China Law Update: Suzhou Intermediate People’s Court delivered work report with guiding cases in protecting the rights and welfare of seniors

In a work report published in September 2014 the Suzhou Intermediate People’s Court appealed to the whole society to pay attention to the right of elders, who increasingly need and deserve assistance.

According to the report, cases of abuse, neglect and exploitation of seniors by their relatives raised sharply from 2012 to 2013, at a rate of 102.77%. Caseloads grew faster for the seniors as plaintiffs than defendants. Issues of cases involved not only traditional family relations such as divorce, guardianship and succession, but some emerging issues caused by policy changes in areas of rural land rights transfers and the seniors’ spiritual care.

The Intermediate Court also published 10 cases to serve as model practices and to guide local courts in tackling new issues involving senior’s right protection. In those cases, the court called for the preservation of family harmony and proper application of “public order and good customs(公序良俗原则)”,which is one of four basic principles in Chinese Civil Law. Published cases reflected that the causes of seniors’ right infringement involve many factors and most family law cases are emotionally difficult and legally complex.

For more information about Suzhou Intermediate Court’s work, please visit: http://www.szzjrmfy.gov.cn/index.php

Below is an excerpt from the work report.

苏州中院发布维护老年人合法权益工作报告及典型案例
信息来源:苏州市中级人民法院 宋华俊
联系电话:0512-68552598
         随着社会老龄化程度不断加深,涉及老年人的各类社会问题日渐突出,引起社会关注。9月28日上午,江苏省苏州市中级人民法院发布了《2011-2013年苏州法院维护老年人合法权益工作报告》及典型案例,分析了当前涉老纠纷的新特点、引发纠纷的原因,损害老年人权益的突出现象,以及该院的审判理念和工作举措,并就依法维护老年合法权益提出建议。
         报告显示,涉老纠纷的类型分布广泛,但主要集中于离婚、赡养、继承、分家析产等传统婚姻家庭民事纠纷,且老年人为原告的比例远高于为被告的比例。据统计,苏州法院在2011-2013年共受理涉老民事案件1100余件,尤其是2013年达到586件,同比上升102.77%。
报告分析发现,由家庭其他成员之间纠纷而引发的涉老民事案件增长快速。比如70后、80后离婚时,如何分割老年人为小夫妻结婚赠与的巨额资金、房产遇到拆迁时,如何确认安置房屋的所有权归属? 据了解,2013年法院受理的涉老分家析产纠纷同比增幅达83.81%。
        从地域上来说,涉老民事纠纷在农村的发生率远高于城市。通过对2011-2013年涉老离婚、赡养、继承、分家析产一审民事纠纷进行排查发现,农村涉老民事纠纷占比近70%,而其中赡养、分家析产纠纷中,农村地区发生率占比分别达到90%、80%以上,一定程度上反映了农村地区老年人的财产状况、生存状态不容乐观。
         还有一个不容忽视的问题,就是老年人精神赡养的需求多被忽视。部分子女认为,能够保障父母吃、住、医疗,已经尽了最大的义务。很多与老年父母对簿公堂的子女,与父母之间形容陌路人,多年互不往来。老年人因得不到子女精神上的充分赡养,内心更加敏感、脆弱。
        结合涉老纠纷的新特点,苏州法院积极发挥司法审判职能,组建专业合议庭或指派专人审理涉老案件,对矛盾激化或当事人行动不便的案件,赴当地开展巡回审判,并做好判后回访。针对疑难复杂案件或新类型案件,苏州法院在坚持依法审理的同时,从有利于维护家庭和睦的角度,充分运用公序良俗原则,侧重保护老年人的所有权、居住权和选择权,取得良好的法律和社会效果。该院还联合相关部门出台《苏州市家庭暴力告诫制度办法》等规定,放宽老年当事人诉讼费减免的审查条件,切实维护老年人依法维权的权利。
       今天,苏州中院还同时发布了“2011-2013年苏州法院维护老年人合法权益典型案例”,其中既有抚养纠纷、赡养纠纷,也有财产分割纠纷、遗产继承纠纷;既有发生在亲生父母子女之间的、也有发生在继父母子女之间的,较具代表性,提醒全社会依法维护老年人权益。
 
