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Civil Procedure Law of the People's Republic of China (2017 Amendment) (2017-2021 Annotation Version)

Part ONE General Provisions
CHAPTER 1 Purposes, Scope of Application and Basic Principles

Article 1 The Civil Procedure Law of the People's Republic of China is formulated in accordance with the Constitution and in consideration of civil trial experience and actual circumstances of civil trials in China.

Article 2 The purposes of the Civil Procedure Law of the People's Republic of China are to protect the parties' exercise of procedural rights; ensure that a people's court finds facts, distinguishes right from wrong, applies law correctly and try civil cases in a timely manner; confirm civil rights and obligations; punish violations of civil law; protect the lawful rights and interests of the parties; educate citizens on consciously abiding by law; maintain the social and economic order; and guarantee smooth socialist development.

Article 3 The provisions of this Law shall apply to civil actions accepted by a people's court regarding property or personal relationships between citizens, between legal persons, between other organizations or between citizens and legal persons, citizens and other organizations or legal persons and other organizations.

Article 4 For all civil actions conducted within the territory of the People's Republic of China, this Law must be complied with.

Article 5 Foreign nationals, stateless persons and foreign enterprises and organizations which institute or respond to actions in the people's courts shall have equal procedural rights and obligations as citizens, legal persons and other organizations of the People's Republic of China.
Where the courts of a foreign country impose any restrictions on the civil procedural rights of citizens, legal persons and other organizations of the People's Republic of China, the people's courts of the People's Republic of China shall apply the principle of reciprocity to the civil procedural rights of citizens, enterprises and organizations of such a foreign country.

Article 6 The power to try civil cases shall be exercised by the people's courts.
The people's courts shall try civil cases independently in accordance with law, without interference from any government agency, social group or individual.

Article 7 When trying civil cases, the people's courts must regard facts as the basis and regard law as the yardstick.

Article 8 All parties to a civil action shall have equal procedural rights. When trying civil cases, the people's courts shall provide safeguards and facilitation for all parties to exercise their procedural rights, and apply law equally for all parties.

Article 9 When trying civil cases, the people's courts shall conduct mediation under the principles of free will of the parties and legality; and if mediation fails, shall enter a judgment in a timely manner.

Article 10 When trying civil cases, the people's courts shall apply the collegial bench, disqualification, open trial and “final after two trials” systems in accordance with law.

Article 11 Citizens of all ethnicities shall be entitled to use their native spoken and written languages in civil procedures.
In areas where an ethnic minority is concentrated or several ethnicities cohabit, the people's courts shall conduct trial and publish legal instruments in the spoken and written language commonly used by the local ethnicity or ethnicities.
The people's courts shall provide interpretation for litigation participants who are not familiar with the spoken or written language commonly used by the local ethnicity or ethnicities.

Article 12 When a people's court tries a civil case, the parties shall have the right to debate.

Article 13 In civil procedures, the principle of good faith shall be adhered to.
The parties shall be entitled to dispose of their respective civil rights and procedural rights within the extent as permitted by law.

[Note:In Article 13, “honesty and credibility” is replaced with “good faith”.]

Article 14 The people's procuratorates shall have the authority to exercise legal supervision over civil procedures.

Article 15 For conduct which infringes upon the civil rights and interests of the state, a collective or an individual, a state organ, a social group, an enterprise or a public institution may support the entity or individual which suffers infringement in instituting an action in a people's court.

[Note:One article is added as Article 16: “With the consent of the parties, civil proceedings may be conducted online through an information network platform.
“Online civil proceedings conducted through an information network platform shall have the same legal force as offline legal proceedings.”]

Article 16 The people's congresses of ethnical autonomous areas may formulate provisions with necessary changes or supplementary provisions in accordance with the principles of the Constitution and this Law and in consideration of the specific circumstances of the local ethnicity or ethnicities. Such provisions formulated by an autonomous region shall be subject to the approval of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress. Such provisions formulated by an autonomous prefecture or autonomous county shall be subject to the approval of the standing committee of the people's congress of the corresponding province or autonomous region and be filed with the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.

CHAPTER 2 Jurisdiction
Section 1 Hierarchical Jurisdiction

Article 17 The basic people's courts shall have jurisdiction over civil cases as a court of first instance, except as otherwise provided for in this Law.

Article 18 The intermediate people's courts shall have jurisdiction over the following civil cases as a court of first instance:
(1) Major foreign-related cases.
(2) Cases which have a major impact within their respective jurisdictions.
(3) Cases which are under the jurisdiction of the intermediate people's courts as determined by the Supreme People's Court.

Article 19 The higher people's courts shall have jurisdiction over civil cases which have a major impact within their respective jurisdictions as a court of first instance.

Article 20 The Supreme People's Court shall have jurisdiction over the following civil cases as a court of first instance:
(1) Cases which have a major impact nationwide.
(2) Cases which the Supreme People's Court deems shall be tried by itself.

Section 2 Territorial Jurisdiction

Article 21 A civil action instituted against a citizen shall be under the jurisdiction of the people's court at the place of domicile of the defendant; or if the defendant's place of domicile is different from his or her place of habitual residence, the civil action shall be under the jurisdiction of the people's court at the place of habitual residence of the defendant.
A civil action instituted against a legal person or any other organization shall be under the jurisdiction of the people's court at the place of domicile of the defendant.
Where the places of domicile or places of habitual residence of several defendants in the same action are located within the jurisdictions of two or more people's courts, both or all of such people's courts shall have jurisdiction over the action.

Article 22 The following civil actions shall be under the jurisdiction of the people's court at the place of domicile of the plaintiff; or if the plaintiff's place of domicile is different from his or her place of habitual residence, the civil actions shall be under the jurisdiction of the people's court at the place of habitual residence of the plaintiff:
(1) An action regarding a personal relationship instituted against a person who does not reside within the territory of the People's Republic of China.
(2) An action regarding a personal relationship instituted against a person whose whereabouts is unknown or against a person who has been declared missing.
(3) An action instituted against a person who is subject to any compulsory correctional measure.
(4) An action instituted against a person who is incarcerated.

Article 23 An action instituted for a contract dispute shall be under the jurisdiction of the people's court at the place of domicile of the defendant or at the place where the contract is performed.

