If you do business in China, there may come a time when you will have to deal with the Chinese court system. It is not like the system in the United States.
The U.S. judicial system ties in with our constitution. The Chinese court system works under communist rule, which is why it is so different.
The basic structure
The Chinese legal system uses the civil law model. It is not a branch of its own within the government as it is in the U.S. Instead, the executive branch has complete control over the judicial system.
The basis for all law in China is the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China, along with laws made at various levels within the government. The Supreme People’s Court also sets legal precedents in some situations.
Types of courts
The highest court within the Chinese judicial system is the Supreme People’s Court. The next level of courts is the High People’s Courts. There is a court for each province for 31 total.
The next level of the system is the Basic People’s Courts. These are at the local level and number over 3,000. They also include over 10,000 tribunals under their umbrella.
The system also includes some special courts that address certain legal areas, such as the military, intellectual property and internet.
Getting a case into court for a business matter is not as simple as just filing. The court must approve it. So, every aspect of going to court in China is different from the U.S. It can be confusing if you are not clear on how the Chinese court system works.