SPC releases guidance for court hearings, judgment enforcement amid epidemic

The Supreme People’s Court issued guidance for court hearings and judgment enforcement amid the novel coronavirus outbreak, stressing strong judicial service and support for the battle against the epidemic.

With respect to the hearing of civil cases, the guidance upholds the concepts of equally protecting the legal rights and interests of all litigants under the law, serving broad epidemic prevention and control efforts and maintaining social and economic development. It calls on people’s courts to proactively guide litigants in resolving their disputes through mediation.

As for civil disputes over contract performance, medical services, product quality and labor, which are the issues that have raised widespread public concerns, the guidance demands equal attention to the protection of workers’ rights and interests and the healthy development of enterprises, enhanced protection of medics‘ rights and interests and severe punishment for production or sale of fake or inferior epidemic control materials.

As for the issue of judgment enforcement, the guidance demands enforcement measures against units or individuals undertaking the task of epidemic prevention and control as well as the sites, equipment, materials and funds being used for this purpose.

No property preservation measures like sealing off, freezing, distraining and transferring or compulsory enforcement measures should be taken against funds or materials explicitly dedicated to epidemic prevention and control, according to the guidance.

With respect to litigation processes, the guidance stresses that hearings that should be adjourned during the epidemic must be adjourned. Those meeting the conditions for suspension must be suspended, as must their enforcement.

Litigants’ legal rights and interests in postponed matters must be fully protected in light of the actual situations, said the guidance. For urgent cases, the hearings must be held with precautionary measures in place or, if possible, by video.

(Source: SPC Website)