Shanghai courts release 2018 facts and figures

Chen Huizhi
By the end of last year, Shanghai's Financial Court, which was established in August, handled 1,897 cases targeting 25.2 billion yuan (US$3.7 billion).
Chen Huizhi

By the end of last year, Shanghai's Financial Court, which was established in August, handled 1,897 cases targeting 25.2 billion yuan (US$3.7 billion), according to the Shanghai Higher People’s Court work report for last year.

The report was presented to the city’s legislators during the ongoing second session of the 15th Shanghai People’s Congress.

Shanghai courts handled about 180,000 commercial cases of the first instance last year, with 44,000 related to the free trade zone, the report said.

The courts settled 348,000 business contract disputes in 2018, and in most cases the original contracts were ruled to be valid, according to the report.

Some 21,000 intellectual property cases were settled, up 46.3 percent from 2017. In the case of Chateau Lafite-Rothschild suing a Chinese company for infringing its trademark, the Shanghai Intellectual Property Court witnessed a first when it ruled in favor of the French winemaker even though its trademark had not yet been registered in China.

A total of 3,332 civil and commercial cases of the first instance with overseas parties involved were handled by the courts in 2018, the report said.

With forceful attempts to make the “judgment debtors” pay off their debts, in all of the cases last year where such duty was entailed by rulings, the debt has been paid off, according to the report.

A total of 23.6 billion yuan of debt was paid off in 126,000 cases, and Shanghai courts lead in China in the percentage of cases with debt paid off in due time and the efficiency of the act. The average number of days leading up to debt payment after a court ruling in Shanghai last year was 44.7.

The result was largely due to greater administrative pressure on debtors as those who fail to pay off the debt in time are now faced with 43 restrictions which could affect their daily lives.

According to the report, 75,000 debtors were named and shamed, with 2,455 restricted from leaving the Chinese mainland, 141,000 banned from booking flights and high-speed railway tickets, and 455 restricted from buying real estate property. Some 33,000 debtors were brought to terms by the measures.

Some 28,000 criminal cases of the first instance were settled in 2018, in which 171 people involved in mafia-like gangs were punished in 46 cases of blackmail and extortion, exerting illegal detention and running casinos, while 111 people were punished in 32 cases of loan sharking.

A total of 762 people were punished in 652 cases of serious violence, such as murder, robbery and kidnapping, and the courts also settled 175 cases relating to food and drug safety.

Last year, Shanghai courts handled 180 duty-related crimes, such as corruption, bribery and malpractice, with 246 people punished, seven of whom were at bureau level or above, according to the report.

In total, Shanghai courts handled 798,000 cases in 2018 and settled 99.5 percent.

A separate report of the work of the city’s prosecutors last year, also presented on Tuesday, said that 183 people were prosecuted in 92 cases related to the free trade zone, and the first-ever case of infringing business secrets there was handled.

A total of 321 people were prosecuted in 205 cases for crimes which could impair innovation, such as intellectual property right infringement, the report said.

Prosecutors are also living up to their duty to launch public interest lawsuits in cases where environmental or public interest was impaired. They established 281 such cases last year and filed 15 cases with the court.

As a result, related companies were made to clear 7,625 tons of household garbage illegally disposed and seven companies were closed, suspended or otherwise punished for polluting the environment. Over 8.6 million yuan in compensation for "detriment to the environment" was eventually paid off.

Special Reports