附件: 2011-2013年苏州法院维护老年人合法权益典型案例
案例一:从小被外祖父母抚养不构成收养关系仍需赡养亲生父母
【案情】
王阿婆共生育四个子女。其中,儿子阿远自小由其外祖父母抚养长大,也亲自操办了外祖父母的生养死葬事宜。2012年丈夫去世后,已年过八旬的王阿婆体弱多病,无劳动能力,每月仅有两百多元的农村养老补贴,不足以满足其正常生活所需,故诉至法院要求四子女承担赡养义务。对此,儿子阿远认为,自己与外祖父母之间已经形成收养关系,故其无需再对其生母承担赡养义务。法院审理认为,阿远与其外祖父母之间不构成收养关系,仍是王阿婆的赡养义务人。
【点评】
本案中,阿远虽自小由其外祖父母抚养,但双方系外孙与外祖父母的特殊身份关系,如认定收养关系成立,则阿远在法律上与其生母构成姐弟关系,违背公序良俗原则和伦理道德。因此阿远与其外祖父母之间虽有抚养、赡养之事实,但不构成法律上的收养关系,其与生母之间仍为法律上的母子关系,仍应承担赡养义务。
案例二:父母可以根据需要选择子女的赡养方式
【案情】
85岁高龄的徐阿婆育有两个儿子三个女儿。丈夫去世后,徐阿婆先后在两个儿子家中居住。但因徐阿婆将原有的两间房屋登记在二儿子名下,与大儿子之间矛盾不断。今年春节,徐阿婆被迫从大儿子家中搬出,暂住小女儿家。为此,徐阿婆不愿再跟随任一子女生活,诉至法院要求子女支付赡养费并为其办理养老院入住手续。法院经审理支持了徐阿婆的诉讼请求。
【点评】
子女对父母有赡养扶助的义务,其中包括妥善安排老年人的居住生活环境。在安排老年人居住时应充分尊重老年人意愿并兼顾是否方便老年人生活、子女负担能力等因素。因此法院在本案中支持了徐阿婆要求入住养老院的诉讼请求。法院同时认为,徐阿婆并非只能在养老院终其一生,如今后不能适应养老院生活,也有权选择变更赡养方式。
案例三:外祖母因女儿生活困难代为抚养外孙女支出费用如何认定
【案情】
陆阿婆系孙女士的母亲。孙女士离婚后因生活困难等原因,将女儿孙某交付给陆阿婆照顾,直到孙某大学毕业。陆阿婆抚养外孙女的时间超过15年。家庭成员之间后因赡养陆阿婆的问题发生纠纷,陆阿婆诉至法院,要求孙女士和孙某支付其照顾抚养孙某十五年的抚养费。法院经审理认为,陆阿婆照顾外孙女系出于亲情,双方并非合同法意义上的委托关系,但从公平原则及有利于家庭和睦的角度,判决女儿、外孙女对陆阿婆适当补偿。
【点评】
陆阿婆在女儿生活困难时代为照顾抚养外孙女,系基于特定家庭成员关系而提供的无私帮助行为,现以货币量化方式主张偿还抚养费,与当初代为抚养外孙女的本意相悖,亦缺乏法律强制性规定。但由女儿、外孙女对外祖母予以适当补偿未违反法律规定,亦符合家庭成员间尊老敬老的价值观。
案例四:家庭成员共同申请并参与翻建农村宅基地房屋如何分割
【案情】
庄某与李某于1996年1月登记结婚。婚后两人继续居住在李某的父亲老李和母亲何某建造的房屋内。2005年,由李某作为申请人,以庄某、何某和老李为家庭人员申请房屋翻建,经批准后翻建了三层三底三上的楼房。2010年12月,庄某起诉离婚并要求分割包括居住房屋在内的夫妻共同财产。法院经审理认为,讼争房屋虽建造于庄某与李某夫妻关系存续期间,但老李、何某同为申请翻建家庭成员,对翻建新房亦有出资出力,故认定翻建新房属庄某、李某、何某、老李的大家庭共有财产。
【点评】
