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Working Report of Ningbo Maritime Court

Fellow deputies,

    Here is my work report to the conference on the behalf of Ningbo Maritime Court for your review . The suggestions from Ningbo CPPCC members and other attendees would be much appreciated.

    In 2015, new progress in maritime trial has been made by our court since we thoroughly implemented the guidelines of the 18th CPC Central Committee and its plenary sessions, stuck to the work focus of justice for people, fulfilled our duties granted by the Constitution and laws, and  loyally deepened the ¡®Eight Justice¡¯ under the supervision and  guidance of the CPC Ningbo Municipal Committee, the People¡¯s Congress of Ningbo and its standing committee and the People¡¯s High Court of Zhejiang Province, and with the care and support of the people¡¯s congresses, governments, CPPCCs of the involved cities and the support from all walks of society. During the year, 7614 cases of various kinds were accepted while 7057 cases were settled, indicating an increase of 57.8% and 51.2 % respectively over the year before. The object amount of accepted cases was 10.67 billion RMB while that of settled cases was 7.54 billion RMB . The numbers of accepted cases and settled cases have reached a new record high, making  Ningbo Maritime Court  ranks  NO.1 among all the maritime courts as it always does.

1. Fully perform the judicial functions to better serve maritime economy

    Law enforcement should always be our first priorities to maintain economic and social development while maritime disputes increased sharply due to the continuing downturn of shipping market and ship-building industry overcapacity.

    Guarantee the right of maritime claim lawfully. The rights of maritime claims of concerned parties were guaranteed timely while pre-litigation property preservation measures were taken and the special procedures on maritime litigations were applied. Diversified dispute resolution mechanism was introduced, mediating potential serial cases related to several ships successfully. 1232 cases of maritime special procedures were accepted in the whole year, showing an increase of 71.8% compared to last year. Of them, 33 cases were about application for arrest of ship before litigation, 23 cases were about maritime injunction, 57 were about pre-litigation property preservation, 8 cases were about application for establishing the fund of limitation of liability for maritime claims, 1044 cases were about application for the registration and compensation of maritime claims.

    Timely rule the disputes on  maritime contracts. Censor the right and obligation relationships in various maritime contracts and mediate all sorts of disputes occurred during the development of shipping economy while reinforcing the judicial protection for financial claims. The leading functions of judiciary on the behaviour of market subject and market regulations was fully performed for the maintenance of the orders of international trade, shipping, finance and economy. 2949 cases of first instance were accepted in the whole year with an increase of 56% over the year before. Of them, 1472 cases were about disputes on crew labour contracts, 60 cases on contracts of carriage of goods by sea, 155 cases on contracts of construction, sale, repair and dismantling of ships,117 cases on contracts of ship mortgage, 103 cases on charter parties, 93 cases on marine insurance contracts and 11 cases on ship finance lease contracts.

    Carefully try marine tort and administrative disputes. Try various marine tort cases impartially, maintaining the security of marine traffic and protecting marine ecological environment. 1063 marine cases of first instance were accepted in the whole year with an increase of 86% compared to last year. Of them, 836 cases were about affirmation of maritime claims, 139 were about compensation for personal injury in the sea, 38 were about ship collision, 11 were about ship ownership and 2 were about ship pollution& damage. Since the People¡¯s High Court of Zhejiang Province restored and expanded the jurisdiction of our court on marine administrative cases last year, 3 administrative cases have been heard so as to support and supervise the administration of maritime and fishery departments.

    Properly handle foreign-related cases. Respect the autonomy of will principle, and apply maritime law, international conventions of maritime affairs and international practices accurately, while protecting the lawful rights and interests of concerned Chinese or foreign parties equally. In the whole year, 336 cases related to foreign countries, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan were accepted, indicating an increase of 52.7% compared to last year. Of them, 270 cases were foreign-related while 66 cases were related to Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. And succeeded in mediating Ningbo Shihua Crude Oil & Terminal Company Ltd V. Bernie Japan Co., Ltd and Bernie International Co., Ltd, a case about a pier damage caused by ship, the object amount of which is over a hundred million RMB.

2. Meet the judicial demands of the public on the basis of judicial convenience.

    Response to the demands of the public positively, meetvarious maritime judicial requirements, reinforce the awareness of service further .                                                                                                              

    Make full use of litigation convenience function of dispatched tribunals. The litigation demands of remote island residents should be met by exploiting dispatched tribunals¡¯ grassroot-based advantages to try cases in the fishery areas. 4293 cases were accepted by the dispatched tribunals in Wenzhou, Zhoushan and Taizhou and 4017 cases were settled, indicating an increase of 106% and 95.1 % respectively compared to last year, taking 56.7% of the cases handled by the whole court. 15 circuit trials have been conducted by Zhoushan tribunal in Shengsi and Qushan while 230 cases were heard.

