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Beijing court sets up division for minor cases

The Beijing High People’s Court on Thursday set up an adjudication division especially to deal with cases involving minors, aiming to provide more professional trials and better protection for juveniles.

The division will not only try criminal cases involving minors, but also civil and administrative ones, according to Sun Li, vice-president of the court. He said it was the first time a special division had been established with the authority to cover all cases involving minors in China’s high courts.

"Previously, courts paid particular attention to hear criminal cases related to youngsters, but there were in fact also many civil cases involving young people, such as divorce and child abuse,” Sun said, adding that this necessitated the division’s establishment.

Beijing courts tackled more than 7,000 criminal cases involving minors in the past five years, while the number of civil ones was 10,000, according to a statistic provided by the high court.

Zhao Deyun, who is in charge of the division, told China Daily that five judges had joined the department, and they will select professionals and senior legal workers who can hear both criminal and civil cases.

"Currently, 12 grassroots courts across the capital have a department or group specializing in coping with cases involving minors,” she said. “Our department will supervise their work and guide their trials.”

In addition, the division will cooperate with the country’s lawyers association to jointly provide legal aid for minors, Zhao said, adding that such cooperation has been also developed in some universities that can help courts develop social surveys for young suspects.

"It’s also a better way to enforce the revised Chinese Criminal Procedure Law,” she added.