夫妻关系存续期间获得的财产,原则上归夫妻共同所有。但在涉及农村宅基地房屋所有权问题上,判断房屋所有权归属不能仅依据房屋所有权登记。如宅基地房屋建造或翻建以大家庭成员共同申请、老父母对建造或翻建房屋出资出力的,应认定房屋为大家庭共有财产。
案例五:八旬老母放弃巨额遗产后反悔获补偿
【案情】
卢阿婆近80岁,丈夫已去世,共有五子二女。2010年底,卢阿婆四子吴某过世未留下遗嘱。按照规定,吴某遗产(卢阿婆认为系价值几十亿元的公司股权)的法定第一顺序继承人分别为母亲卢阿婆、妻子及三个子女。2011年,卢阿婆公证声明自愿放弃遗产继承权。但同日五位法定继承人又签订一份《承诺书》,明确吴某遗产由其儿子小吴代为持有并办理过户登记,但实际由五位继承人分别享有。六天后,卢阿婆又在吴某妻子陪同下公证声明放弃继承权。2013年,卢阿婆诉至法院,要求按法定继承分割吴某遗产。在法院的主持下,双方当事人达成和解协议,卢阿婆再次确认放弃继承全部遗产,其他四位继承人补偿卢阿婆6000万元。
【点评】
根据规定,遗产处理后,继承人对放弃继承反悔的,不予承认。卢阿婆公证声明放弃继承权,且吴某名下股权已过户至小吴名下,应认定遗产已处理完毕。但本案案情复杂,卢阿婆为年近八十岁的老人且放弃继承遗产数额巨大,故法院本着合公平合理及利于家庭和睦的原则,在释明法明理的前提下,促使各方当事人达成和解协议。
案例六:孙女获赠房屋后要求祖父母迁让未获支持
【案情】
张某系父亲老张与母亲李某的独子。2002年3月,张某和妻子刘某的房屋拆迁,两人以老张、李某和女儿小张作为家庭成员一起申请安置,获得两套安置房,均登记在张某名下。后张某与刘某离婚,明确其中一套安置房归女儿小张所有,但该套房屋自拆迁安置后一直由老张、李某居住使用。2011年6月,小张以其国外留学花费大、需出售该房屋以筹集学费为由,诉至法院要求祖父母老张、李某搬出讼争房屋。法院经审理认为,老张、李某对讼争房屋享有居住权,驳回孙女小张的诉讼请求。
【点评】
本案讼争房屋系张某、刘某、老张、李某、小张作为共同生活的家庭成员一起申请拆迁取得,其中有老张、李某的拆迁利益。虽房屋权属登记于其子张某名下,但老张、李某自房屋安置后一直居住在讼争房屋之内,应视为老张、李某在放弃所有权登记时已在讼争房屋上设定居住权。同时,在祖父母并没有其他自有住房情况下,小张之诉请亦不符合善良风俗原则。
案例七:继子女起诉要求未形成扶养关系的继母迁让被驳回
【案情】
老吴离婚后,女儿小吴随其母亲生活。2003年,老吴与黄某再婚。次年,老吴基于再婚前个人所有房屋拆迁获两套安置房,老吴和黄某就共同生活在其中一套安置房中。后来,老吴办理遗嘱公证,明确两套拆迁安置房全部由女儿小吴个人继承。2011年老吴去世后,黄某继续单身居住在该房屋。小吴诉至法院要求黄某迁出该房屋。法院经审理认为,应该保障黄某的基本居住权利,驳回小吴的诉讼请求。
【点评】
黄某虽不享有房屋所有权,但该套房屋系其丈夫动迁安置所得,其对丈夫老吴尽到了夫妻间的扶养、照顾义务,已获得该房屋的居住权,不因小吴父亲的过世而消灭。同时,黄某与小吴之间虽未形成扶养关系,但在习俗上仍为小吴继母,故小吴要求继母黄某迁让出房屋的主张也有悖公序良俗原则。
案例八:
儿子起诉老母亲要求分割按份共有房屋被驳回
【案情】
