Members of Collegial Panel and other regular procedures. Second, conformity with period and deadline requirements. Whether courts conform to the requirements for statutory period and whether extension conforms to statutory approval procedures are mainly included. Express specifications have been formulated on the case registration, acceptance, trial and service of judgment documents. Courts should comply with these specifications and observe legal procedures. Third, irregularity of other procedures. For example, irregular behaviors of the courts when receiving and collecting evidence and other litigation related materials.

C. Effectively enhancing judicial execution capability

In view of difficult and unregulated execution, damage to legal authority due to irregular execution, as well as the authority and seriousness of judicial credit and effective court decisions, it is necessary to identify courts as the primary participants of execution. When achieving the goal of basically solving the issue of difficult execution, the courts should step into the stage of “eradicating the issue” from the previous “basically solving the issue” without relaxing. The courts should make efforts to rectify the issues such as negative, disorderly, random and complex execution. The crimes and other illegal actions against court decisions and execution should be treated seriously. The major reason for the executed to ignore or even despise the effective legal documents and avoid or even resist the execution is limited and insufficiently applied punishment measures, as well as ineffective deterring power. Based on our common knowledge, we can understand that when the executed who fails to fulfill its obligations is unable to engage in business transactions or to conduct normal social activities, which causing the great increase in its violation costs due to evading debts, it will, as a reasonable market player, would avoid harm and cooperate judicial authorities in execution. And then, the difficulty in execution would be effectively eased. In terms of system building, the courts should continue to coordinate case filing, trial and execution, conduct process management, open hearings, consideration of objections, online and other relevant systems. They should not only improve the ability of the courts to execute but also take the lawful rights and benefits of the executed and outsiders. From the perspective of working style, the courts should improve the style of execution and solve the difficulty in execution, difficulty in attitude and difficulty in handling affairs. With the objective failure of some judgements to be executed, these issues will cause grievances for the execution applicants towards the courts and even become a major factor for petitions and extreme events. Obviously, it is important that we should improve the execution mechanism and procedures, perfect the notification mechanism, innovate contact means, improve work style, which is of positive effect on improving judicial credit. Also, we should change our traditional view and practice of passive execution, explore active judicial execution upon effective judgment, take proactive measures of query, detaining and freezing, etc., and ensure the organic linkage among query, compulsory measures and execution measures.

D. Innovating and improving the law-related system of complaints via letters and visits

The complaints via letters and visits are one of the tasks that are mostly correlated with communication with the public. The evaluation of some common people on judicial work is closely related to their attitude towards complaint handling. In terms of system regulation, the courts should improve the request review and appeal filing and acceptance system, divert the law-related complaint cases and implement the final system on law-related complaints. In terms of innovation, the courts should ensure the informatization and networking of complaints so that the mass could make their requests for complaints online without leaving their home and their requests can be accepted and responded online. These measures can not only make the channels of the mass to make appeals smooth but also make judicial acts convenient and responsive to the public. They are of positive significance for improving the satisfaction of law-related complaints and solve the current related difficulties.

E. Enhancing court team building and financial support

As we have mentioned above, the pressure of less staff members and more cases,increasing loss of judicial staff and increase in cases year by year are common challenges against many courts in China. To improve judicial credibility raises higher and stricter requirements that are beyond laws and judicial bottom lines to judicial authorities, which means more labor and material consumption. The actual working status of case handling personnel who work on the front line should be paid attention to and their practical difficulties should be solved. Thus, judicial team building should be regarded as the focus of the work for courts at different levels. On the one hand, courts should obtain sufficient judges and judicial support personnel in combination with the judge quota reform under way and according to their cases accepted and development status. On the other hand, courts should enhance quality training on judges to improve their capabilities of legal profession and to use modern information technology so as to effectively improve the quality and efficiency of judicial judgment and judgment execution.

F. Perfecting the mechanism of response to news media

Judicial credit development is closely correlated to the promotion by the media. In order to coordinate the relationship with the media, courts should establish a set of effective active response mechanisms and measures, try to exploit the strength of disseminating the positive energy of the media and to avoid the negative distorted publicity. Also, courts should establish a set of permanent working mechanism including risk evaluation on online public opinions, public opinion monitoring, emergency response and event handling, and establish and improve the personnel incentive and accountability system.

(Translated by ZHANG Jie)


* LI Yanjie ( 栗燕杰 ), Associate Research Fellow, Institute of Law, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

1. Zhou Qiang, “Report of the Supreme People’s Court’s on the People’s Courts’ Comprehensively Deepening Judicial Reform”, delivered at the Thirtieth Session of the Standing Committee of the 12th National People’s Congress on November 1, 2017, included in the website of the Supreme People’s Court, accessed January 28, 2019, http://www.court.gov.cn/zixun-xiangqing-66802.html.
2. Ji Jinhua, “Meaning Interpretation of Judicial Credibility”, Legal Forum 5 (2012).
3. Wang Yejie and Zhou Kai, “How To Solve the Increasingly Severe Issue of Youth Judge Loss”, accessed January 25, 2019, http://www.chinacourt.org/article/detail/2015/04/id/1598077.shtml.

4. Liu Ze, “An Analysis of the Implementation of Administrative and State Compensation Cases at National Courts in 2013”, accessed January 28, 2019, http://www.legaldai-ly.com.cn/zbzk/content/2014-04/30/content_5489095.htm?node=25497.

5. Shanxi Higher People's Court, White Book of Administrative Trials in Shanxi Province, 2017.
6. Xu Jiling and Wang Zhiyong, “Liu Zhiwei, Member of the Nanjing Municipal Committee and Secretary of the Nanjing Political and Legislative Affairs Committee, The Peng Yu Case that Should not be Misrepresented”, Outlook 1 (2012).
7. Report on the Index Report of Justice in Sunshine of Zhejiang Courts (2014): Part II of Case Filing and Trial, an internal research report submitted by the Project Team of the Institute of Law, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences to the Zhejiang Provincial Higher People’s Court.
8. Zhou Qiang, “Report on the Work of the Supreme People’s Court Delivered at the Second Session of the 13th National People’s Congress on March 12, 2019”.
9. Ningbo Municipal Intermediate People’s Court, White Book of the Litigation-related Legislation of Complaints Via. Letters and Visits in 2014.


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