UK-China Judicial Roundtable

Judicial Roundtable 2014 (1)

Delegates to the UK-China Judicial Roundtable, 18 December 2014

A UK-China Judicial Roundtable was held in Beijing on 18th December 2014 at the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) on the theme of the professionalization of the judiciary, organised in partnership with the UK Supreme Court and the Great Britain China Centre. A UK delegation led by Lord Justice Toulson of the UK Supreme Court attended the event, which was held two months after China announced a series of reforms to comprehensively advance the rule of law.

Opening the Roundtable, Hon. Justice He Rong, the Vice President of the SPC, explained the significance of the reforms, which were designed to strengthen the implementation of the Constitution, to promote government according to the law, to build a more law-based society, to safeguard judicial justice, improve judicial credibility and build public awareness of rule of law.

Mme He Rong expressed the hope that the Roundtable would lead to more regular high level exchanges with the British judiciary.

The Roundtable was attended by senior judges from China and the UK. Chinese participants also included Senior Judge Jiang Huiling, the Deputy Director of the Judicial Reform Office at SPC, Senior Judge Cao Shibing, Vice President of the National Judge’s College, Judge Ye Jian, Deputy Director, Publicity & Education Division at the Personnel Department of SPC as well as Mr Liu Hehua, Director General of the International Department of SPC. The UK Judicial Delegation led by Lord Justice Toulson included Professor Jeremy Cooper from the UK Judicial College, Judge Martin Edmunds and District Judge David Robinson. Altogether 23 participants took part in this event, including representatives from the British Embassy as well as GBCC staff.

Lord Toulson emphasised the importance for the judiciaries in both countries of sharing experience, learning from each other, and working together to tackle common challenges in a globalised world. Both Hon. He Rong and Lord Toulson expressed their hope that the Roundtable would become an annual event in the future.

Discussion at the Roundtable focused on judicial professionalism and approaches to the training of judges. Senior Judge Cao Shibing, Vice President of the National Judges’ College, provided an overall introduction to the judicial training system in China, and Senior Judge Jiang Huiling delivered a presentation on planned reforms to the judges’ training mechanisms in China. UK Judges shared with Chinese counterparts their experiences of the Judicial Appointment system, judicial and tribunal member training under the UK Judicial System, the content of judges’ training, and how lay magistrates are trained in the UK, among other topics.

Judicial Roundtable 2014 (2)

Roundtable in progress at the Supreme People's Court, Beijing

A court visit for the UK Judicial Delegation took place after the Roundtable, at which the delegation observed a civil case hearing at a district court for thirty minutes. The delegation were impressed by the young presiding judge’s eloquent manner in conducing the hearing, and were also surprised to see modern technology systems installed in the court room, including a simultaneous interpreting booth.

It is hoped that a 2nd Roundtable may take place during a forthcoming visit to the UK by SPC President Zhou Qiang, who has been invited to visit by the UK Supreme Court. The objective of the Roundtable initiative is to establish an annual platform to share best practice and experience in the judiciary, as well as to deepen legal and judicial exchanges between the two countries.

While in Beijing the UK delegation joined a conference at the Centre for Common Law at Renmin University Law School on systems of judicial precedents and exchanged views with Chinese law professors on the way different countries approach the issue.

Date posted: 14 January 2015

Categories: Judicial Dialogues

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