老张和儿子小张共同购买一套房屋,房屋产权登记为老张及配偶刘某10%;小张及配偶李某90%。该房屋一直由老张夫妻俩居住。后来老张夫妻经法院调解离婚,并确认老张丧失讼争房屋所有权份额,搬离讼争房屋。现小张和妻子李某将母亲刘某诉至法院,要求依法分割共同房屋。法院经审理认为,小张、李某与刘某之间就讼争房屋的按份共有关系应予保持,但判决驳回了小张夫妻要求马上分割讼争房屋的诉讼请求。
【点评】
本案讼争房屋虽为按份共有,但共有人之间是直系亲属关系,不同于一般按份共有中共有人之间的关系。刘某虽有一定的收入来源,但这不影响小张对刘某应负的赡养义务以及李某协助小张履行赡养义务。刘某在讼争房屋内一直居住生活至今,对讼争房屋及周边环境已经产生依赖,若将本案所涉房屋进行分割,将使刘某丧失对房屋的共有权或者使刘某在取得房屋所有权的同时斥巨资折价补偿其他共有人,都会影响刘某老年生活的质量。
案例九:
关系恶化形成扶养关系的继父子可申请解除关系
【案情】
1985年,倪某与姜某的生母登记结婚,时年7岁的姜某将户口迁入倪某户籍,并与倪某共同生活至成年,双方形成扶养关系。2012年春节期间,姜某与倪某发生争吵,并作出砸家中窗户玻璃、将胶水导入锁孔、用链条锁锁门等过激行为,倪某多次报警。姜某闹事离开后未再归家。倪某诉至法院要求解除继父子关系。法院经审理支持了倪某的诉求,判决解除双方继父子关系。
【点评】
对于形成扶养关系的继父子关系是否能解除,我国法律没有明确规定。根据相关法律规定,继父与继子形成扶养关系的,继子成年后对老年继父有赡养的义务,并有权作为法定第一顺序继承人继承继父的遗产。故成年继子在继父生前对继父负有赡养的单向义务,而继父单方要求解除与成年继子的继父子关系,并未损害继子权益,该权利具有形成权的特征,形成权的行使无须征得相对方的同意。同时,考虑到继父子关系具有人身性质,故应严格限定于双方关系恶化时。
案例十:
用人单位续聘达法定退休年龄但未享受退休待遇的劳动者被确认劳动关系
【案情】
张某于2009年7月进入某公司从事保洁工作,并于2012年5月在上班途中发生交通事故受伤。为主张工伤保险待遇赔偿,张某向劳动人事争议仲裁委员会申请确认其与某公司存在劳动关系。仲裁委认为张某受伤时已超法定退休年龄,不属于劳动仲裁受理范围,予以驳回。张某遂诉至法院。法院审理认为,达到法定退休年龄并非劳动合同终止的当然事由,张某虽在上下班途中发生交通事故受伤之日已超过法定退休年龄,但其未享受基本养老保险待遇,故确认某公司与张某之间仍为劳动关系。
【点评】
法律规定,劳动者开始依法享受基本养老保险待遇的,劳动合同终止。享有基本养老保险待遇的一般情况下已达到法定退休年龄,但达到法定退休年龄的不一定享受基本养老保险待遇。劳动者在达到法定退休年龄时,依法享有养老保险待遇的权利,用人单位和国家应为其提供这种保障。如果用人单位未按规定为劳动者缴纳社会保险、劳动者达退休年龄后基本生活无法得到保障时,用人单位继续聘用的双方仍构成劳动关系。
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Upcoming Event at Wilson Center: China and Latin America: Seeking a Path to Sustainable Development

