Several Issues concerning the Application of Law in the Trial of Cases Involving Food and Drug Disputes

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Provisions of the Supreme People's Court on Several Issues concerning the Application of Law in the Trial of Cases Involving Food and Drug Disputes


· Document Number:Interpretation No. 28 [2013] of the Supreme People's Court

· Area of Law: Health and Sanitation

· Level of Authority: Judicial Interpretation

· Date issued:12-23-2013

· Effective Date:03-15-2014

· Status: Effective

· Issuing Authority: Supreme People's Court

 

Announcement of the Supreme People's Court
The Provisions of the Supreme People's Court on Several Issues concerning the Application of Law in the Trial of Cases Involving Food and Drug Disputes, as adopted at the 1,599th meeting of the Judicial Committee of the Supreme People's Court on December 9, 2013, are hereby issued and shall come into force on March 15, 2014.
Supreme People's Court
December 23, 2013
Provisions of the Supreme People's Court on Several Issues concerning the Application of Law in the Trial of Cases Involving Food and Drug Disputes
(Adopted at the 1,599th meeting of the Judicial Committee of the Supreme People's Court on December 9, 2013, Interpretation No. 28 [2013] of the Supreme People's Court)
To correctly try cases involving food and drug disputes, these Provisions are formulated in accordance with the Tort Law of the People's Republic of China, the Contract Law of the People's Republic of China, the Law of the People's Republic of China on Protection of Consumers' Rights and Interests, the Food Safety Law of the People's Republic of China, the Civil Procedure Law of the People's Republic of China and other laws, and in consideration of trial practice.
Article 1 When consumers file civil lawsuits involving food and drug disputes and the conditions for acceptance as prescribed in the Civil Procedure Law are satisfied, the people's courts shall accept the cases.
Article 2 Where quality problems with food and drugs cause damages to consumers, consumers may sue sellers and manufacturers separately or jointly.
Where a consumer only sues the seller or the manufacturer, the people's court may add relevant parties to the action if necessary.
Article 3 Where, in a dispute arising out of quality problems with food or a drug, the buyer files a claim against the manufacturer or the seller, and the manufacturer or the seller argues that the buyer purchased the food or the drug knowing that it had quality problems, the people's court shall not support the argument.
Article 4 Where free samples of food or a drug that the manufacturer or seller of the food or drug provides to consumers have quality or safety problems, causing damages to a consumer, the consumer files a claim, but the manufacturer or seller argues exemption from liability on the ground that the consumer fails to pay consideration for the samples, the people's court shall not support the argument.
Article 5 Where a consumer adduces evidence to prove the fact of purchase of food or a drug and failure of the purchased food or drug to comply with the terms of the contract, and requests that the manufacturer and seller of the food or drug assume liability for breach of contract, the people's court shall support the request.
Where a consumer adduces evidence to prove that he or she suffers damages due to consumption of food or a drug, makes a preliminary showing that that a causal relationship exists between the damages and the consumption of food or drug, and requests that the manufacturer and seller of the food or drug assume tort liability, the people's court shall support the request, unless the manufacturer and seller of the food or drug prove that the damages are not caused by the product's non-compliance with quality standards.
Article 6 A food manufacturer or seller shall bear the burden of proof for whether the food complies with quality standards. National standards shall serve as the basis for determining whether the food satisfies quality standards. Where there are no national standards, local standards shall serve as the basis. Where there are no national or local standards, corporate standards shall serve as the basis. Where the standards adopted by a food manufacturer are higher than national and local standards, the corporate standards shall serve as the basis. Where no aforesaid standards are available, the relevant provisions of the food safety law shall serve as the basis.
Article 7 Where, in spite of proof that the food or drug has passed inspection prior to sale, and its consumption within the shelf life, the product is confirmed as unsatisfactory upon inspection, and the manufacturer or seller argues that there is proof that the food or drug has passed inspection, the people's court shall not support the argument.
Article 8 Where a sponsor of a centralized trading market, a counter lessor or a fair organizer fails to perform examination, inspection, management or other obligations as prescribed in the food safety law, resulting in a food safety accident and causing personal injuries to a consumer, and the consumer requests that the sponsor of the centralized trading market, the counter lessor or the fair organizer assume joint and several liability, the people's court shall support the request.
