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China's top court selects 367 judges in judicial reform

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-07-03 16:13

BEIJING - A total of 367 judges of the Supreme People's Court (SPC), including Chief Justice Zhou Qiang, took the oath of office Monday as part of their re-election in a judicial reform aimed at promoting professional selection of the bench.

Among the 367 judges, with an average age of 47, 119 hold doctoral degrees, accounting for 32.4 percent, while 205 hold master's degrees, or 55.9 percent of the total.

With an average of 22 years working experience in law, all the judges have been engaged in handling complicated cases or drafting major judicial interpretations, the SPC said in a statement.

They were chosen by an SPC selection committee consisting of representatives of central government, experts, judges, prosecutors, and the public, said Xu Jiaxin, head of the SPC political department.

Previously, China's judicial selection and management system took reference from the public servant management system, which did not suit the profession's characteristics well.

With the rapid increase of lawsuits and new types of crime, many local courts are facing heavy workloads and shortages of competent judges, with judges in a developed eastern region hearing 300 cases a year on average.

To address these problems, China has taken measures to foster a strong legal team, including improvements to the professional threshold, the establishment of a selection mechanism for judges, as well as the encouragement of exchange between legal practitioners and researchers.

By the end of June 2017, courts across the country had selected more than 120,000 competent judges, said Xu.

"After four years of judicial reform, the personnel management in courts has became more scientific, with 85 percent of the manpower working in frontline roles of handling cases," said Xu.

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