Article 24 An action instituted for an insurance contract dispute shall be under the jurisdiction of the people's court at the place of domicile of the defendant or at the place where the subject matter insured is located.

Article 25 An action instituted for a negotiable instrument dispute shall be under the jurisdiction of the people's court at the place of payment of the negotiable instrument or at the place of domicile of the defendant.

Article 26 An action instituted for a dispute arising from formation, shareholder eligibility confirmation, profit distribution, dissolution or any other matter of a company shall be under the jurisdiction of the people's court at the place of domicile of the company.

Article 27 An action instituted for a dispute arising from a railway, road, water, air, or multi-mode transportation contract shall be under the jurisdiction of the people's court at the place of departure or destination of transportation or at the place of domicile of the defendant.

Article 28 An action instituted for a tort shall be under the jurisdiction of the people's court at the place where the tort occurs or at the place of domicile of the defendant.

Article 29 An action instituted for damages for a railway, road, water or air transportation accident shall be under the jurisdiction of the people's court at the place where the accident occurs, where the vehicle or vessel first arrives or where the aircraft first lands or at the place of domicile of the defendant.

Article 30 An action instituted for damages for a vessel collision or any other maritime accident shall be under the jurisdiction of the people's court at the place where the collision occurs, where the colliding vessel first arrives or where the vessel at fault is detained or at the place of domicile of the defendant.

Article 31 An action instituted for maritime salvage shall be under the jurisdiction of the people's court at the place of salvage or at the place where the salvaged vessel first arrives.

Article 32 An action instituted for a general average shall be under the jurisdiction of the people's court at the place where the vessel first arrives, where the general average is adjusted or where the voyage ends.

Article 33 The following cases shall be under the exclusive jurisdiction of the people's courts as specified below:
(1) An action instituted for a real estate dispute shall be under the jurisdiction of the people's court at the place where the real estate is located.
(2) An action instituted for a dispute arising from harbor operations shall be under the jurisdiction of the people's court at the place where the harbor is located.
(3) An action instituted for an inheritance dispute shall be under the jurisdiction of the people's court at the place of domicile of the deceased upon death or at the place where the major part of estate is located.

Article 34 Parties to a dispute over a contract or any other right or interest in property may, by a written agreement, choose the people's court at the place of domicile of the defendant, at the place where the contract is performed or signed, at the place of domicile of the plaintiff, at the place where the subject matter is located or at any other place actually connected to the dispute to have jurisdiction over the dispute, but the provisions of this Law regarding hierarchical jurisdiction and exclusive jurisdiction shall not be violated.

Article 35 When two or more people's courts have jurisdiction over an action, the plaintiff may institute an action in one of such people's courts; and if the plaintiff institutes actions in two or more people's courts that have jurisdiction, the people's court which dockets the case first shall have jurisdiction over the action.

Section 3 Jurisdiction Transfer and Specified Jurisdiction

Article 36 Where a people's court discovers that a case accepted is not under its jurisdiction, it shall transfer the case to the people's court having jurisdiction, and the people's court to which the case is transferred shall accept the case. If the people's court to which the case is transferred deems that the transferred case is not under its jurisdiction according to the relevant provisions, it shall report the case to its superior for specified jurisdiction and shall not transfer the case without direction.

Article 37 Where a people's court having jurisdiction is unable to exercise its jurisdiction for any special reasons, its superior shall specify jurisdiction.
Where there is any dispute over jurisdiction between the people's courts, the dispute shall be resolved by the disputing courts through consultations; or if such consultations fail, the disputing courts shall request their common superior to specify jurisdiction.

Article 38 A people's court at a higher level shall have the power to try a first instance civil case under the jurisdiction of a people's court at a lower level. If it is necessary to transfer a first instance civil case under its jurisdiction to a people's court at a lower level for trial, a people's court at a higher level shall file a report with its superior for approval of the transfer.
If a people's court at a lower level deems it necessary for a first instance civil case under its jurisdiction to be tried by a people's court at a higher level, it may request the people's court at a higher level to try the case.

CHAPTER 3 Trial Organization

Article 39 When a people's court tries a first instance civil case, a collegial bench consisting of judges and jurors or consisting of judges only shall be formed. The members of a collegial bench must be in an odd number.
Civil cases tried under summary procedure shall be tried by a sole judge.
When performing their juror's duties, jurors shall have equal rights and obligations as a judge.

[Note:Article 39 is renumbered as Article 40, paragraph 2 of which is amended to read: “Civil cases to which the summary procedure is applied shall be tried by a single judge. Civil cases of first instance tried by the primary people's court with clear basic facts and unambiguous rights and obligations may be tried by a single judge under the ordinary procedure.”]

Article 40 When a people's court tries a second instance civil case, a collegial bench consisting of judges only shall be formed. The members of a collegial bench must be in an odd number.
For a case remanded for retrial, the original trial people's court shall form a new collegial bench under the procedure at first instance.
If a case for retrial was originally tried by a court of first instance, a new collegial bench shall be formed under the procedure at first instance; or if the case for retrial was originally tried by a court of second instance or tried directly by a people's court at a higher level, a new collegial bench shall be formed under the procedure at second instance.

[Note:Article 40 is renumbered as Article 41 and one paragraph is added as paragraph 2: “With the consent of both parties, an intermediate people's court may try by a single judge a civil case of second instance under which the first instance has been concluded under the summary procedure or an appeal is filed against a ruling, if the facts are clear and the rights and obligations are unambiguous.”]

Article 41 The president of a people's court or a divisional chief of a people's court shall designate a judge as the presiding judge of a collegial bench; and if the president or divisional chief participates in the trial, the president or divisional chief shall be the presiding judge.

[Note:One article is added as Article 42: “A people's court may not try any of the following civil cases by a single judge.
“(1) Cases involving national interest or public interest.
“(2) Cases involving group disputes, which may affect social stability.
“(3) Cases which receive widespread public attention or otherwise have a relatively large social impact.
“(4) Cases which are of a new type or difficult and complicated.
“(5) Cases which shall be tried by a collegial panel as provided by law.
“(6) Other cases the trial of which by a single judge is inappropriate.”]

