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Shanghai court introduces avoidance system

MEMBERS of the judicial committee, the highest trial panel in a court, will be asked to withdraw if a litigant thinks their identities will affect the justice of the trial.

The Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People's Court will take the nation's lead to allow litigants to apply for the withdrawal of its judicial committee members, judges said today.

"This will improve the transparency of the committee's work," said Wang Xinfang, director of the court. "The committee can judge a case with as much justice as possible after its privilege is removed."

The committee, a Chinese-style judicial body, is usually made up of court directors and senior judges. They will discuss important and complicated cases tried by a lower court and decide how to rule the cases if a three-person judge panel think it is beyond their capability to make a fair judgment.

In the past, litigants and their lawyers wouldn't know whether their lawsuits were discussed by the committee or not, let alone who joined the discussion.

The Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People's Court will inform litigants if their lawsuits are considered complicated and will be discussed by the committee. The court will disclose personal information of the committee members to the litigants.

If the litigants think any of the members are related to the case and may affect the justice of their ruling, they will have the right to ask the member to withdraw from the discussion.


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