Judicial System

Top court helps judges apply new Civil Code

Updated: Dec 31, 2020 China Daily Print
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China's top court issued seven new judicial interpretations on Wednesday, including ones on property, marriage and family, labor disputes and inheritance, to ensure implementation of the country's first Civil Code.

The judicial interpretations and the code will come into effect from Friday. The code was adopted at the third session of the 13th National People's Congress, the nation's top legislature, on May 28.

The seven interpretations are the first batch of legal documents issued to help judges apply the code accurately and solve urgent problems or disputes in people's lives effectively, the Supreme People's Court said in a statement, adding that more interpretations are on the way.

One of the new interpretations is about provisions in the code related to marriage and family. It identifies frequent or constant domestic violence as abuse, meaning victims will have the right to demand civil compensation from perpetrators.

Saying family stability is the foundation of social development and prosperity, He Xiaorong, vice-president of the top court, said, "Such an interpretation shows our judicial determination to say 'no' to domestic violence and also make efforts to improve harmony among families to better enforce the code."

The Civil Code, regarded as an encyclopedia of social activities and a key legal instrument to protect people's civil rights, is the first law called a "code" since the People's Republic of China was founded in 1949. It is also milestone legislation in comprehensively advancing the rule of law and promoting the socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics.

The 1,260-article code consists of general provisions, which clarify basic civil rights, duties and principles, and six individual sections on property, contracts, personality rights, marriage and family, inheritance and torts.

He Rong, executive vice-president of the top court, said that as people's legal demands for the protection of their personal dignity have increased, "we'll focus more on the section on personal rights and have more research on some new content in this part, such as on sexual harassment and privacy."

She said new interpretations or guidelines will be released when appropriate.

The top court has also reviewed all 591 existing interpretations since June, she said, revising 111 and deciding to abolish 116 others that were inconsistent with the code or could not meet the requirements of social and economic development.

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