Maritime court measure improves efficiency, lowers costs

( Updated : 2019-09-06

China's top court said litigants can file maritime cases in any of the country's 10 maritime courts starting Sept 5, taking a new step to better serve litigants and improve judicial efficiency.

The move means litigants are allowed to initiate a lawsuit in a maritime court closest to their home, even when it has no jurisdiction to hear the dispute, the Supreme People's Court said.

This was a key requirement raised by President Xi Jinping during a conference on political and legal work in January, and has been put as a top priority for courts to explore and promote nationwide since then.

In a pilot program on Aug 19, a man succeeded in filing a maritime case which should have been heard by Ningbo Maritime Court in Zhejiang province at Dalian Maritime Court in Liaoning province, where he lives. "Such cross-regional case filing helped me save the cost and time of more than 2,000 kilometers' travel from my home to the court with the jurisdiction," he added.

While providing more convenience in bringing cases to court for litigants, the cross-regional case filing system has also increased court efficiency and encouraged judges to improve the quality of their legal services, a statement from the Supreme People's Court said.

Before this change, courts in Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei province have helped litigants file cases across their jurisdictions in June to more effectively solve disputes related to the Xiongan New Area, another new area of "national significance" following the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone and Shanghai Pudong New Area.