Article 42 When deliberating a case, a collegial bench shall adhere to the rule of majority. Deliberation transcripts shall be prepared and be signed by the members of the collegial bench. The dissenting opinions during deliberations shall be truthfully included in the transcripts.

[Note:One article is added as Article 43: “Where a people's court discovers during the trial of a case that it is inappropriate for a single judge to try the case, it shall rule that the case shall be tried by a collegial panel.
“Where a party is of the opinion that the trial of the case by a single judge violates the provisions of any law, the party may file an objection with the people's court. The people's court shall examine the objection filed by the party, and rule that the case shall be tried by a collegial panel if the objection is supported, or rule to dismiss the objection if the objection is not supported.”]

Article 43 Judges shall handle cases impartially in accordance with law.
Judges shall not accept any treats or gifts from the parties or their litigation representatives.
Judges who commit embezzlement, accept bribes, practice favoritism for personal gains or adjudicate by bending the law shall be subject to legal liability; and those suspected of any crime shall be subject to criminal liability in accordance with law.

CHAPTER 4 Disqualification

Article 44 Under any of the following circumstances, a judge shall voluntarily disqualify himself or herself, and a party shall be entitled to request disqualification of such a judge verbally or in writing:
(1) The judge is a party to a case or is a close relative of a party to a case or a litigation representative thereof.
(2) The judge is an interested party to a case.
(3) The judge has any other relationship with a party to a case or a litigation representative thereof, which may affect the impartial trial of the case.
Where a judge accepts any treat or gift from a party to a case or a litigation representative thereof or meets with a party to a case in violation of legal provisions, a party shall be entitled to require disqualification of such a judge.
A judge who commits any conduct in the preceding paragraph shall be subject to legal liability in accordance with law.
The provisions of the preceding three paragraphs shall also apply to court clerks, interpreters, identification or evaluation experts, and surveyors.

Article 45 To request disqualification, a party shall state reasons and file a request at the beginning of the trial of a case; and a request may also be filed before the end of court debate if a party becomes aware of a reason for disqualification after the trial of a case begins.
Before the people's court decides whether to grant the request for disqualification, the person whose disqualification is requested shall be suspended from participating in the case, unless the case requires that emergency measures be taken.

Article 46 The disqualification of the presiding judge who is the president of a people's court shall be decided by the judicial committee of the people's court; the disqualification of judges shall be decided by the president of a people's court; and the disqualification of other persons shall be decided by the presiding judge.

[Note: “Presiding judge” in Article 46 is replaced with “presiding judge or single judge”.]

Article 47 A people's court shall make a decision verbally or in writing on a party's request for disqualification within three days after the request is filed. Against the decision, a party may apply for reconsideration once when receiving the decision. During the period of reconsideration, the person whose disqualification is requested shall not be suspended from participating in the case. A people's court shall make a decision on an application for reconsideration within three days and notify the reconsideration applicant of the decision.

CHAPTER 5 Primary Litigation Participants
Section 1 Parties

Article 48 Citizens, legal persons and other organizations may act as the parties to civil actions.
The legal representative of a legal person shall participate in an action on behalf of the legal person. The primary person in charge of any other organization shall participate in an action on behalf of the organization.

Article 49 The parties shall be entitled to retain representatives, file a request for disqualification, collect and provide evidence, debate, file a request for mediation, file an appeal, and apply for enforcement.
The parties may consult materials related to the case and copy materials and legal instruments related to the case. The scope of and measures for consulting and copying materials related to a case shall be prescribed by the Supreme People's Court.
The parties must exercise their procedural rights in accordance with law, observe the order of litigation, and execute effective written judgments, rulings and consent judgments.

Article 50 Both sides of a civil action may reach a settlement themselves.

Article 51 The plaintiff may relinquish or modify its claims. The defendant may admit or repudiate the plaintiff's claims and shall have the right to file a counterclaim.

Article 52 A joint action means that one side or both sides of a civil action consist of two or more persons, the subject matter of action for each party is same or is of the same kind and the people's court deems that the disputes of all the parties may be tried concurrently, to which all the parties agree.
Where the parties on one side of a joint action have common rights and obligations regarding the subject matter of action, the litigation conduct of any of such parties shall bind the rest of such parties if the conduct is recognized by the rest of such parties; or where the parties on one side of a joint action have no common rights and obligations regarding the subject matter of action, the litigation conduct of any of such parties shall not bind the rest of such parties.

Article 53 Where the parties on one side of a joint action is numerous, such parties may recommend a representative or representatives to participate in the action. The litigation conduct of such representatives shall bind all the parties represented; however, to modify or relinquish any claims, admit any claims of the opposing party or reach a settlement, such representatives must obtain a consent from the parties represented.

Article 54 Where the subject matter of action for each party is of the same kind, the parties on one side of an action are numerous, but the exact number of such parties is uncertain when the action is instituted, the people's court may publish a notice to describe the case and claims and notify right holders to register with the people's court within a certain period of time.
The right holders which have registered with the people's court may recommend a representative or representatives to participate in the litigation; and if no representative is recommended, the people's court may determine a representative or representatives in consultation with the right holders which have registered with the people's court.
The litigation conduct of such representatives shall bind all the parties represented; however, to modify or relinquish any claims, admit any claims of the opposing party or reach a settlement, such representatives must obtain a consent from the parties represented.
The judgment or ruling issued by the people's court shall bind all right holders which have registered with the people's court. Such a judgment or ruling shall also apply to actions instituted during the time limitation by rights holders which have not registered with the people's court.

Article 55 For conduct that pollutes environment, infringes upon the lawful rights and interests of vast consumers or otherwise damages the public interest, an authority or relevant organization as prescribed by law may institute an action in a people's court.
Where the people's procuratorate finds in the performance of functions any conduct that undermines the protection of the ecological environment and resources, infringes upon consumers' lawful rights and interests in the field of food and drug safety or any other conduct that damages social interest, it may file a lawsuit with the people's court if there is no authority or organization prescribed in the preceding paragraph or the authority or organization prescribed in the preceding paragraph does not file a lawsuit. If the authority or organization prescribed in the preceding paragraph files a lawsuit, the people's procuratorate may support the filing of a lawsuit.

