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|Thursday, November 23, 2000, updated at 17:02(GMT+8)|
Top Court Outlaws Family ConnectionsThe Supreme People's Court has banned the spouses and children of its chief judges, vice-presidents and president from getting involved in paid legal services, according to chinadaily.com.cn.
"The spouses and children of those holding leading positions in the Supreme People's Court should stop engaging in any paid legal services and business transactions that may interfere with public work, otherwise office holders must resign," said a spokesman.
The new regulations warn that any violation will result in investigations and, if guilty, judges concerned will be disciplined.
Under the new rules, spouses and children of court leaders are not allowed to run law firms in the same jurisdictions as the office holder in their family.
Family members of the court's president, vice-presidents as well as chief judges of some sections, such as those in charge of criminal, civil and administrative cases and the execution of court rulings, are not allowed to represent clients in court.
In addition, families of chief judges of other sections of the court are prohibited from providing paid legal services in cases handled by the Supreme People's Court.
The regulations also stipulate that the spouses and children of chief judges should not take part in auctions, sales, and assessments dealt with by the Supreme People's Court. Neither are they allowed to engage in business transactions involving the court, such as the purchasing of bulk commodities and the contracting of construction projects.
The regulations are part of a new effort by China's top court to weed out corruption and guarantee judicial fairness, the theme of the nation's ongoing judicial reforms.
Because of a number of public complaints that certain cases have been handled "under-the-table," Chinese courts have staged a series of reforms since early 1998 to change the situation.
These efforts include encouraging ordinary people to attend court hearings, broadcasting court trials on television and opening files of cases to the public.
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