Burden of Proof: Developments in Modern Chinese Evidence Rules
53 Pages Posted: 3 Jun 2007
China has a reputation as a county that lacks the rule of law. For the past years, a judicial reform has been taking place in the country with an aim at promoting "impartiality and efficiency" in people's courts. A significant part of the judicial reform is to develop sound evidence rules as applied to both civil and criminal proceedings. Realizing that China has no unified evidence code and that the scattered evidence provisions in various laws have been applied inconsistently, the Supreme People's Court of China adopted the Several Rules of Evidence in Civil Litigation (known as Civil Evidence Rules) in 2002 to provide the courts with urgently needed gap-fillers in the area of evidence. Focusing on the production of evidence by the parties, the Civil Evidence Rules place more weight on the parties' burden of proof than on courts' investigating evidence. In addition, the Civil Evidence Rules attempt (not always successfully) to introduce into trials rules such as a cross-examination of evidence rule, an exclusion rule and a hearsay rule in order to achieve judicial justice. It is expected that the Civil Evidence Rules will provide experimental experiences in helping China ultimately enact civil evidence law in the country.
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