    Facilitate the construction of litigation service centre on multi platforms. Improve the construction of three-in-one litigation service centre, including Litigation Service Hall, Website and 12368 litigation Service Hotline. On the basis of convenience for the public, round up all the litigation service issues scattered in related internal institutions to the front desk of Litigation Service Centre, while 509 calls were received through 12368 Hotline and various litigation-related issues were solved inclusive of accusation, enforcement application, petition letter and litigation-mediation linking . Maritime legal aid station was set up while absorbing lawyers to settle disputes and provide free judicial services for litigants. The judicial aid was enforced since 945.4 thousand RMB of legal fares was deducted, deferred or exempted for 428 related litigants with economic difficulties.

    Prioritize the speedy trial and settlement of cases relating livelihood. Green Channel was created for the labour disputes between crews and large & middle sized shipping enterprises or ship manufacturing enterprises suffering operational difficulties, simplifying the judicial processes inclusive of filing, preservation, trial, enforcement and payment, improving the mechanism of speedy filing, trial and enforcement based on the combination of mediation and trial. And the capital for some of these cases was pre-drawn from the auction fund of ships.  75.01 million RMB of salaries was secured for the concerned parties in 1459 crew labour contract dispute cases while 23.56 million RMB of compensation was secured for the concerned parties in 119  maritime personal injury cases.

    Actualize the legitimate rights and interests of the prevailing parties. The united ¡®Big Enforcement¡¯ pattern was built and developed to reinforce enforcement  while the management system of litigation-involved ships was developed for combining the trial and enforcement data to inquire the arrest and auction of ships timely and accurately, fully controlling the status of arrested ships . 360 ships were arrested in the whole year while 100 were sold off or put to auctions, all of which contributed to the total transaction amount of 988 million RMB. The synergy of filing, ruling, and enforcement was reinforced while the coordination mechanisms of Maritime, Customs, Border Defence, ports and local courts were fully utilized for the solution of issues of arresting ships, auctions and enforced allocation of  fishery oil price subsidies. The ¡®Point to Point¡¯ investigating and controlling mechanism of bank deposits, houses and vehicles of the persons subjected to enforcement, which covered the whole province, was fully utilized, controlling 448 million RMB of bank deposits in total.  233 dishonest persons subjected  to enforcement were exposed by the credit investigation website, limiting their high value consumptions inclusive of real estate purchase, taking flight and high speed train. 2363 cases of enforcement were accepted in the whole year while 2118 of them were settled, indicating an increase of 42.7% and 36.6% respectively compared to last year.

3. Reinforce the judicial transparency and cooperation, improving judicial credibility.

    Effective measures were taken based on the principle of judicial transparency and the aim of fairness and efficiency while the quality and efficiency of trial were continuously improved for better judicial credibility.

    Facilitate the transparency and fairness of maritime jurisdiction. Deep facilitation of information publicization on trial process, judgement documents and enforcement was accomplished through integrated service and publicization of official website while the publicizing information of trial ?related details including litigation service, court regulations, etc. On-line auction was fully facilitated on Shipbid and Taobao so as to achieve the dual-platform£¬on-line and off-line auctions of ships and real estates, taking advantage of professional audience of Shipbid and mature judicial auction platform of Taobao. 19 ships were successfully auctioned on Shipbid while 9 on Taobao, contributing to the total transaction amount of 440 million RMB. In Maritime Judicial Transparency Annual Report of China (2014) released by the Law Institute of  Chinese Social Science Academy our court was again ranked No.1 among all the maritime courts in terms of the transparencies of trail matters, filings and hearings, judgement documents and enforcements.

    Facilitate the synergy of maritime trial and maritime law enforcement in diverse aspects. The functions of ship registration and assisting supervision were fully performed, standard processes of arresting, auctioning and transferring ships were confirmed, and procedures on assisting freezing  and allocating fishery oil price subsidies were standardized in the friendly coordination memos between our court and Zhejiang Maritime Safety Administration and Zhejiang Ocean and Fisheries Bureau. Jurors with maritime specialities were introduced for hearing complicated cases. Experienced judges were listed into the expert database of maritime departments to assist investigating  major maritime accidents while accumulating their experiences on trying maritime accident disputes. The establishment of people¡¯s mediation committee in the fishing cooperatives was supported,the  litigation-mediation linkage mechanisms on maritime and fishery disputes with maritime administrative departments and fishery departments were established, judicial confirmation on joint mediation agreements on maritime disputes was made, so as to form a diverse resolution mechanism for maritime, fishery, civil livelihood-related disputes.

