Top court to review legality of govt documents when hearing lawsuits

(      Updated : 2018-10-31

China's top court has vowed to strictly review the legality of administrative documents issued by government departments when handling lawsuits against them.

Aiming to regulate the behavior of government departments and prevent abuses of power, the Supreme People's Court released details on Tuesday of nine cases in which individuals asked the court to review the legality of administrative documents. It is the first time the top court has released details of such cases in its push to ensure government departments deal with administrative affairs in accordance with the rule of law.

Under the revised Chinese Administrative Procedure Law, individuals, company representatives and organizations can sue government departments suspected of behaving illegally or issuing illegal documents.

From January 2016 to October this year, Chinese courts heard 651,544 lawsuits brought by residents against government departments, of which, 3,880 related to the review of administrative documents, according to statistics released by the top court.

"The figure means a number of government documents, such as guidelines or notices, were made improperly or even illegally," Huang Yongwei, chief judge of the top court's Administrative Division, told a news conference on Tuesday.

"For example, two documents were found to contradict each other," he said. "Some departments intend to protect their own interests by seriously harming residents' interests or breaching laws while making guidelines."

Wang Zhenyu, deputy chief judge of the division, said problematic administrative documents should be corrected or removed if the courts judge them to be illegal.

"Judges are also asked to explain why the documents are illegal in their rulings, and government departments should either correct or stop using them within three months after the verdicts," he said.