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Foreigners Need to Know in China – Civil Procedure Law

Peter Peng   2023-03-24




How do foreigners participate the civil litigation procedures in China? Whether the judgements or rulings made by the foreign courts could be executed in China? You could find more relevant information about the answers in this article.

The latest revised civil procedure law has become effective as of January 1st, 2022.


1. Jurisdiction

In China, jurisdiction over civil cases shall be exercised by the People’s courts, and shall not be subject to any interference by any third party of a foreign country. When Foreigners initiate or respond a civil litigation in the Chinese courts, they shall have the same procedural rights and obligations as the citizens of China.

Technically speaking, the specific jurisdiction of the foreign-related case maybe tied with the foreigners’ domicile, property of the foreigners or the places where the contract performed, the places where the tort committed or the places where the representative office is located. 

2. Local Language

In the hearing involved with the foreign parties, the Chinese courts will write and speak the languages commonly used in China, translation will be rendered to the foreign party as requested, but they shall bear the costs occurred therein.

In addition, when the foreigners submit the documentary evidence in a foreign language, a Chinese translation shall be accompanied at the same time.

3. Engage a Chinese Lawyer

When the foreigners need to take part in the litigations in the Chinese courts, they shall entrust PRC lawyers and only such Chinese attorney could represent the foreign clients in the civil litigation proceedings.

By the way, the Power of Attorney generated out of China shall be notarized and authenticated before it could be used in the Chinese courts.

4. Enforcement

It is quite different with many other countries in the world, the rulings and judgements of second instance issued by the People’s courts shall be final and effective, and the parties could apply for compulsive enforcements in case either party refuse to honor the awards voluntarily.

In addition, the arbitral award made by the arbitration body of China shall not be tried again in the courts, the wining party also could apply for execution of the award if the other party fails to perform the results.

The judgements and rulings made by foreign courts could be recognized and executed under the principle of reciprocity or pursue to the international treaties concluded by the foreign country and China。

5. As a short conclusion, although civil litigation is very common during the everyday life, but it’s also very complex and sophisticated, once you have to take party in a litigation proceeds in China, please do not hesitate to seek assistance from a local PRC lawyer to safeguard your interests and avoid potential risks if any.


The Civil Procedure Law of the People's Republic of China (excerpts)











Peter Peng

Attorney at Law, LL.M.


Yingke Law Firm Shanghai Office

Mobile: +86 139 1608 1358


Website: www.lawpeng.com


Address: 50 F, InterContinental Business Center, No. 100 Yutong Road, Jing’an District, Shanghai 200070 China.