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China: Supreme People’s Court Releases New Guiding Cases

(Oct. 17, 2012) On September 18, 2012, <?China's Supreme People's Court (SPC) released new guiding cases that were circulated to courts at all levels in the country for judges to consult in hearing similar cases. (Zuigao Renmin Fayuan Fabu Di- San Pi Zhidaoxing Anli [The SPC Released the Third Batch of Guiding Cases], SPC website (Sept. 25, 2012); full text in Chinese, available at WESTLAWCHINA.COM (by subscription).)

This is the third batch of such guiding cases released by the SPC since the highest court of China issued a set of provisions in November, 2010, creating a procedure to designate guiding cases to “serve as guidelines for courts nationwide in their trial and execution work.” (Zuigao Renmin Fayuan Guanyu Anli Zhidao Gongzuo de Guiding [Provisions of the Supreme People’s Court on Case Guidance Work] (Nov. 26, 2011),WESTLAWCHINA.COM.) Although these cases do not formally constitute binding precedents, they are believed to have the potential to evolve to have a similar effect. (Stanford Law School China Guiding Cases Project, About the CGCP (last visited Oct. 11, 2012).) The SPC selected and published the first batch of four guiding cases on December 20, 2011, and then another four earlier this year. (Zuigao Renmin Fayuan Fabu Di-Er Pi Zhidaoxing Anli [The SPC Released the Second Batch of Guiding Cases], SPC website (Apr. 14, 2012).)

Two of the newly released guiding cases, Guiding Cases No. 9 and No. 10, are civil law cases on the application of the Company Law. Guiding Case No. 11 is on new forms of corruption. No. 12 is on restricting commutation of a suspended death sentence. An English translation of the new guiding cases is expected to be provided by the Stanford Law School China Guiding Cases Project, which has provided full text translations of the first eight guiding cases and their commentaries on its website (last visited Oct. 11, 2012).