Criminal Justice in China

Criminal Justice in China

An Empirical Inquiry

Mike McConville

The political, economic and social transformations that have taken place in China over the last half-century have had a major impact upon the formal methods, institutions and mechanisms used to deal with alleged criminal infractions. This path-breaking book, based upon the largest and most systematic empirical inquiry ever undertaken in China, analyses the extent to which changes to the formal legal structure have resulted in changes to the law in practice.

Chapter 8: Trial procedure, rules, setting and personnel

Mike McConville

Subjects: asian studies, asian law, law - academic, asian law, criminal law and justice, human rights, politics and public policy, human rights


INTRODUCTION In this chapter we describe the physical layout of criminal courts in China, provide an overview of the procedural and evidential rules that govern the criminal trial in China, explain the extent and nature of legal representation for defendants at the trial stage, and consider the qualification requirements for, and the roles assigned to, the various legal personnel involved in the conduct of the trial. We also draw upon our interview data to provide a profile of the educational and employment background of judges, prosecutors and defenders. COURT LAYOUT Court layout is governed by rules found in the Provisions of the Supreme People’s Court and Supreme People’s Procuratorate Concerning the Positions of the Judges’ Bench, Prosecution’s Table and Defence Table in a People’s Court (Court Setting Provisions) and in the Notice of the Supreme People’s Court on Questions Concerning the Names of the Courts, the Positioning of the Adjudicative Area and the Hanging of Court Emblem (Court Setting Notice). Applying the rules set out in these two documents provides a courtroom configuration as set out in Figure 8.1. The positioning of the court clerks is not particularly clear from the provisions in Figure 8.1, but the Court Setting Notice does provide that: For courts that have sufficient space, they may put the table of the Court Clerks in front of and in the middle of the Judges’ Bench. The table of the Court Clerks and the Judges’ Bench should form a right angle (90°). The table of the Court...

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