Courts at all levels should offer more assistance to
disadvantaged social groups in order to protect their rights,
China's chief justice said.
Xiao Yang, president of the Supreme People's Court (SPC), said
"Courts should voluntarily postpone, deduct or waive lawsuit fees
for migrant workers, the unemployed, elderly people living alone,
or the disabled," at a national conference of presidents of higher
courts held on Thursday.
He also recommended ways to help these disadvantaged groups to
seek legal assistance, such as offering guidance, enabling
registration of lawsuits online and setting up mobile courts in
"These are part of our efforts to implement the 'for the people'
concept and show the humanitarian concern of China's judiciary
system," Xiao said.
Luo Gan, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political
Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee,
said earlier this year that the socialist concept of rule of law
consisted of the following aspects: governance according to the
law, enforcing the law for the people, equality and justice, and
leadership of the CPC.
SPC statistics showed that in 2005, courts at various levels
appointed 117,407 lawyers to defendants and 266,732 people
benefited from the legal assistants, saving a total of 1.265
billion yuan (US$158 million).
The Ministry of Justice on June 8 established a fund to offer
legal aid to senior citizens with 2.15 million yuan (US$268,750)
previously collected in public donations.
An official with the Legal Aid Center under the Ministry of
Justice said the legal problems of senior citizens mostly involved
property disputes or children's failure to provide support. Those
who were unable to afford litigation and legal fees could apply for
(Xinhua News Agency June 30, 2006)