Jurisdiction of civil cases is determined by such provisions in Chapter II of the Civil Procedure Law and in Part 1 of the Interpretation of the Civil Procedure Law.
184.108.40.206 Jurisdiction by court level and territorial jurisdiction
Jurisdiction by court level refers to the practice of defining the acceptance of first-instance civil cases by courts of different hierarchical levels according to certain criteria. According to Articles 17–20 of the Civil Procedure Law, primary people’s courts have jurisdiction as courts of first instance over all civil cases unless otherwise stipulated. Intermediate people’s courts have jurisdiction as courts of first instance over major cases involving foreign elements, cases with significant impact in the areas over which they exercise jurisdiction and cases determined by the Supreme People’s Court. High people’s courts have jurisdiction as courts of first instance over civil cases with significant impact in the areas over which they exercise jurisdiction. The Supreme People’s Court has jurisdiction as the court of first instance over cases with significant impact in the whole country and cases that should be tried by the Supreme People’s Court according to its own opinion.
Regarding the jurisdiction of patent-related civil cases by court level, Article 2 paragraph 1 of the Interpretation of the Civil Procedure Law stipulates the following: “Patent dispute cases shall come under the jurisdiction of intellectual property courts or intermediate people’s courts and primary people’s courts determined by the Supreme People’s Court.”
Territorial jurisdiction refers to the division of the jurisdiction of people’s courts at the same level to hear cases of first instance based on the scope of jurisdiction of those courts and the places of domicile of the parties. Territorial jurisdiction determines which people’s court has jurisdiction after jurisdiction by court level has been determined. Jurisdiction by court level defines the respective jurisdiction of superior and inferior people’s courts within the people’s court system over civil cases of first instance, while territorial jurisdiction defines the scope of jurisdiction of people’s courts at the same level to hear civil cases of first instance. In other words, jurisdiction by court level determines the vertical division of scope for case trials, whereas territorial jurisdiction determines the horizontal division of scope. Territorial jurisdiction needs to be determined based on the characteristics of different civil cases.
According to Article 35 of the Civil Procedure Law, when two or more people’s courts each have jurisdiction over a lawsuit, the plaintiff may file a lawsuit in any one of those courts. If the plaintiff files the lawsuit in two or more people’s courts with jurisdiction thereof, the people’s court that first registers the case shall have jurisdiction.
220.127.116.11 Jurisdiction transfer and designation of jurisdiction
According to Article 36 of the Civil Procedure Law, if a people’s court finds that a case it has accepted is not under its jurisdiction, it shall transfer the case to the people’s court with jurisdiction, which shall accept the case. If the people’s court to which the case is transferred considers that the case does not come under its jurisdiction in accordance with laws and regulations, it shall report to a superior people’s court for designation of jurisdiction but shall not further transfer the case at its own discretion. The transfer of jurisdiction is, in essence, a procedure to correct mistakes in the registration of cases and includes transfer to another court at the same level and to a superior or inferior court arising from mistakes in territorial jurisdiction and jurisdiction by court level.
According to Article 37 of the Civil Procedure Law, if a people’s court with jurisdiction over a case is unable to exercise jurisdiction due to special reasons, the superior people’s court shall designate jurisdiction. A dispute over jurisdiction between people’s courts shall be resolved by the disputing courts through consultation. If the consultation fails, the dispute shall be submitted to the people’s court that is their common superior people’s court for the designation of jurisdiction. In the transfer of jurisdiction, if the court to which a case is transferred considers that the case is not under its jurisdiction, it shall report to the superior people’s court for the designation of jurisdiction.
18.104.22.168 Objection and submission to jurisdiction
If a party objects to the jurisdiction over a case after it is accepted by a people’s court, the party may raise an objection during the time limit for filing the statement of defense. The people’s court shall examine such an objection. If the objection is upheld, the people’s court shall rule to transfer the case to another people’s court with jurisdiction over the case; if the objection is not upheld, it shall be dismissed. If the party disagrees with the ruling on the objection to jurisdiction, it has the right to appeal to a superior people’s court within the statutory time limit.
Where a party does not raise any objection to the jurisdiction over the case and responds to the action with a defense, the party shall be deemed to have agreed that the people’s court accepting the case has jurisdiction over the case unless that court is in violation of the provisions regarding jurisdiction by court level and exclusive jurisdiction.