According to the "Special Work Report on the Implementation of the Judicial Responsibility System and the Maintenance of the Judicial Justice by the Shenzhen Special Intermediate People's Court", which was reviewed by the Shenzhen Municipal People's Congress, for the previous 11 months this year, the number of cases handled and settled by courts throughout Shenzhen achieved a year-on-year rise of 32.3%, and a year-on-year rise of 46.4% in terms of the average number of cases settled per judge, with both the total number of cases settled and the number of cases settled per judge ranking the first in the province.
In the previous 11 months, the number of cases handled and settled rose by 30%
Since 2012, the judicial responsibility system in Shenzhen has taken the lead in exploring the chief judge responsibility system in the country. After the first reform for the judicial power operating mechanism was initiated, in early 2015, the reform for the judicial power operating mechanism was fully launched at the two levels of courts in Shenzhen.
Among them, the selection of good judges and the implementation of selecting and including the best judges in the specified number of personnel are the basis for the judicial system reform. The report said that at present, the Shenzhen Intermediate People's Court has mainly adopted the model of "one chief judge + two judges + three judge assistants" and has set up 79 fixed collegial panels.
In accordance with the different requirements of the collegial system and sole trial system, the basic-level courts have set up 479 trial teams as per the model of "one chief judge + two judges + a certain number of supporting staff" and "1 presiding judge + a certain number of supporting staff". A new trial work mechanism has judges as the core and the formation of tight and close teamwork. A work system based on a judicial responsibility system has also basically formed, in which the inquisitor has the responsibility to judge and holds the judge responsible.
After the reform, 99.8% of written judgments for the court cases in Shenzhen are directly issued by the sole judge or the collegial panel. The number of individual cases discussed by the Judicial Committee in 2016 dropped by 17.4%. From January last year to November this year, the Shenzhen Law Court president presided over or attended the trials of 165,241 cases, accounting for 28.5% of the total cases.
At the same time, the quality indicators for case handling continue to improve. 277,631 cases were settled in 2016, with 53,000 more cases settled than in the same period of last year, an increase of 23.7%. In 2016, the number of cases settled per judge reached 283, with 66 more cases settled than during the same period last year, an increase of 30.4%, which are 2.1 times the average level of courts in the province and 3 times the average level of the national courts.
From January to November 2017, the change rate and the retrial launch rate of cases decided by the first instance of all courts in Shenzhen dropped by 0.75% and 15% respectively. The case settling rate within the statutory time limit was up by 2.38%. The rate of being convinced and ceasing to appeal for civil trials by first instance was up by 2.2% while the accomplishment rate for the subject matter of execution was up by 26.92%. The petition complaint rate was only 0.29%.
It is proposed to set up the Judges' Rights and Interests Protection Committee.
However, the report also pointed out that the Shenzhen court has a large base of cases which are increasing rapidly and restrict the effectiveness of the reform. So far this year, the total number of cases has exceeded 430,000, ranking first in the province. Among them, the municipal intermediate court has 51,000 cases, ranking first in the country's intermediate courts. Although the total number of cases settled and the average number of cases settled per judge rose significantly through the reforms and exploring efforts, the number of cases waiting for a resolution still exceeded 120,000.
As the vast majority of judges have to handle tasks far more than the average normal workload of judges annually, they always have to work overtime and overloaded for a long time. This results in limited time and energy spent on each case and restricts the fine handling of cases. In addition, due to a serious lack of trial courts, some cases cannot be arranged to go to court.
The report said that in the next step, Shenzhen will continue to focus on the reform of the judicial responsibility system, deepen various comprehensive supporting reforms and strengthen the efficiency of system integration for reform. It includes stringent responsibility investigation, and will strictly hold him/her responsible if there is a lack of a strong sense of responsibility for case handling; or the case is delayed beyond the statutory time limit for no proper reason, illegal trials, or poor performance of supervision and management.
At the same time, in view of the situation of a rapid and steady increase in the total number of cases, Shenzhen intends to set up a special research group working on the issue of too few people for too many cases. The aim is to explore an efficient long-term mechanism and to set up the Judges' Rights and Interests Protection Committee. Efforts have also been made to develop the measures for implementing the "Regulations on the Protection of Judicial Personnel in Performing Legal Duty According to Law".