Saturday, August 4, 2018

Two Beijing courts cooperate on military-related cases

The Beijing #1 Intermediate Court and the Military Court Directly under the Headquarters of the PLA (a military court at the level of an intermediate court, see this earlier blogpost) have concluded a joint cooperation agreement after several rounds of negotiation  (Opinion on establishing a judicial cooperation mechanism) (关于建立司法协作机制的意见), announced on August 1, People's Liberation Army Day.  As is usual with military legal matters in China, the full text of the agreement was not released, but it was summarized in the media, including on the court's website.  This observer surmises that the joint cooperation agreement was approved by the Beijing Higher People's Court and the People's Liberation Army Military Court.

According to the reports, the agreement has five sections with 21 articles. The civilian court agreed to establish special arrangements for the military to file cases with designated personnel, compile military-related statistics, designate dedicated personnel to hearing these cases, with simple cases heard quickly, complicated cases considered carefully, and make more use of mediation to ensure that disputes are resolved. As this observer has written elsewhere, case closing numbers are one of the important metrics for courts. Military-related cases are difficult for civilian courts to resolve because the military and civilian systems are siloed (see this for more detail). The agreement calls for greater exchanges between the two courts on dealing with military-related petitioning, and includes provisions related to criminal, civil, and administrative cases and the entire judicial process from case acceptance to enforcement.

Signing ceremony for
cooperation agreement
As to why would the Beijing #1 Intermediate Court conclude this agreement, the reports explain that it is one of the Beijing courts with the most military-related cases, relating to military institutions, military personnel, military structures, and military-use land, hearing major military-related cases in the first instance and many military-related appeals.  A search of the Supreme People's Court's database for military-related cases heard in that court (some cases are likely not be posted) confirms a large number of military-related cases in that court, especially linked to the PLA's decision to exit commercial operations (the 2016 Notice on the military and armed police forces stopping entirely compensated services)(关于军队和武警部队全面停止有偿服务活动的通知).  Recent cases include many related to civilian businesses renting military property.

As was previously mentioned on this blog, The joint cooperation agreement appears to be one of a number of such arrangements between Chinese military courts and civilian courts, aimed at better coordination between the civilian and military justice systems--the Central and Southern Commands have worked out analogous arrangements as well.

The agreement appears to be an evolution of the 2014 Supreme People's Court policy document on Expanding Capacity in Safeguarding the Interests of National Defense, Guaranteeing the Rights and Interests of Military Personnel, and Military Dependents. This blog post discusses some of the special characteristics and odd issues of these documents.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are subject to moderation and must be submitted under your real name. Anonymous comments will not be posted (even though the form seems to permit them).