Guangzhou to improve legal environment in free trade zone
The circuit court for the Guangzhou Maritime Court at the Guangdong Free Trade Zone was launched on May 11 to improve efficiency of maritime judgments and better the legal environment in the Nansha Free Trade Zone and Guangzhou International Shipping Center.
The Guangzhou Maritime Court has this year accepted 468 cases on maritime commerce within the free trade zone, up from 201 in 2016, and the value of the trials has reached 273 million yuan ($40.2 million).
According to Ye Liudong, president of Guangdong Provincial People's High Court, the circuit court decided to establish a branch in the judgment building of Nansha Court (in Nansha district of Guangzhou) in July 2016 to deal with cases in the Nansha Free Trade Zone. It will launch another two courts in Qianhai (Qiansha district in Shenzhen) and Hengqin to cover the entire Guangdong Free Trade Zone.
Chief Judge of Guangzhou Maritime Court Ni Xuewei said that the court respects the autonomy of commercial entities and will appoints impartial trial judges.
It will engage professional jurors from Hong Kong and Macau to guarantee fairness.
Furthermore, if a party in a case is not Chinese, the trial judge will use both English and Chinese during the trial and the judgment document will also be in both languages.
In cases involving international commercial contracts between Chinese and foreign parties the court will assist the foreign party to ensure a just outcome.
The trial mode of cases including material damage and personal injury claims will adopt methods such as fixed and collegial hearings and joint sessions of judges to improve trial quality and efficiency.
Xu Chunjian, vice president of the Guangdong Provincial People's High Court, said he hopes the circuit court will help protect investors' rights in the international shipping market and strengthen China's influence by improving the country's global judicial image.
Also represented at the opening ceremony were officers and delegates from Guangzhou's international shipping arbitration entities, Nansha Maritime Safety Office, COSCO Shipping Lines’ southern branch, Guangzhou Maritime Court, and Nansha People's Court.