Article 56 A third party which deems that it has an independent claim regarding the subject matter of an action between two parties shall have the right to institute an action.
Where a third party does not have an independent claim regarding the subject matter of an action between two parties but is an interested party in law to the outcome of the case, the third party may apply to participate in the action or the people's court may notify the third party to participate in the action. If the third party assumes any civil liability according to the judgment entered by the people's court, the third party shall have the procedural rights and obligations as a party to the action.
Where a third party as mentioned in the preceding two paragraphs fails to participate in an action, which is not attributable to the third party's fault, and there is evidence that an effective judgment, ruling or consent judgment is entirely or partially erroneous and causes damage to the third party's civil rights and interests, the third party may, within six months from the day when the third party knows or should have known that the third party's civil rights and interests have been damaged, institute an action in the people's court which entered the judgment, ruling or consent judgment. If, after trial, the third party's claims are supported, the people's court shall modify or revoke the original judgment, ruling or consent judgment; or if the third party's claims are not supported, the claims shall be dismissed.

Section 2 Litigation Representatives

Article 57 The guardian of a person without competency to participate in an action shall participate in the action on behalf of the person as the person's legal representative. If the legal representatives of a person shift their duty of representation onto each other, the people's court shall specify one of them to participate in the action on behalf of the person.

Article 58 A party or a legal representative may retain one or two persons as litigation representatives.
The following persons may serve as a litigation representative:
(1) A lawyer or legal service worker at the basic level.
(2) A close relative or staff member of a party.
(3) A citizen recommended by the community of or the entity employing a party or recommended by a relevant social group.

Article 59 To participate in an action on behalf of a party or a legal representative, a litigation representative must submit to the people's court a power of attorney, to which the signature or seal of the party or legal representative is affixed.
The power of attorney must state the authorized matters and the extent of authority. To admit, relinquish or modify any claims, reach a settlement, or file a counterclaim or an appeal on behalf of a party or a legal representative, a litigation representative must have a special authorization from the party or legal representative.
Where a citizen of the People's Republic of China who is residing in a foreign country posts a power of attorney or delivers through another person a power of attorney to China, the power of attorney must be authenticated by the embassy or consulate of the People's Republic of China in that country. If there is no such an embassy or consulate in that country, the power of attorney shall be first authenticated by an embassy or consulate of a third country which has a diplomatic relationship with the People's Republic of China in that country and then be authenticated by the embassy or consulate of the People's Republic of China in the third country or be authenticated by the local patriotic overseas Chinese organization.

Article 60 Where the authority of a litigation representative of a party has changed or has been revoked, the party shall notify the people's court in writing and the people's court shall notify the opposing party of the change or revocation.

Article 61 Lawyers serving as litigation representatives and other litigation representatives shall have the right to investigate and collect evidence and may consult materials related to the case. The scope of and measures for consulting materials related to a case shall be prescribed by the Supreme People's Court.

Article 62 Where a party to a divorce case has appointed a litigation representative, the party shall still appear in court unless the party is unable to express his or her ideas; and if the party is unable to appear in court under special circumstances, the party must submit a written opinion to the people's court.

CHAPTER 6 Evidence

Article 63 Evidence includes:
(1) statement of a party;
(2) documentary evidence;
(3) physical evidence;
(4) audio-visual recordings;
(5) electronic data;
(6) witness testimony;
(7) expert opinion; and
(8) transcripts of survey.
Evidence must be verified before being used as a basis for deciding a fact.

Article 64 A party shall have the burden to provide evidence for its claims.
A people's court shall investigate and collect evidence which a party and its litigation representative are unable to collect for some objective reasons and evidence which the people's court deems necessary for trying a case.
A people's court shall, under statutory procedures, verify evidence comprehensively and objectively.

Article 65 A party shall provide evidence for its claims in a timely manner.
A people's court shall, according to the claims of a party and the circumstances of trial of a case, determine the evidence to be provided by a party and the time limit for provision of evidence. Where it is difficult for a party to provide evidence within the time limit, the party may apply to the people's court for an extension, and the people's court may appropriately extend the time limit upon application of the party. Where a party provides any evidence beyond the time limit, the people's court shall order the party to provide an explanation; and if the party refuses to explain or the party's explanation is not acceptable, the people's court may, according to different circumstances, deem the evidence inadmissible or adopt the evidence but impose an admonition or a fine on the party.

Article 66 A people's court shall issue receipts for evidentiary materials submitted to the court by a party, indicating the name of evidence, number of pages, number of copies, original or photocopy, time of receipt, and other matters, to which the signatures or seals of the court personnel receiving the same shall be affixed.

Article 67 A people's court shall have the authority to investigate and collect evidence from the relevant entities and individuals, and the relevant entities and individuals shall not refuse such investigation and collection of evidence.
A people's court shall identify the authenticity and examine and determine the validity of documentary evidence provided by the relevant entities and individuals.

Article 68 Evidence shall be presented in court and cross-examined by the parties. Evidence which involves any state secret, trade secret or individual privacy shall be kept confidential, and if it is necessary to present such evidence in court, such evidence shall not be presented in open court.

Article 69 A people's court shall regard legal facts and documents notarized under statutory procedures as a basis for deciding facts, unless there is any evidence to the contrary which suffices to overturn the notarization.

Article 70 The originals as documentary evidence shall be submitted. The originals as physical evidence shall be submitted. If it is difficult to submit the originals, replicas, photographs, copies or extracts may be submitted.
Documentary evidence in a foreign language must be submitted with Chinese versions.

Article 71 The people's court shall identify the authenticity of audio-visual recordings and, in consideration of other evidence in the case, examine and determine whether the audio-visual recordings may serve as a basis for deciding facts.

Article 72 Any entity or individual which knows any circumstances of a case shall have the obligation to testify in court. The person in charge of a relevant entity shall support a witness in testifying.
A person who is unable to appropriately express his or her ideas shall not testify.

Article 73 Upon notice by a people's court, a witness shall testify in court. Under any of the following circumstances, a witness may testify by written testimony, audio-visual transmission technology, audio-visual recordings or any other means as permitted by a people's court:
(1) The witness is unable to appear in court for health reasons.
(2) The witness is unable to appear in court for remote residence and travel difficulty.
(3) The witness is unable to appear in court for a force majeure such as a natural disaster.
(4) The witness is unable to appear in court for any other justifiable reason.

