The Needs for Legal Reform

China prepares for first-ever jury trials,” AFP, 25 April 2005, ( from The Horse’s Mouth through Simon World).

China is introducing real trial by jury…

Around 27,000 jurors will report for duty in China next week, state media said, as the country introduces jury trials in an attempt to reform a system widely criticised for its lack of independence.

The jurors will start work on May 1 helping decide both criminal and civil cases, sitting on a panel of three with judges, the China Daily reported.

Improving the jury system was one of nine major tasks the Supreme People’s Court mapped out for 2005 during a meeting in December.

but an usual type of juror

They were chosen through elections in January and February and are expected to have powers equal to those of a judge.

Are popularly elected jurors better or worse than randomly selected ones? That’s a good question, and China is clearly innovating. Hopefully the world will learn from her experiment.

At least it will be better than the old system…

Under the current system, judges are the sole arbiters in court cases but they have been widely criticised by the public for lack of independence from the government and the Communist Party.

China recognizes that an independent judiciary isn’t just a “human right” — it’s good for business. If investorsand entrepreneurs do not feel safe in the court system, they will leave. That’s the same reason America is modernizing her legal system, too.

Arbitrary justice is terrible for growth — whether its money skimming in Sichuan or jackpot awards against McDonalds in Shreveport.

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