Foreign business owners in China are sometimes in need of solving various commercial disputes, whether with Chinese partners or with other Chinese companies. While there are some alternative conflict resolution methods available, like mediation and arbitration, litigation lawyers in China handle most of the cases involving business or commercial disputes. Our Chinese law firm can offer you legal representation in court, regardless of the type of company or the business field in which you activate.
The Chinese court system
The judicial system in China is a four-level court system divided as follows:
-the Supreme People’s Court has the highest level - it supervises the administration of justice;
-the local people’s courts are the Courts of First Instance and they handle criminal and civil cases; they are high, intermediate and basic;
-the courts of special jurisdiction.
Most of the cases in China are accepted and heard by the basic and intermediate people’s courts. Business owners should pay attention that the legal system in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is different from that in mainland China.
The legal proceedings in China start when a plaintiff files a complaint at the appropriate people’s court that has jurisdiction over the case. The complaint must specify relevant information about the defendant, must make clear claims and bring forward basic evidence. After the complaint has been filed, the people’s court has seven days to communicate its decision to accept or reject it.
Litigation cases in China
After a case has been judged, it is enforced by the enforcement agency or by the Court of First Instance. There is a time limit for enforcing an effective judgement, usually, two years after the date the judgment enters into force. Judgements made by foreign courts cannot be directly enforced in China. Foreign courts can apply for recognition and this is done based on existing international agreements with the People’s Republic of China. The recognition and enforcement will usually be judged according to the principle of reciprocity: if a preceding similar case existed in the past and it allowed for the enforcement of the judgments between China and the said foreign country.
Because court litigation is somewhat more complicated in China and it is often hindered by the language barrier, many investors in China will choose to solve their commercial or business disputes using arbitration. The Civil Procedure Law of the People’s Republic of China recognizes this alternative dispute resolution method although similar conditions apply for foreign judgments: the foreign country issuing the arbitration judgment must be part of an existing convention with China. A Chinese arbitration commission handles the arbitration procedure and it is governed by the Arbitration Law.
For a complete understanding of the litigation procedure in China, we invite you to watch the video below:
Our law firm in China can offer you solutions for litigation cases. Our lawyers will help you prepare for a lawsuit and will take all the necessary steps to ensure that a favorable judgement is issued in court.