Protecting the Lawful Rights and Interests of Women, Children and Elderly People

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  • Document NumberNo. 57 [2012] of the Supreme People’s Court
  • Area of Law Civil Litigation Civil Law
  • Level of Authority Documents of Judicial Interpretation Nature
  • Date issued02-28-2012
  • Effective Date02-28-2012
  • Issuing Authority Supreme People's Court
  • Status Effective

Notice of the Supreme People's Court on Maximizing the Role of Civil Trials and Legally Protecting the Lawful Rights and Interests of Women, Children and Elderly People
(No. 57 [2012] of the Supreme People's Court)
The higher people's courts of all provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government; the Military Court of the People's Liberation Army; and the Production and Construction Corps Branch of the Higher People's Court of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region:
The year 2012 is a significant transitional year for the implementation of the “Twelfth Five-Year Plan” and also the year in which the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China will be held. The people's courts' civil trials will shoulder greater responsibilities with respect to guaranteeing the people's livelihood and maintaining social harmony, stability and development. In order to respond to the requirements of civil trials under the current situation, we have formulated the following notice on maximizing the role of civil trials and legally protecting the lawful rights and interests of women, children and elderly people:
I. Properly trying cases regarding marriage and family disputes and maintaining harmony and stability of familial relationships. We shall fully apprehend the crucial significance of the proper trial of cases regarding marriage and family disputes and comprehensively and accurately understand and master the substance, spirit and essence of the Marriage Law and other relevant judicial interpretations, which are not to be understood mechanically or applied in isolation. For issues that involve the determination of property ownership and the division of community property, we shall, according to the Marriage Law and its judicial interpretations, legally protect the lawful rights and interests of the parties, particularly women, children and elderly people.
II. In the trial of cases regarding marriage and family disputes, advocating socialist marriage and family views featuring equality between men and women, mutual loyalty between husband and wife, respect for the elderly, protection of the young, and harmony and civility. In judgments, we shall take the clear stance to negatively appraise acts regarding marriage and the family that violate the law and socialist morality and damage the lawful rights and interests of women, children and elderly people, such as domestic violence, cohabitation between a married person and a third person, maltreatment and abandonment of children and failure to support the elderly, and promote the building of a socialist spiritual civilization and the carrying forward of good morality.
III. Positively promoting innovation in civil trial mechanisms. Where conditions permit, the basic-level people's courts may establish a collegial panel for the protection of women's rights within the court's first civil tribunal to try cases regarding marriage and family disputes that involve the rights and interests of women and children in a timely manner. We shall conscientiously research and explore the duties and work methods of the collegial panel for the protection of women's rights and continually summarize experience. We shall, under the guidance of the Several Opinions on Establishing a Sound Conflict and Dispute Resolution Mechanism that Connects Litigation and Non-Litigation and, by adopting a variety of flexible means, strengthen the liaison and cooperation with women's federations, people's mediation committees and other relevant organizations, mobilize forces at multiple levels and from multiple departments to participate in the mediation work of cases regarding marriage and family disputes, create resultant forces to resolve social contradictions, and work hard to protect the lawful rights and interests of women, children and the elderly and to resolve contradictions.
IV. The people's court at a higher level shall strengthen its guidance to the people's court at a lower level in the trial of cases regarding marriage and family disputes. We shall, on the basis of study, publicity and implementation of the Marriage Law and the relevant judicial interpretations, focus on both trials and investigations and surveys, summarize new circumstances and new problems occurring in the trial work in a timely manner, and pertinently propose new solutions. We shall attach great importance to preventing the intensification of contradictions arising from cases regarding marriage and family disputes, voluntarily strengthen the communication and coordination with the relevant departments and the media, and strive to resolve contradictions from the outset.
February 28, 2012