On October 24th, the Judicial Exchange Between China and UK was held in conference Room 203, Leo Koguan School of Law Building, Xuhui Campus, Shanghai Jiaotong University. Lord Sergei Hodge, Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, and Lord Sevor, the senior judge of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales, attended the meeting, and gave the keynote speech on the theme of the spirit of the rule of law and criminal law. The meeting was hosted by Cheng Jinhua, deputy dean of the Koguan Law School and the distinguished professor. Prof. Kong Xiangjun, chair professor and dean of the Koguan Law School, gave the welcome speech. Sheng Yongqiang, vice president of the Shanghai High People's Court, and Lu Xiaolong, deputy director of the International Cooperation Bureau of the Supreme Court of China attended the exchange meeting. Staff of the Shanghai High People's Court and the British Consulate, some teachers and students of Koguan Law School also attended the meeting.
First, Prof. Kong Xiangjun expressed his welcome to the arrival of the judge and the justice on behalf of Koguan Law School. He introduced the development of legal education in Shanghai Jiaotong University, and the internationalized management and exchange project of Koguan Law School. He pointed out that the UK, as a center of the rule of law and legal education, has a unique and long-standing judicial system that has made important contributions to the world's justice and the rule of law. He hopes that Koguan Law School will have the opportunity to conduct cooperative research with the British legal research institutions, legislation, and judicial departments in the future, and have the opportunity to communicate through student exchanges and teacher visits.
Lord Hodge gave a speech on the theme "The Involvement of the Public in the Criminal Process in the United Kindom". First, he detailed how the British judicial practice allowed citizens to participate universally in the process of criminal judgment. He pointed out that the principle of trial openness is strictly guaranteed in the trial. Apart from eliminating the influence of public opinion on jury verdict and protecting the privacy of the parties, openness to the public and the media of the trial process helps to establish the confidence of the public to the judicial system and the national power.
Subsequently, he described the British jury system, including the selection of jury members, the process and principles of jury verdicts, the role of judges in jury trials, and research on the impartiality of jury referees. He said that the operation of the jury system requires a series of institutional guarantees and strict enforcement and reasonable guidance of the judges. In practice, the jury treats its work very seriously and can usually draw reasonable conclusions under the guidance of the judge. Then he analyzed how the judge disclosed the content of the judicial work and the trial results to the public. He mentioned that changes in the information medium have prompted the court's open approach to shift from traditional media to the Internet, and the way of recording has shifted from mere text to video and other multimedia methods. Finally, Lord Hodge used Confucius's saying that "if the country loses people’s trust, it will fall" to lead to the importance of "trust" in the participation of citizens in the judicial practice system. At the same time, he believes that a judicial system that can be applied to all countries does not exist. However, the pursuit of justice for the people to the greatest extent is the common goal of legal practitioners in every country. He hopes that exchanges and cooperative communications between countries can make positive contributions to achieving this goal.
Lord Sevor’s speech entitled “Role of Magistrates in England and Wales Criminal Justice System”. She introduced the Magistrate’s Court dealing with more than 90% of minor criminal cases in England and Wales. Focused on the judicial practice in Scotland and Wales, Lord Sevor discussed the role of judges and sheriffs in the system. Concentrated on democracy and public participation, she introduced the public recruitment principle of the sheriff. The specific content was that the community members in the neighborhood fulfilling the age and health requirements can still apply for registration even if they lack relevant legal background. The Sheriff is a symbol of justice and justice. She described the requirements for the Sheriff, including self-study laws, spectator trials, and advice from legal counsel before formal participation in the trial to compensate for the lack of legal knowledge. At the same time, based on Lord Hodge's speech, Lord Sevor mentioned the difference between the appeal system in England and Wales and the appeal system in Scotland, and emphasized the importance of the sheriff's perception of his value.
In the questioning session, teachers and students engaged in the discussion with the judge and the justice. Some students questioned whether the extension of the sentence in the criminal case can appeal. Lord Sevor said that although it is not common in criminal proceedings and has pre-procedural requirements, it should be guaranteed that the plaintiff has the right to appeal. Lord Hodge indicated that if jury system was implemented, time and economic costs of the trial were very high, and such appeals were especially rare. Some students have raised the question of the application of the Internet in judicial practice, including whether it should support the development of Internet courts and the use of AI and big data technologies. Lord Hodge said that there are now Internet courts in the UK that deal with civil cases, which undoubtedly conforms to the trend of the times. Meanwhile, he also said that the British judicial community is very interested in applying modern technology to judicial practice, and invested a lot of money in research. However, some scholars are still skeptical. There were also students who mentioned how judges and juries should be fair and neutral under the pressure of public opinion. Lord Sevor emphasized that as a judge who take oaths to be impartial and listens to the testimony of both sides, it is not only the expectations of the people but also the requirements by oneself to exclude all adverse effects. Lord Hodge emphasized the role of the judge in guiding the jury to ensure that the jury members understood their duties.
Prof. Cheng Jinhua also raised questions. He mentioned what psychological feelings would arise when the jury and the judges were strongly inconsistent. Lord Hodge said that when contradictions arise, even if they do not understand or even anger emotionally, they must rationally recognize and accept the jury’s verdict which eliminates reasonable doubts. Regarding to the question that whether the Sheriff’s criminal justice system in England and Wales is effective, Lord Sevor believed that justice will be implemented in strict compliance with the law. Even if some magistrates lack sufficient legal knowledge, they will be able to make fair and impartial judgments under the detailed interpretation of the law.
Before the meeting, Jiang Sixian, Party Secretary of Shanghai Jiaotong University, Luo Peng, Director of the International Cooperation and Exchange Division of the School, Sheng Yongqiang, Vice President of the Shanghai High People's Court, Prof. Kong Xiangjun, Dean of Koguan Law School, and Wang Houji, Party Secretary of Koguan Law School, etc. hosted Lord Hodge and Lord Sevor in the VIP room of Koguan Law School. They exchanged views on the possibility of future cooperation.