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Courts hit by rising number of lawsuits

07-14-2010 10:39 BJT

BEIJING, July 14 (Xinhaunet) -- With lawsuits soaring in recent years, due to significant social and economic changes, China's 190,000 judges are facing growing pressure, the Supreme People's Court (SPC) said.

The number of court cases increased by at least 25 percent from 2005 to 2009, but the total number of judges remained almost unchanged, according to the first-ever annual report of the SPC released on Tuesday.

"With social disputes increasing at such a high rate due to high-speed economic change, lawsuits have become a main channel for people to solve conflicts," Sun Jungong, the spokesman for the SPC, told China Daily.

"Judges, especially those working at lower level courts where most cases are handled, are under great pressure", Sun said. "Some of them have to handle about 200 cases every year."

Noticeably, cases nationwide increased in 2008, when the economic crisis started, and 2009 is proving "an extremely arduous year to maintain national and social security".

Feng Xiaoqin, who has worked as a judge in Chongqing No 1 Intermediate People's Court since 2005, told China Daily the large increase in court cases have left judges "less time to think, read and study."

"That makes me feel uncertain. We have an allowed period of time to close each case. The need to be efficient and to fulfill my responsibilities are squeezing me," Sun said.

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