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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 200819 Find in a Library
Title: Lay Assessor System in China
Journal: International Review of Penal Law  Volume:72  Issue:1-2  Dated:2001  Pages:51-56
Author(s): Liling Yue
Date Published: 2001
Page Count: 6
Type: Legislation/Policy Description
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: France
Annotation: This article discusses the lay assessor system in China.
Abstract: The jurisdiction of the lower courts, the higher courts, and the Supreme Court is outlined by the criminal procedure law in a very general way. Only the jurisdiction of the intermediate courts is specific, including cases of endangering state security. Lower courts try most minor cases. Higher courts and the Supreme Court try the cases that may be of importance to the whole province or the Nation. The idea of having lay assessors in China try cases together with professional judges is recognized as the right of the public to participate in the administration of justice, not as the right of the defendant to be tried by his or her peers. Lower courts or intermediate courts try first instance cases, conducted by a panel of three judges or judges and assessors. After the accusatory pleading has been read, the defendant and the victim may make opening statements. Then the prosecutor and the other participants with permission from the presiding judge may question the defendant and the witnesses. The judge is the last to question the defendant. The professional judge advises lay assessors on evidentiary issues and the applicable law. Deliberations are carried on in secret. The written judgment is formulated by professional judges and then submitted to lay assessors for approval and signature. If the defendant, private prosecutor, or their legal representatives refuse to accept a judgement or order of a first instance trial court, they have the right to appeal. Lay assessors are citizens that have the right to vote and stand for election and have reached the age of 23. Courts have started to select better-educated people for lay assessors. The Chinese lay assessor system has not functioned well during the last decades. The main problem is that professional judges influence lay assessors in most cases. A recent reform proposal is that a jury system should be set up because it is believed that lay assessors cannot escape the control and influence of professional judges. 2 footnotes
Main Term(s): China; Lay judges
Index Term(s): Court personnel; Judges; Juries; Jury decisionmaking; Jury selection; Trial procedures
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