Article 74 The travel, room and board, and other necessary expenses of a witness for performing his or her obligation of testifying in court, as well as loss of working time, shall be assumed by the losing party. A party which applies for a witness to testify shall advance the same; or if no party applies and the people's court notifies a witness to testify, the people's court shall advance the same.

Article 75 A people's court shall, in consideration of other evidence in the case, examine and determine whether the statements of a party may serve as a basis for deciding facts.
The deciding of facts of a case by a people's court based on evidence shall not be affected by a party's refusal to provide a statement.

Article 76 A party may apply to the people's court for identification regarding a specialized issue for ascertaining the facts of a case. Where a party applies for identification, the parties on both sides shall determine a qualified identification expert by consultation; or if such consultation fails, the people's court shall specify one for them.
Where no party applies for identification but the people's court deems it necessary to conduct identification regarding a specialized issue, the people's court shall employ a qualified identification expert to conduct identification.

Article 77 An identification expert shall have the right to access the case file needed for conducting identification and, when necessary, may interview a party or a witness.
An identification expert shall issue a written identification opinion and affix his or her signature or seal to the identification document.

Article 78 Where a party raises any objection to an identification opinion or a people's court deems it necessary to require an identification expert to testify in court, the identification expert shall testify in court. If, upon notice by the people's court, the identification expert refuses to testify in court, the identification opinion shall not be used as a basis for deciding facts; and the party which has paid the identification fees may require that the identification fees be refunded.

Article 79 A party may apply to the people's court for notifying a person with expertise to appear in court to offer an opinion regarding an identification opinion issued by an identification expert or regarding a specialized issue.

Article 80 When surveying any physical evidence or a site, the surveyors must produce their credentials issued by a people's court and invite the local grassroots organization or the entity employing a party to send personnel to participate in the survey. The party or an adult family member of the party shall be present; and the survey shall not be affected by the refusal of the party or the adult family member to appear on site.
Upon notice by the people's court, the relevant entities and individuals shall have the obligations to protect the site and assist in the survey.
The surveyors shall prepare transcripts of the process and results of survey, to which the surveyors, the party and the invited participants shall affix their signatures or seals.

Article 81 Where any evidence may be extinguished or may be hard to obtain at a later time, a party may, in the course of an action, apply to the people's court for evidence preservation, and the people's court may also take preservation measures on its own initiative.
Where any evidence may be extinguished or may be hard to obtain at a later time, if the circumstances are urgent, an interested party may, before instituting an action or applying for arbitration, apply for evidence preservation to a people's court at the place where the evidence is located or at the place of domicile of the respondent or a people's court having jurisdiction over the case.
Other procedures for evidence preservation shall be executed by reference to the relevant provisions of Chapter IX of this Law regarding preservation.

CHAPTER 7 Periods and Service of Process
Section 1 Periods

Article 82 Periods include statutory periods and periods prescribed by a people's court.
Periods shall be calculated by hour, day, month and year. The beginning hour and day of a period shall not be counted in the period.
If the expiration date of a period falls on a holiday, the first day after the holiday shall be the expiration date of the period.
A statutory period shall not include the time en route. A litigation document posted before the expiration date of a period shall not be regarded as past due.

[Note:“Holiday” in Article 82 is replaced with “legal holiday”.]

Article 83 Where a party fails to comply with a period for reasons beyond the party's control or for any other justifiable reasons, the party may apply for an extension of the period within ten days after the impediment is eliminated, and the people's court shall decide whether to permit such an extension.

Section 2 Service of Process

Article 84 Service of process must be accompanied with a service acknowledgement, to which the person to be served shall affix a date of receipt and his or her signature or seal.
The date of receipt affixed to the service acknowledgement by the person to be served shall be the date of service.

Article 85 Process shall be served directly on the person to be served. If the person to be served, who is a citizen, is absent, a cohabiting adult family member of the person to be served shall sign for the service of process. If the person to be served is a legal person or any other organization, the legal representative of the legal person, the primary person in charge of the organization or the employee of the legal person or organization responsible for receiving process shall sign for the service of process. If the person to be served has a litigation representative, the litigation representative may sign for the service of process. If the person to be served has informed the people's court of a designated person to receive process, the designated person shall sign for the service of process.
The date of receipt affixed to the service acknowledgment by the cohabiting adult family member of the person to be served, the employee of the legal person or organization responsible for receiving process, the litigation representative or the designated person to receive process shall be the date of service.

Article 86 Where the person to be served refuses to receive or his or her cohabiting adult family member refuses to receive process, the process server may invite the representatives of relevant grassroots organizations or the entity employing the person to be served to be present, provide an explanation on the refusal, record the cause of refusal and date on the service acknowledgement, to which the process server and witnesses shall affix their signatures or seals, and drop process at the domicile of the person to be served; and may also drop process at the domicile of the person to be served and record the service of process by photograph, video and other means, and process shall be deemed served.

Article 87 With the consent of the person to be served, a people's court may serve process by fax, email and other means capable of confirming receipt by the person to be served, except a judgment, ruling and consent judgment.
Where a means in the preceding paragraph is adopted, the date when a fax, an email or any other means reaches the specific system of the person to be served shall be the date of service of process.

[Note:Article 87 is renumbered as Article 90 and amended to read: “With the consent of the person on whom a litigation document is to be served, a people's court may serve the litigation document by electronic means through which the receipt of the document can be confirmed. With respect to a judgment, ruling or consent judgment served by electronic means, if the person on whom it is served requests a paper document, the people's court shall provide such paper document.
“Where a litigation document is served in the manner set out in the preceding paragraph, the date when the information to be served reaches the system designated by the person on whom it is served shall be the date of service.”]

Article 88 Where direct service of process is difficult, service of process may be entrusted to another people's court or be conducted by post. If process is served by post, the date of receipt stated on the service acknowledgement shall be the date of service.

Article 89 Where the person to be served is in the military service, process shall be served on the person through the political office of the unit at or above the regiment level of the armed force where the person serves.

Article 90 Where the person to be served is incarcerated, process shall be served on the person through the incarceration facility.
Where the person to be served is subject to any compulsory correctional measure, process shall be served on the person through the compulsory correctional facility.

