China Supreme Court Opinions on Cases with Foreign Elements Involving COVID 19 Epidemic (3)
In order to properly handle cases involving COVID-19 foreign-related commercial and maritime disputes in accordance with the law, equally protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese and foreign parties, and create a more stable, fair, transparent and predictable business environment under the rule of law, the following guidelines are proposed in accordance with relevant laws and judicial interpretations and in light of trial practice experience.
1.When Foreign enterprises or organizations need to submit proof of identity documents or representatives to participate in the litigation to the people's court, because of the outbreak or epidemic prevention and control measures fail to do notarization, authentication or relevant proving formalities, they can apply for an extension and the court shall, in accordance with the law, to allow, and in combination with the practical situation of cases determine to extend a reasonable time.
If a power of attorney mailed or entrusted from outside the territory of China by a foreigner, stateless person, foreign enterprise or organization without domicile in the territory of China, who applies for a delay in submission due to the epidemic situation or the prevention and control measures against the COVID-19, the people's court shall handle the matter in accordance with the provisions of the preceding paragraph.
II.About litigation evidences
2.If a party applies for an extension of the time limit for proof on the grounds that it is unable to provide evidence within the original time limit due to the epidemic situation or the epidemic prevention and control measures, the people's court shall require it to explain the basic information such as the form, content and object of the evidence to be collected and provided.If the reasons are justified after examination, permission shall be granted, the time limit for producing evidence shall be extended appropriately, and other parties shall be notified.The extended time limit for proof shall apply to other parties.
When the documentary evidences formed outside of China and presented by one of the parties cannot be notarized or authenticated in time because of the outbreak or epidemic prevention and control measures, if the other party only raises any objection for notarization or relevant identification procedures, the people's court may inform it to comment on the relevance of evidence, probative value, etc. while reserving the dissent.
If, after cross-examination, it is found that the above official documents are not related to the facts to be proved, or it is impossible to prove the facts to be proved even if they meet the requirements of certification procedures, the people's court shall not grant an application by the party providing the evidence to extend the time limit for producing evidence.
III.About statute of limitation, period
4.When one party has no domicile within the territory in China and can't submit pleadings or appeal because of the outbreak or epidemic prevention and control measures in statutory period, then he or she applies for extension according to Article 268 or 269 of the Civil Procedural Law of China, the court shall, in accordance with the law, to allow, and in combination with the practical situation of cases determine to extend a reasonable time. However, if there is any evidence to prove that a party has maliciously delayed the proceedings, his application for extension shall not be granted.
5.According to Article 239 of the Civil Procedural Law of China and Article 547 of the interpretation of the Supreme People's Court about "the Civil Procedure Law of China” , the statute of limitation is two years when a party applies for recognition and enforcement of foreign effective judgement, decision or arbitration award. If, during the last six months of the limitation period, a party is unable to apply for recognition and enforcement due to the epidemic situation or the epidemic prevention and control measures, and claims to suspend the limitation in accordance with Item 1, Paragraph 1, Article 194 of the General Provisions of the Civil Law of China, the court shall support it.