Article 9 Where a consumer purchases food or a drug through an online trading platform and suffers damages, the provider of the online trading platform fails to provide the real name, address and valid contact information of the manufacturer or seller of the food or drug, and the consumer requests that the provider of the online trading platform assume liability, the people's court shall support the request.
Where the provider of the online trading platform assumes liability for compensation and exercises its right of recourse against the manufacturer or seller, the people's court shall support the claim.
Where the provider of the online trading platform knows or should have known that the manufacturer or seller of the food or drug infringes upon a consumer's legal rights and interests by taking advantage of the platform but fails to adopt necessary measures, causing damages to the consumer, and the consumer requests that the provider assume joint and several liability with the manufacturer or seller, the people's court shall support the request.
Article 10 Where an individual, enterprise or other organization unqualified for food manufacture or sale affiliates itself with a manufacturer or seller with the relevant qualification, manufacturing or selling food and causing damages to a consumer, and the consumer requests that the party affiliating itself and the affiliated party assume joint and several liability, the people's court shall support the request.
Where the consumer only sues the party affiliating itself or the affiliated party, the people's court may add relevant parties to the action if necessary.
Article 11 Where a consumer suffers damages due to quality problems with the food or drug recommended in a false advertisement, and requests that the advertising agent and advertising publisher assume joint and several liability in accordance with the relevant provisions of the law on the protection of consumer rights and interests and other laws, the people's court shall support the request.
Where a social group, other organization or an individual recommends food or a drug to consumers in a false advertisement, causing damages to a consumer, and the consumer requests that it assume joint and several liability in accordance with the relevant provisions of the law on the protection of consumer rights and interests and other laws with the manufacturer and seller of the food or drug, the people's court shall support the request.
Article 12 Where a food and drug inspection institution intentionally issues a false inspection report, causing damages to a consumer, and the consumer requests that the institution assume joint and several liability, the people's court shall support the request.
Where a food and drug inspection institution negligently issues a false inspection report, causing damages to a consumer, and the consumer requests that the institution assume the relevant liability, the people's court shall support the request.
Article 13 Where a food certification institution intentionally issues a false certification, causing damages to a consumer, and the consumer requests that the institution assume joint and several liability, the people's court shall support the request.
Where a food certification institution negligently issues a false certification, causing damages to a consumer, and the consumer requests that the institution assume the relevant liability, the people's court shall support the request.
Article 14 Where the food or drug manufactured and sold presents quality problems, the manufacturer and seller shall assume civil, administrative and criminal liabilities concurrently. Where their assets are not sufficient for compensation, and the party requests that the manufacturer and seller of the food or drug assume civil liability first in accordance with the tort liability law and other relevant laws, the people's court shall support the request.
Article 15 For manufacture of food which does not meet the safety standards or sale of food with the knowledge that it does not meet the safety standards, where, in addition to compensation of loss, the consumer claims an amount of compensation from the manufacturer or the seller which is ten times the payment or requests compensation in accordance with other compensation standards as prescribed by law, the people's court shall support the request.
Article 16 Where the manufacturer and seller of food or a drug eliminate or limit consumers' rights, reduce the business operator's liability or exempt the business operator from liability, increase consumers' responsibilities, or set out other provisions that are unfair or unreasonable to consumers by a standard form contract, notice, statement, announcement or other means, and a consumer requests that the court deem the contents as void in accordance with law, the people's court shall support the request.
Article 17 These Provisions shall apply to disputes between consumers and manufacturers, sellers, advertising agents, advertising publishers, recommenders, inspection institutions of cosmetics, health products and other products or other parties by reference.
Where a consumers' association files a public interests lawsuit in accordance with law, these Provisions shall apply by reference.
Article 18 Upon the implementation of these Provisions, these Provisions shall apply to first-instance and second-instance cases that are being tried by the people's courts.
Where a case is closed before the implementation of these Provisions, but a party applies for a retrial or it is decided that the case shall be retried in accordance with the trial supervision procedures after the implementation of these Provisions, these Provisions shall not apply.