Article 91 The office or entity through which process is served must, immediately after receiving process, deliver the same to the person to be served, the person to be served shall sign for the service of process, and the date of receipt on the service acknowledgement shall be the date of service.

Article 92 Where the whereabouts of the person to be served is unknown or service of process is not possible by other means set out in this Section, process may be served by public announcement. Process shall be deemed served sixty days after the date of public announcement.
The reasons for and the course of service of process by public announcement shall be recorded in the case file.

[Note:Article 92 is renumbered as Article 95, paragraph 1 of which is amended to read: “Where the whereabouts of the person on whom a litigation document is to be served are unknown, or if a litigation document cannot be served by any other means set out in this Section, the document shall be served by publication. The document shall be deemed to have been served 30 days after the publication.”]

CHAPTER 8 Mediation

Article 93 When trying civil cases, a people's court shall, under the principle of free will of the parties, conduct mediation by distinguishing between right and wrong based on clear facts.

Article 94 When a people's court conducts mediation, mediation may be conducted by one judge or by the collegial bench, and mediation shall be conducted on the spot as much as possible.
When a people's court conducts mediation, it may notify by simple means the parties and witnesses to appear in court.

Article 95 When a people's court conducts mediation, it may invite relevant entities and individuals to provide assistance. The invited entities and individuals shall assist the people's court in mediation.

Article 96 A mediation agreement must be based on the free will of both sides, and the parties shall not be forced to reach a mediation agreement. The content of a mediation agreement shall not violate any legal provisions.

Article 97 When a mediation agreement is reached, the people's court shall prepare a consent judgment. A consent judgment shall state the claims, facts of the case and results of mediation.
The judges and court clerk shall affix their signatures and the people's court shall affix its seal to a consent judgment, which shall be served on both sides.
Once a consent judgment is signed by both sides, it shall become legally binding.

Article 98 A consent judgment of a people's court is not required for mediation agreements reached in the following cases:
(1) Divorce cases where both parties have reconciled through mediation.
(2) Adoption cases where an adoptive relationship has been maintained through mediation.
(3) Cases where performance on the spot is possible.
(4) Other cases where a consent judgment is not required.
A mediation agreement which does not require a consent judgment shall be recorded in the transcripts and become legally binding immediately after both sides and the judges and court clerk affix their signatures or seals to the transcripts.

Article 99 Where no mediation agreement is reached or one party retracts before a mediation agreement is served on the party, the people's court shall enter a judgment in a timely manner.

CHAPTER 9 Preservation and Advance Enforcement

Article 100 For a case where, for the conduct of a party or for other reasons, it may be difficult to execute a judgment or any other damage may be caused to a party, a people's court may, upon application of the opposing party, issue a ruling on preservation of the party's property, order certain conduct of the party or prohibit the party from certain conduct; and if no party applies, the people's court may, when necessary, issue a ruling to take a preservative measure.
A people's court may order the applicant to provide security for taking a preservative measure and, if the applicant fails to provide security, shall issue a ruling to dismiss the application.
After accepting an application, a people's court must, if the circumstances are urgent, issue a ruling within 48 hours; and if it rules to take a preservative measure, the measure shall be executed immediately.

Article 101 Where the lawful rights and interests of an interested party will be irreparable damaged if an application for preservation is not filed immediately under urgent circumstances, the interested party may, before instituting an action or applying for arbitration, apply to the people's court at the place where the property to be preserved is located or at the place of domicile of the respondent or a people's court having jurisdiction over the case for taking preservative measures. The applicant shall provide security and, if the applicant fails to provide security, the people's court shall issue a ruling to dismiss the application.
After accepting an application, a people's court must issue a ruling within 48 hours; and if it rules to take a preservative measure, the measure shall be executed immediately.
Where the applicant fails to institute an action or apply for arbitration in accordance with law within 30 days after the people's court takes a preservative measure, the people's court shall remove preservation.

Article 102 Preservation shall be limited to the extent specified in an application or the property in connection with the case.

Article 103 Property shall be preserved by seizure, impoundment, freezing of account or any other means prescribed by law. After preserving any property, a people's court shall immediately notify the person whose property is preserved.
Property which has already been seized or frozen shall not be repeatedly seized or frozen.

Article 104 Where, in a property dispute case, the respondent has provided security, the people's court shall issue a ruling to remove preservation.

Article 105 Where an application is erroneous, the applicant shall compensate the respondent for any loss incurred from preservation.

Article 106 A people's court may, upon application of a party, issue a ruling on advance enforcement for the following cases:
(1) Cases to recover support for elderly parents, support for other adult dependants, child support, consolation money or medical expenses.
(2) Cases to recover labor remuneration.
(3) Cases requiring advance enforcement under urgent circumstances.

[Note:“Support for children” in Article 106 is replaced with “child support”.]

Article 107 For a people's court to issue a ruling on advance enforcement, both of the following conditions shall be met:
(1)The rights and obligations between the parties are clear, and a denial of advance enforcement will seriously affect the life or business operation of the applicant.
(2)The respondent is capable of performance.
The people's court may order the applicant to provide security; and if the applicant fails to provide security, shall dismiss the application. If the applicant loses the action, the applicant shall compensate the respondent for any property loss incurred from advance enforcement.

Article 108 Against a ruling on preservation or advance enforcement, a party may apply for reconsideration once. The enforcement of the ruling shall not be suspended during the period of reconsideration.

CHAPTER 10 Compulsory Measures against Obstruction of Civil Procedures

Article 109 Where a defendant who must appear in court refuses to appear in court without justifiable reasons after being summonsed twice by a people's court, the people's court may summons the defendant by force.

Article 110 Litigation participants and other persons shall abide by court rules.
A people's court may admonish persons who violate court rules, order such persons to leave the court, or impose a fine or detention on such persons.
For persons who clamor in a courtroom, attack a courtroom, or insult, defame, threaten or assault judges, seriously disrupting the order of the courtroom, the people's court shall investigate their criminal liability in accordance with law; or if the circumstances are not serious, impose a fine or detention on them.

