China Center Hosts Judicial Reform Delegation from China

In December 2015, The China Center was pleased to collaborate with a visiting delegation of nine senior judges and officials from the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) of China, led by Senior Judge Huiling Jiang, the President of the SPC’s China Institute of Applied Jurisprudence (and a former Visiting Scholar at The China Center and recently featured in this New York Times article). The delegation’s goal was to obtain high-level U.S. perspective on issues at the heart of China’s ongoing judicial reform initiatives.

Judicial Reform Delegation from China
The Center, led by Director Paul Gewirtz, facilitated meetings for the SPC delegation at the Supreme Court of the United States, including a conversation with Justice Anthony Kennedy and a working lunch with Justices Samuel Alito ’75 and Stephen Breyer. The delegation also met with U.S. District Judges John Bates, former Director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, and Jeremy Fogel, current head of the Federal Judicial Center, along with other representatives of the Federal Judicial Center in Washington, DC. 

Additionally, The China Center helped to organize a roundtable dialogue at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York. The meeting was chaired by Second Circuit Chief Judge Robert Katzmann ’80 and attended by a number of U.S. federal judges from the Second Circuit and the Southern District of New York.

This series of meetings featured in-depth discussions concerning transparency of judicial processes; judicial reasoning in opinions; the interpretation and application of legal authorities such as case precedents; institutional mechanisms to promote greater judicial independence such as restructuring the financing and appointment of judges; preconditions for greater trust in the judiciary; and numerous other issues, with an eye toward potential applications in the Chinese context.

To provide concrete insights into the multifaceted role of courts in the United States, the Center also arranged for the delegation to observe an evening session of a New York small claims court and meet with the Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for Courts in New York City to learn more about court-led innovations that respond directly to the everyday needs of citizens.

Following the delegation’s return to China, the Center has remained in close contact with the delegation to provide follow-up information and materials. In addition, the Center is hosting a member of the delegation as a Visiting Scholar, to facilitate his comparative law research related to China’s ongoing judicial reforms.