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|Supreme People's Court of the People's Republic of China|
Zhōnghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó
Zuìgāo Rénmín Fǎyuàn
Emblem of the People's Courts of the People's Republic of China
|Established||October 22, 1949|
|Country||People's Republic of China|
|Composition method||Presidential selection with National People's Congress approval|
|Authorized by||Constitution of the People's Republic of China|
|Judge term length||5 years|
|President and Chief Justice|
|Since||15 March 2013|
|Executive Vice President|
|Since||24 April 2008|
|This article is part of a series on the|
politics and government of
People's Republic of China
The Supreme People's Court (Chinese: 最高人民法院; pinyin: Zuìgāo Rénmín Fǎyuàn) is the highest level of court in the mainland area of the People's Republic of China. Hong Kong and Macau, as special administrative regions, have their own separate judicial systems based on British common law traditions and Portuguese civil-law traditions respectively, and are out of the jurisdiction of the Supreme People's Court.
The Supreme People's Court is regarded as the superior appellate forum in China which supervises and governs the procedure of justice by all the special people courts and the local, subordinate courts. It is also the court of last resort in the whole of China.
The court is made up of 340 judges which meet in smaller tribunals to decide cases.
The court system consists of a four-level, two-hearing system trial process.
The court was established on October 22, 1949. 
In 2005, the Supreme People's Court announced its intent to "[take] back authority for death penalty approval" over concerns about “sentencing quality”, and the National People's Congress officially changed the Organic Law on the People's Courts to require all death sentences to be approved by the Supreme People's Court on 31 October 2006. It has been reported that since the new review process, the court has rejected 15 percent of the death sentences decided by lower courts.[when?]
On 1st January 2019, the Intellectual Property Tribunal of the Supreme People's Court was established to handle all second instance hearings from cases heard in the first instance by the Intellectual Property Courts.
- Conducting trial of the following cases: first-hearing cases placed with the SPC by laws and regulations and those the SPC deems within its jurisdiction; appeals or protests against trial decisions or verdicts of the higher people's courts and special people's courts; appeals against court judgments lodged by the Supreme People's Procuratorate according to trial supervision procedures.
- Giving approval to death sentences.
- Supervising the trials by local people's courts and special people's courts at different levels.
- On discovering mistakes in the rulings and verdicts of local people's courts already being legally enforced, conducting questioning or appointing a lower level court to conduct re-hearing.
- Giving approvals to verdicts on crimes not specifically stipulated in the criminal law.
- Offering explanations over the concrete application of laws during the trial process. Further details about this were described by Zhou Qiang as:
The reply is a request for a specific case. Its legal binding force is limited to the case itself and does not have universal legal effect. In other cases, the judge cannot directly use the above reply as the basis for the judgement. For documents that have universal effectiveness and guide courts at all levels, the Supreme People's Court generally publishes it in the form of judicial interpretation and can make inquiries in newspapers and on the Internet.
In any event, while there is no binding force to replies from the Supreme People's Court, lower courts will often defer to their opinions.
- Courts within the SPC
- Criminal courts
- Civil courts
- Administrative trials
- Special courts set up according to actual needs
- Intellectual Property Tribunal
- Departments within the SPC
- Research office
- General affairs office
- Personnel department
- Judicial affairs department
- Administrative affairs department
- Office affairs bureau
- Foreign affairs bureau
- Education department
- Circuit courts of the SPC
- First Circuit (established in Shenzhen, Dec 2014)
- Second Circuit (established in Shenyang, Dec 2014)
- Third Circuit
- Fourth Circuit
- Fifth Circuit
- Sixth Circuit
Presidents and Vice Presidents of the Court
- 1949—1954: Supreme People's Court of the Central People's Government
- President: Shen Junru
- 1954—1959: Supreme People's Court of the People's Republic of China under the 1st National People's Congress
- 1959—1965: 2nd National People's Congress
- 1965—1975: 3rd National People's Congress
- 1975—1978: 4th National People's Congress
- 1978—1983: 5th National People's Congress
- 1983—1988: 6th National People's Congress
- 1988—1993: 7th National People's Congress
- 1993—1998: 8th National People's Congress
- 1998—2003: 9th National People's Congress
- 2003—2007: 10th National People's Congress
- 2008—2013: 11th National People's Congress
- 2013—2018: 12th National People's Congress
- President: Zhou Qiang
- 2018—present: 13th National People's Congress
- President: Zhou Qiang
- Court system of the People's Republic of China
- Supreme People's Procuratorate - the highest legal supervisory body, charged with safeguarding the laws and people's rights.
- Three Supremes
- Judges Law of the People's Republic of China, Article 16: "Judges are divided into twelve grades. The President of the Supreme People's Court is the Chief Justice."
- About the Supreme People's Court (Chinese)
- Dickie, Mure (27 October 2005). "China's top court to review all death sentences". Financial Times.
- "China changes law to limit death sentence". China Daily. 31 October 2006.
- Bodeen, Christopher (10 April 2008). "China Hails Reform of Death Penalty". San Francisco Chronicle.
- CHINA'S NEW SUPREME PEOPLE'S COURT IP TRIBUNAL
- The National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China. The Supreme People's Court (SPC) Feb 14, 2018.
- First Circuit Court of the Supreme People's Court established
- Second Circuit established
- The Supreme People's Court of the People's Republic of China Official site.
- Chinacourt English website sponsored by the Supreme People's Court, with court news and legal information including biographical information for the Grand Justices.
- PRC Laws Links to English versions of the Constitution, General Principles of Civil Law, Administrative Procedure Law, Civil and Criminal Procedure Laws, and the Judges Law.
- The Supreme People's Court Court information in English, maintained at People's Daily Online.
- The Supreme People's Court of the People's Republic of China English website.
- The Presidents Mailbox - Reply to the "Supreme People's Court Disclosure of Various Judicial Basis Documents"