Article 111 Where a litigation participant or any other person commits any of the following conduct, the people's court may impose a fine or detention on the litigation participant or person according to the severity of the circumstances; and if suspected of any crime, the litigation participant or person shall be subject to criminal liability in accordance with law.
(1) Forging or destroying any material evidence, which obstructs the trial of the case by the people's court.
(2) Preventing a witness from testifying by violence, threat or bribery or instigating, bribing or coercing any other person to commit perjury.
(3) Concealing, transferring, selling or destroying any seized or impounded property or any inventoried property under the custody of the litigation participant or person as ordered or transferring any frozen property.
(4) Insulting, defaming, falsely incriminating, assaulting or retaliating any judge, primary litigation participant, witness, interpreter, identification expert, surveyor or person assisting in enforcement.
(5) Obstructing judicial personnel from performing their duties by violence, threat or any other means.
(6) Refusing to execute any effective judgment or ruling of a people's court.
Where an entity commits any of the conduct in the preceding paragraph, the people's court may impose a fine or detention on the primary person in charge or directly liable persons of the entity; and if suspected of any crime, such persons shall be subject to criminal liability in accordance with law.

Article 112 Where the parties, maliciously in collusion, attempt to infringe upon the lawful rights and interests of other persons by litigation, mediation or any other means, a people's court shall dismiss their claims and impose a fine or detention on the parties according to the severity of the circumstances; and if suspected of any crime, they shall be subject to criminal liability in accordance with law.

Article 113 Where the party against whom enforcement is sought, maliciously in collusion with other persons, evades performance of obligations determined in a legal instrument by litigation, arbitration, mediation or any other means, a people's court shall impose a fine or detention on them according to the severity of the circumstances; and if suspected of any crime, they shall be subject to criminal liability.

Article 114 Where an entity with an obligation to assist in investigation or enforcement commits any of the following conduct, the people's court may, in addition to ordering the entity to perform the obligation of assistance, impose a fine on the entity:
(1) The relevant entity refuses or obstructs investigation or collection of evidence by the people's court.
(2) The relevant entity refuses to assist in property inquiry, seizure, freezing, transfer or sale, after receiving a notice of enforcement assistance from the people's court.
(3) The relevant entity refuses to assist in withholding the income of the party against whom enforcement is sought, handling the transfer of a relevant property right certificate, or delivering a relevant bill, certificate or license or any other relevant property, after receiving a notice of enforcement assistance from the people's court.
(4) The relevant entity otherwise refuses to assist in enforcement.
Where an entity commits any of the conduct in the preceding paragraph, the people's court may impose a fine on the primary person in charge or directly liable persons of the entity; and if the entity still fails to perform its obligation to provide assistance, may detain such persons and offer judicial recommendations to the supervisory authority or other relevant authorities regarding disciplinary actions against such persons.

Article 115 The amount of a fine on an individual shall not be more than 100,000 yuan. The amount of a fine on an entity shall not be less than 50,000 yuan but not be more than 1 million yuan.
The period of detention shall not be longer than 15 days.
A people's court shall deliver a detainee to a public security authority for custody. If the detainee admits and corrects his or her wrongdoing during the period of detention, the people's court may decide to discharge the detainee early.

Article 116 A summons by force, a fine or detention must subject to the approval of the president of a people's court.
A warrant shall be issued for a summons by force.
A written decision shall be made to impose a fine or detention. Against such a decision, a party may apply to the people's court at the next higher level for reconsideration once. The enforcement of the decision shall not be suspended during the period of reconsideration.

Article 117 Any compulsory measure against obstruction of civil procedures must be taken upon decision of a people's court. Any entity or individual which recovers a debt by illegally withholding another person against the person's will or illegally seizing another person's property shall be subject to criminal liability in accordance with law or subject to detention or a fine.

CHAPTER 11 Litigation Expenses

Article 118 A party instituting a civil action shall pay a case acceptance fee according to the relevant provisions. In property cases, a party shall pay other litigation expenses, in addition to a case acceptance fee.
Where it is difficult for a party to pay any litigation expenses, the party may, according to the relevant provisions, apply to the people's court for payment postponement, reduction or waiver.
Procedures for collection of litigation expenses shall be formulated separately.

Part TWO Trial Procedure
CHAPTER 12 Formal Procedure at First Instance
Section 1 Instituting and Accepting an Action

Article 119 An action to be instituted must meet all of the following conditions:
(1) The plaintiff is a citizen, legal person or any other organization with a direct interest in the case.
(2) There is a clear defendant.
(3) There are specific claims, facts and reasons.
(4) The case is within the scope of civil actions accepted by the people's courts and under the jurisdiction of the people's court in which the action is instituted.

Article 120 A plaintiff shall submit a written complaint to the people's court and provide copies of it according to the number of defendants.
Where it is difficult for a plaintiff to write a complaint, the plaintiff may institute an action verbally, and the people's court shall record it in the transcripts and notify the opposing party.

Article 121 A written complaint shall state:
(1) the name, gender, age, ethnicity, occupation, employer, domicile and contact methods of the plaintiff; or the name and domicile of a legal person or any other organization and the name, title and contact methods of the legal representative or primary person in charge thereof;
(2) information on the defendant, including but not limited to name, gender, employer and domicile; and information on a legal person or any other organization, including but not limited to name and domicile;
(2) claims and supporting facts and reasons; and
(3) evidence, sources of evidence, and names and domiciles of witnesses.

Article 122 Where mediation is appropriate for the civil dispute involved in an action instituted by a party in a people's court, mediation shall be conducted first, unless the parties refuse mediation.

Article 123 A people's court shall protect the right to sue enjoyed by a party in accordance with law. A people's court must accept an action instituted under Article 119 of this Law. A people's court shall, within seven days, docket a case which meets the conditions for instituting an action and notify the party; or issue a ruling within seven days to refuse to accept an action which fails to meet the conditions for instituting an action, and the plaintiff may appeal against the ruling.