China and Latin America: Seeking a Path to Sustainable Development

Co-sponsored by the China Environment Forum and Latin America Program

The rise of China has been a boon to the economies of Latin America for more than a decade, with Chinese investment particularly active in the energy and mining sectors. However, these investments have triggered a new round of environmental degradation and social conflict, which many Latin American governments have failed to manage properly.

At this meeting, speakers will debut a new report that examines not only the environmental conflicts linked to Chinese investment, but also highlight innovative steps taken by Latin American governments and Chinese companies in search of a more balanced approach to commodity-led growth and sustainable development.

Speakers

Kevin P. Gallagher

Boston University

Cynthia Sanborn

University of the Pacific, Lima, Peru

Rebecca Ray

Boston University

Moderator

Jennifer Turner

Director of China Environment Forum, Wilson Center

Media guests, including TV crews, are welcome and should RSVP directly to Susan.Shifflett@wilsoncenter.orgMedia bringing heavy electronics MUST indicate this in their response so they may be cleared through our building security and allowed entrance. Please err toward responding if you would like to attend.

Join the conversation on Twitter by following @WilsonCEF and find related coverage on our blog.

RSVP NOW » Forward to a Friend

 

Thursday April 16 , 2015
10:00 am – 12:00 am
5th Floor Conference Room
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Posted in Non-Georgetown Events of Interest, South Asia | Leave a comment

Georgetown Event:CHANGING IMAGES OF WOMEN IN INDIAN CINEMA

Georgetown University Department of English and School of Foreign Service In Partnership with the Embassy of India present:

CHANGING IMAGES OF WOMEN 

IN INDIAN CINEMA

 A PANEL DISCUSSION 

Monday, April 20, 2015 at 6:00 in Copley Formal Lounge

RSVP HERE  |  Reception with catered Indian snacks

 

Indian cinema has been a powerful engine for social change in a dynamic culture, both reflecting and inspiring new modes of action in a unique colonial modernity. This event considers the momentous changes in the representation of women over the last century of Indian cinema, with particular references to gender dynamics and the relationship of images to reality today.

Panelists:

Kavita Daiya, Associate Prof. of English at George Washington University.

Leena Jayaswal, is a full-time professor of Film and Media Arts at American University where she is head of the photography concentration.

Shareen Joshi, Assistant Professor of Foreign Service, Georgetown University.

Mubbashir Rizvi, Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology, Georgetown University.

Henry Schwarz, Professor of English, Georgetown University, where he was Director of the Program on Justice and Peace from 1999-2007.

Ajanta Sircar, Dept. of English and School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, is currently the ICCR Chair of Indian Film and Literature. 

Accommodation requests related to a disability should be made by Thursday, April 16, 2015 to Ben Zimmerman via email at bwz2@georgetown.edu or phone at 202-687-7889. A good faith effort will be made to fulfill requests made less than a week before the event

Posted in Georgetown Main Campus Events | Leave a comment

Georgetown Law Event: Institutes of International Economic Law Workshop

Georgetown Institute of International Economic Law

cordially invites you to presentations entitled

Developing Countries and the Work of the Advisory Centre on WTO Law

and

Appellate Body Report, Argentina – Measures Affecting the Importation of Goods

featuring

Fernando Pierola

Senior Counsel at the Advisory Centre on WTO Law

April 8, 2015, 4:00pm to 5:30pm in McDonough 588

RSVP to katie.evans@law.georgetown.edu

For IIEL’s student fellows, there is an additional reason to attend Wednesday’s program – the Advisory Centre on WTO Law is a possible employer and Fernando has agreed to talk about the Centre’s hiring process.

Posted in Georgetown Law Events and News | Leave a comment

Asia Society eNews, March 24, 2015

Dear Friends,

Please see eNews on March 24 2015 from Asia Society titled Lee Kuan Yew Remembered; North Korea Undercover; A Chinese Musical Master, Onstage. You can find a full version of eNews here:

http://us1.campaign-archive2.com/?u=eb1f3ae00632ae82d5db50505&id=1c1b9ed775&e=1cc794792f

Law Asia Institute has a copy of Suki Kim’s book about North Korea. If you are interested in reviewing the book, please feel free to contact Brenda Moore at moorebp@law.georgetown.edu.

Lee Kuan Yew Remembered; North Korea Undercover; A Chinese Musical Master, Onstage

Posted in East Asia (Excluding China), Greater China Area, Resource for Research | Leave a comment

Access to Justice–Notes after Pro Bono Trip to New Orleans

(Chenying Tan, Research Assistant at Georgetown University Law Center)

During this year’s spring break, I had the pleasure of serving as a volunteer working full-time in New Orleans Pro Bono Project.  This trip not only reminded me of why I studied law in the first place, but more importantly, it reminded us lawyers that we must take our responsibility to promote access to justice.

