May 2015, Vol. 17, Issue 3, 2014, pp 454-457
In China, the public has had little access to information about legal cases. There has been a need for reform in this important area. On 1 October 2014, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate of China commenced the implementation of the ‘Provisional Stipulations on Open Access to Information in People’s Procuratorate Cases’ (‘the Stipulations’). This represented a milestone in strengthening the transparency of procurators’ works in the country. The Stipulations are divided into six chapters, and cover general principles, inquiries about procedural information for general cases, dissemination of information on important cases, public access to legal documents,5 and the supervision and protection of case information.
In implementing open access to case information, the procuratorates should observe the principles of lawfulness, convenience to the public, timeliness, regulation and safety. They should use various means including the internet, telephone, post, and over-the-counter services to provide information to interested parties and the public. In addition, a unified national electronic system must be established so that the procuratorate at all levels can link to this electronic system in order to provide open access to case information. However, open access will not be granted to four categories of cases, namely cases involving state secrets, commercial secrets, privacy and minors’ offences. Information about these kinds of cases must not be disclosed to the public... Full text available on Taylor & Francis online and later from the Hart Publishing webpage.