Article 124 A people's court shall handle the following actions according to different circumstances:
(1) Notifying the plaintiff to file an administrative lawsuit, if the case is within the scope of administrative lawsuits in accordance with the Administrative Litigation Law.
(2) Notifying the plaintiff to apply to an arbitral institution for arbitration, if, in accordance with law, both parties shall apply for arbitration under a written arbitration agreement reached between them and are prohibited from instituting an action in a people's court.
(3) Notifying the plaintiff to apply to a relevant authority for settlement of a dispute, if, in accordance with law, the dispute shall be handled by other authorities.
(4) Notifying the plaintiff to institute an action in a people's court having jurisdiction, if the case is not within its jurisdiction.
(5) Notifying the plaintiff to petition for retrial, except for a ruling of a people's court which allows withdrawal of an action, if a party institutes an action again for a case for which a judgment, ruling or consent judgment has come into force.
(6) Refusing to accept an action instituted during a period of prohibition from instituting an action, if, in accordance with law, the action shall not be instituted during a certain period.
(7) Refusing to accept an action instituted by the plaintiff without new developments or new reasons within six months for a divorce case where dissolution of marriage is not granted by a judgment or both parties have reconciled through mediation or for a case where an adoptive relationship is maintained by a judgment or through mediation.

Section 2 Pretrial Preparations

Article 125 A people's court shall, within five days after docketing a case, serve a copy of the written complaint on the defendant, and the defendant shall submit a written statement of defense within 15 days after receiving the complaint. The written statement of defense shall state the name, gender, age, ethnicity, occupation, employer, domicile and contact methods of the defendant; or the name and domicile of a legal person or any other organization and the name, title and contact methods of the legal representative or primary person in charge thereof. The people's court shall, within five days after receiving the written statement of defense, serve a copy of it on the plaintiff.
The defendant's failure to submit a written statement of defense shall not affect the trial of the case by the people's court.

Article 126 After deciding to accept a case, a people's court shall notify the parties, verbally or in a notice of case acceptance or a notice of response to an action, of their relevant procedural rights and obligations.

Article 127 Where a party raises any objection to jurisdiction after a case is accepted by a people's court, the party shall file the objection with the people's court during the period of submitting a written statement of defense. The people's court shall examine the objection. If the objection is supported, the people's court shall issue a ruling to transfer the case to the people's court having jurisdiction; or if the objection is not supported, the people's court shall issue a ruling to dismiss the objection.
Where a party raises no objection to jurisdiction and responds to the action by submitting a written statement of defense, the people's court accepting the action shall be deemed to have jurisdiction, unless the provisions regarding hierarchical jurisdiction and exclusive jurisdiction are violated.

Article 128 The parties shall be notified of the composition of a collegial bench within three days after the composition is determined.

[Note:“Members of the collegial panel” in Article 128 is replaced with “judges”.]

Article 129 Judges must carefully examine case materials and investigate and collect necessary evidence.

Article 130 The personnel assigned by a people's court to conduct investigation shall produce their credentials to the person under investigation.
The investigation transcripts shall be checked by the person under investigation and be signed or sealed by the person under investigation and the investigators.

Article 131 A people's court may, when necessary, entrust investigation to a people's court in a different place.
The entrusting people's court must specify the investigated matters and the investigation requirements. The entrusted people's court may conduct additional investigation on its own initiative.
The entrusted people's court shall complete investigation within 30 days after receiving a letter on entrusted investigation. If the entrusted people's court is unable to complete investigation for certain reasons, it shall notify the entrusting people's court in a letter within the aforesaid period.

Article 132 Where a party who must participate in a joint action fails to participate in the action, the people's court shall notify the party to participate in the action.

Article 133 A people's court shall handle accepted cases according to different circumstances:
(1) Initiating the procedure for urging debt repayment at the court's discretion, if the parties are not in dispute and the prescribed conditions are met for initiating the procedure for urging debt repayment.
(2) Resolving disputes in a timely manner through mediation, if pre-trial mediation is allowed.
(3) Determining the application of summary procedure or formal procedure according to the circumstances of a case.
(4) Clarifying the focus of disputes by requiring the parties to exchange evidence and other means, if it is necessary to hold a court session.

Section 3 Court Trial

Article 134 A people's court shall try civil cases openly, except those involving any state secret or individual privacy or as otherwise provided by law.
Divorce cases and cases involving any trade secret may be tried in camera upon application of the parties.

Article 135 A people's court may, as needed, try civil cases in a circuit manner and on the spot.

Article 136 A people's court shall notify the parties and other litigation participants of the trial of a civil case three days before holding a court session. If the case is to be tried openly, the names of parties, cause of action, and time and location of court session shall be published.

Article 137 Before a court session begins, the court clerk shall check whether the parties and other litigation participants are present and announce court rules.
When a court session begins, the presiding judge shall check the identity of each party, announce the cause of action, announce the names of judges and court clerk, notify the parties of their relevant procedural rights and obligations, and ask the parties whether they file any requests for disqualification.

[Note:“Presiding judge” in Article 137 is replaced with “presiding judge or single judge”.]

Article 138 Court investigation shall be conducted in the following order:
(1) The parties each present a statement.
(2) Witnesses are notified of their rights and obligations, witnesses testify, and the statements of absent witnesses are read.
(3) Documentary evidence, physical evidence, audio-visual recordings, and electronic data are adduced.
(4) Expert opinions are read.
(5) Transcripts of survey are read.

Article 139 The parties may adduce new evidence in court.
As permitted by the court, a party may question a witness, identification expert or surveyor.
A party's request for reinvestigation, re-identification or resurvey shall be subject to the decision of the people's court.

Article 140 The added claims of a plaintiff, the counterclaim of a defendant, and a third party's claims related to the case may be tried concurrently.

Article 141 Court debate shall be conducted in the following order:
(1) The plaintiff and the litigation representative thereof present their case.
(2) The defendant and the litigation representative thereof present their arguments.
(3) A third party and the litigation representative thereof present their case or their arguments.
(4) Debate among the parties.
At the end of court debate, the presiding judge shall ask each side's final statement in the order of plaintiff, defendant and third party.

[Note:“Presiding judge” in Article 141 is replaced with “presiding judge or single judge”.]

Article 142 After the end of court debate, a judgment shall be entered in accordance with law. Where mediation is possible before a judgment is entered, mediation may be conducted; and if mediation fails, a judgment shall be entered in a timely manner.

Article 143 Where a plaintiff refuses to appear in court without justifiable reasons after being summonsed or leaves the courtroom during a court session without permission from the court, the court may deem that the plaintiff has withdrawn the action; and if the defendant has filed a counterclaim, the court may enter a default judgment.

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