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Lawsuits against government should be filed within 7 days: top court

(Global Times)    14:33, April 28, 2015
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photo source: mdjtl.hljcourt.gov.cn/

China's top court Monday issued a judicial interpretation of the Administrative Procedure Law, instructing courts to accept and file lawsuits submitted by citizens within seven days of receiving the necessary documents, in an effort to safeguard the public's right to take the government to court.

Courts should file lawsuits against the government within seven days of receiving the claimant's documents, according to the interpretation, issued by the Supreme People's Court (SPC).

If courts are unable to immediately decide whether a case meets the legal requirements, they still must decide whether or not to reject it within seven days. If they decide to reject it, courts will be required to give a full explanation of their decision to the claimant. Claimants will also be able to file lawsuits with higher courts to appeal or assess a lower court's decision to reject a case.

The interpretation will become effective on May 1, along with the amendment of Administrative Law which was adopted by the members of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress in November 2014.

Li Guangyu, deputy head of the administrative tribunal of the SPC, said on Monday that courts will only check whether the documents are properly filed according to requirements laid out in the amendment and the interpretation, which will make it easier for citizens to prosecute lawsuits.

"Previously, courts took a long time to review cases and related evidence. Some courts even decided who would win the lawsuit before they filed the case. In fact, all of this should be handled in trials or pre-trial hearings," Li said.

The time-consuming review process that courts would go though before accepting lawsuits was usually used as an excuse for courts to throw out cases they didn't want to hear. As it was difficult to sue the government, and many chose to launch petitions instead.

According to the amendment, claimants can file lawsuits if the government is being sued for violating agreements related to land or demolition compensation and commercial operations supervised by the government.

Citizens can also file cases to request that courts review government regulations, according to the interpretation.

If the court finds problems with regulations issued by government bodies below a certain level, they should submit the problems and amendment suggestions to the government or other higher authorities, the interpretation noted.

The number of lawsuits against governments accepted by Chinese courts between January and March this year was almost the same as total number of such lawsuits accepted last year, Li said.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Gao Yinan,Yao Chun)

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