Shanghai courts have been hearing a growing number of cases concerning foreign civil and commercial affairs in recent years, court officials said Thursday.
The number of these cases, which primarily involve business and trade disputes, rose from an estimated 500 in 2010 to more than 700 in 2011, according to Yu Qiuwei, presiding judge of the No.2 Civil Division of the Shanghai Higher People's Court. "The figure surged roughly 45 percent last year from the year before," Yu said at a press conference.
Yu expects the number of foreign civil and commercial affairs disputes to continue to rise.
Local courts have already heard about 600 such cases this year, putting the number on pace to rise again this year.
One reason behind the increase was the judiciary's decision at the beginning of 2011 to allow the city's district courts to hear these kinds of cases, Yu said. Prior to that change, only the Shanghai Higher People's Court and the municipality's two intermediate courts could hear foreign civil and commercial affairs cases.
The judiciary made the change after these cases started piling up. "The three courts used to be very busy and sometimes ran above capacity because people and companies with minor disputes worth tens of thousands of yuan were in the same queue as cases between multinational corporations," she told the Global Times. "But now, the wait is much shorter, which saves a lot of time, money and energy."
The increase can also be attributed to the growing economy, which brings more new types of cases to the court. These cases touch on wide range of areas, including commodity consumption and e-commerce, according to a press release from the court.
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