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China extends pilot reform on juror system by a year

Xinhua, April 28, 2017 Adjust font size:

China's top legislature on April 27 decided to extend the trial reform of the people's juror system by a year to increase public participation in legal proceedings.

The decision was passed at the closing meeting of the bimonthly session of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee.

The two-year pilot program at 50 courts in 10 provincial-level regions, including Beijing, Hebei and Heilongjiang was due to end in May.

It is necessary to extend the trial period to gain more experience and ensure the desired effect, Shen Deyong, deputy president of the Supreme People's Court, told lawmakers Monday in his statement to the NPC Standing Committee.

Unlike the jury system in the United States, where jurors are randomly selected, jurors in China are chosen from a group of candidates recommended by local communities or authorities.

A juror exercises the same power as a judge but cannot hear a case alone nor act as chief judge of a collegial panel. Legislators, judges, prosecutors, police officers and lawyers are excluded from jury service.

In 2016, jurors at the 50 courts participated in the hearings of 11,642 criminal cases, 64,917 civil cases and 5,213 administrative cases.

The decision will come into force on April 28.