    Examine fraud litigation positively. While assuring the strict implementation of registration of filing and the full protection of concerned parties¡¯ litigation rights, the examination of filing was strictly executed to keep the balance between protecting litigation rights and prohibiting abusing litigation, reinforcing distinguishing fraud litigations, malicious litigations and unreasonable litigations to maintain litigation integrity. Carefully verify the debt status during preservation stage, notifying mortgagees to participate in the lawsuit and exercise defence rights. Verify evidences carefully during the hearing stage, examining the authenticity of the claims. Reinforce the investigation and verification on doubtful issues during enforcement. Over 100 fraud cases were found, sanctioning the concerned parties and transferring those who  committed crimes to the police for further investigation.

    Strengthen the management of the quality and effectiveness of trials by the combination of evaluation and judgement. We counted the quality and efficiency data analyses as examination form while the weight indexes of maritime cases were set properly along with quality and efficiency data intervals. Monthly case quality and efficiency evaluation was conducted while the situations of acceptance, settlement  and unsettlement during the period were directly presented and compared. Macro analysis and studies on the trial situations were accomplished while key indexes were especially focused on. The models were set by presidents trying, enforcing and settling 613 cases and improving the  quality and efficiency of trial of the whole court. While the number of cases was on the rise, the average number of days of trial declined to 58.78, 5.67 days fewer compared to last year. The average number of days of settled cases for trial and execution judges increased to 134.79,29.26 days more compared to last year. While the appeal rate remained relatively low compared to other intermediate courts in Zhejiang Province, other indexes appeared good and balanced.

4. Strengthen the management of court, making a strong team.

    The developments of ideology &politics, judicial capabilities and judicial style of our team were boosted on the basis of team development while the quality of the team was continuously improved.

    Improve the political quality of our team by thematic education. Thematic activities on ¡®Three Strictnesses and Three Practices¡¯ were arranged actively through various means including special lectures by court presidents, theoretical studies done by  the central group, individual self-study, thematic education, group communications and warnings on the basis of different themes in different phases according to the trial and enforcement practices, facilitating the observance to regulations and the solutions to the problems occurred in work, improving trial and enforcement quality. Learn from the spirit of Comrade Zoo Bahia and improve ourselves.

    Improve the professional qualities of our team by grass-roots based practice. Improve the long term mechanism of professional practice for young judges by carrying out grass-roots practice policy continuously. Some new officials and newly promoted officials were sent to dispatched tribunals and gradually grew up so as to become the new important forces of trial and enforcement. We built professional practice bases such as ports, freight forwarding companies and shipping companies, etc. for young officials, enriching their practical experiences. Surveys on maritime trial were conducted mainly by young judges while case and research reports were actively written, nearly 40 of which  were published on national or provincial journals inclusive of , , and and so on. The cases of Ship ¡®Snowmass¡¯ and Ship ¡®Hamish¡¯ were listed among Ten Typical Cases of Ship arrest and Auction of Maritime Courts.

    Facilitate Clean Jurisdiction by the construction of Two Duties. The measures on entity and supervision duties of party conduct and honest administration were elaborated while the duties of presiding judges, collegiate benches, tribunal presidents, court presidents and trial committee were carried out. The mechanism of trial operation was completed with the guarantees of trial supervision and trial management and its core of trial rights, facilitating the linking of reform measures and honest administration mechanism construction. Five Prohibitions and assignment evasion were strictly implemented against interior interventions while every detail of case intervention was kept on record to ensure the proper exercise of judicial rights. We reinforced the education and supervision upon officials by various means inclusive of trial supervision, daily patrol, open and secret investigation and incorruption messages while preventing the corruption from the very start .The zero violation of laws and regulations in our court in the whole years was ensured by zero tolerance to judicial corruption.