I took great pride in my work on pro bono matters. Prior to coming to New Orleans, I studied family law in university, working on book theory, but to see the succession and divorce process first-hand in office was different and exciting.  Almost every day I went on many field trips, contacted and met with clients, listened to their stories, examined family relationships, and prepared for affidavits of small succession or judicial succession that bring a fair result for them. The work gave me great pleasure because I knew I was helping to reshape a broken family or making a positive difference in someone’s life and if without my help they would not have changed.

The spring break pro bono trip showed me the very humanity side of law.  Serving as a volunteer for one week is easy, but what was difficult was getting involved in pro bono work though one’s career as a lawyer, for it requires one to put social interest ahead of one’s personal interest. Admittedly, nowadays, it is hard to engage new attorneys in pro bono service when the world is full of fancy opportunities of working for high salaries.  Even in law firms, under the well recognized notion of chasing money, it is hard for fee earners to work passionately and tirelessly on pro bono cases while under law firms’ billing pressure.  Despite those facts, we are grateful to see that many law school graduates chose to help low-income individuals over serving in profitable business organizations.  I was deeply touched by personal stories of many staff attorneys who worked for a long time at New Orleans Pro Bono Projects and at Children’s Center.  Some of them had graduated from prominent law schools, and been admitted to several states’ bars, and now are back to the community they care about.  Rachael Piercy, the director of New Orleans Pro Bono Project said that:  “it is true we have a lousy payment, but this is what I love to do!”

In my home country China, there are not many opportunities to do such pro bono work.  The biggest challenge is that lawyers lack motivation to devote part of their time to legal aid service.  Actually, nonprofit organizations and associations in law schools play the majority role in Chinese legal aid area.  Thanks to them, people living in remote and under-developed places of China could learn basic legal principles gradually over these years. Due to legal restrictions, NGOs and students association cannot provide legal aid in litigation areas.  The 2013 amendment of Civil Procedure Law of China directs that without a license, one could not represent clients in court. Thereby, the society calls for more law firms and lawyers to take social responsibility and play an active role in filling the justice gap by providing pro bono service to some of society’s most vulnerable members, who could not afford to hire a licensed lawyer.  Sometimes we lawyers get lost in cases and forget that many of us chose to come to law school to help less fortunate people and to shape the environment.

The trip to New Orleans had commemorative meaning because this year marks the 10th year after Hurricane Katrina.  While houses can be rebuilt in a few months, it takes more time to rebuild the heart and soul of a community.  John Donne said, “no man is an island, entire of itself”.  We live, after all, in a world where people rely on each other.  The “bell” tolls for us, and for the world.

 

Posted in Greater China Area, Stories of Interest | Leave a comment

Georgetown Event: WHY THE GOLDEN URN? QING USE OF THE TRULKU SELECTION SYSTEM IN THE 18TH CENTURY TIBET AND MONGOLIA

Georgetown Institute for Global History & The SFS Asian Studies Program

cordially invites you to a presentation entitled

WHY THE GOLDEN URN? QING USE OF THE TRULKU SELECTION SYSTEM IN THE 18TH CENTURY TIBET AND MONGOLIA

featuring

Tsering Shakya

Canadian Chair in Religion and Contemporary Society in Asia, Institute for Asian Research at the University of British Columbia

Tuesday, March 17, 2015 from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM (EDT)

Intercultural Center (ICC) 662

Georgetown University
Washington, DC 20007

 In 1792 Emperor Qianlong introduced the Golden Urn (Lottery) system for the selection of high ranking Tibetan and Mongolian Trulkus, (reincarnate lamas).   Recently, the PRC government used the Golden Urn for the selection of the 11th Panchen Lama in order to demonstrate China’s claims of sovereignty over Tibet.  Most studies focus on when the Golden Urn method was used;  in this talk, Tsering Shakya will examine the reason why this method of selection was used.

RSVP here: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/why-the-golden-urn-qing-use-of-the-trulku-selection-system-in-the-18th-century-tibet-and-mongolia-tickets-12840350835?aff=es2&rank=1

Posted in Current Events, Georgetown Main Campus Events | Leave a comment

March 25, China Law Talk: Chinese Administrative Law Reform after the Communist Party’s Fourth Plenum

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Posted in News About Sources of Chinese Law, Non-Georgetown Events of Interest | 1 Comment