    Working mechanisms were improved by supervisions from all walks of society. Working mechanisms were improved continuously by the supervisions from the National People¡¯s Congress, CPPCC procuratorate and society to ensure fair and clean jurisdiction. Working report should always be delivered to NPC and its standing committee while the maritime trial reports were delivered by 3 dispatched tribunals to local NPC committees for further improvements. Participate and cooperate with the supervision and appraisal of judges and prosecutors organized by Ningbo NPC  Standing Committee. The report on performances of judicial officers in accordance with law, status of judicial fairness and performances of judges and prosecutors in recent years were delivered to Ningbo NPC Standing Committee and review feedbacks were  carefully considered. Party group conferences were held in time for correction measures and the practice of feedbacks. The classified and oriented contacts with NPC representatives were made while suggestions were collected in many ways including door-to-door visits, sending the white paper on maritime trial and forums. The communications with NPC representatives, CPPCC members, related schools and institutes, maritime administrative departments and the society were strengthened, thus deepening their understanding of maritime trials. The  citizen¡¯s visits, letters and complaints were carefully handled while the cases related to their first letters and visits were timely verified with the laws explained and questions answered . Those cases with flaws were corrected timely to dispel the doubts and misunderstandings of the related parties. Those cases misjudged or reviewed by appointment were timely put under legal rectification procedures while complainers were led to right relief under the rule of law.

    My fellow representatives, we recognized the problems occurred in our practice along with our achievements: We were in face of a serious shortage of judicial force and a sharp rise of the number of cases while the efficiency of dealing cases should be improved. The reinforcement of enforcement was still needed since a declining shipping market led to overtime detentionof ship arrestwith subsequent difficulties of realization, low prices and low liquidation rate. The elaboration of trial management was still needed with standardized  judgement scales . The flaws of cases still needs attention, etc. We shall correct all the demerits with a pragmatic attitude in the new year.

    In 2016, We shall carefully implement the guidance of 4th and 5th plenary sessions of the party's eighteenth committee and stick to the principle of judicial convenience and fairness with the goal of making people feel fair and just in every judicial case while focusing on the following tasks under the scientific facilitation of maritime trial based on law-based country administration.

    First, focus on trial and execution. Fully implement the quality strategy of maritime trial and solve the shortage of adjudicatory force with deepened reform and completed mechanisms. Make full use of  ¡®Internet+Trial¡¯, reinforse the informational construction, ,expand the width and depth of judicial transparency, so as to boost judicial fairness. Prioritize the senses of quality and efficiency and standardize the judicial scale  and judges¡¯discretionary power. Improve the quality of trials and judgements, thus strengthening the maritime judicial credibility.

    Secondly, stick to judicial convenience. Reinforce the initiative and responsibities of   lawful disputes settlement , based on¡®One Belt One Road¡¯ strategy and constructions of ocean economy development demonstration area of Zhejiang and Zhoushan Islands New Districts, along with  ¡®Five Waters Governance¡¯ and ¡®Safe Zhejiang & Ningbo¡¯. Actively handle the varied disputes caused by the lasting decline of shipping industry while reinforcing the connection of litigation and mediation. Properly handle the cases related to sea or ship-related industrial chain and those of financial claims. Continue the exploration of on-line ship auctions while using varied tactics including informatization to reinforce enforcement and the protection of the legitimate rights and interests of the prevailing party.

    Thirdly, Facilitate judicial system reform steadily. Facilitate and deepen the judicial transparency and litigation-related petition reform .Standardize the operations of judicial& executive powers and expand the prioritized items inclusive of people¡¯s jury. Further implement the presiding judge¡¯s responsibility system and the collegiate bench¡¯s responsibility system while optimizing the trial committee discussion mechanism and letting the hearer be the judge and the judge be responsible. Implement the enforcement system reform, which separates judgement and enforcement. And exert the leading function of the executive board, overcoming difficulties in enforcement.

    Fourth, reinforce the team build-up by strict management Reinforce ideological and political build-up by thematic education and group education on judicial honesty. Reinforce the cultivation of young officials while strictly managing middle-class officials and reinforcing the leading team build-up. Create the atmosphere of study in the court by diversifying the content and the forms of court culture build-up. Improve the capacity and cohesion of the court with the arousal of the initiative and sense of honour of young officials. Reinforce the build-up of judicial capability by diversified trainings,  thus improving the judges¡¯  capabilities of handling cases. Ensure judicial honesty by practicing ¡®Two Responsibilities¡¯ Party conduct andhonest Politics construction.

    My fellow representatives, we will fully perform our duties in the coming year under the guidance of provincial committee and Ningbo Committee, the supervisions of Ningbo NPC and its standing committee, thus providing a more effective  judicial protection for the implementation of  ¡®Four Fulls¡¯ and ¡®the 13th Five Year¡¯s Plan¡¯, the ocean economy development strategy and the ¡®Eight Eight Strategies¡¯.

 

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