by Max Barry

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Judicial System of the PRZ

People's Republic of Zhouran
(Zhōurán Rénmín Gònghéguó)

Following its establishment on September 9, 1956, the Court System of the People's Republic of Zhouran uses the Zhouranese judicial model, which was created on July 17, 1860. In this model, the court system, which is based on national legality and civil law, exercises judicial power independently and consists of a supreme court, a combined local court that is made up of an upper local court for each administrative area and a lower local court for each settlement, and a military tribunal for military members of both the armed forces and enemy forces during peacetime and wartime.

The Ministry of Justice, which is subordinate to the Central Council, is responsible for the nation's judicial affairs.


As part of the judicial model, the trifurcated court system of the People's Republic of Zhouran is broken down into a four-tiered hierarchy: the Military Court, which is empowered to determine the guilt of members of either the armed forces or enemy forces and is subjected to military law; the People's Court, which acts as a trial court that initially hears cases and reviews evidence and testimony to determine the facts of the case; the High Court, which acts as an intermediate appellate court that is empowered to hear an appeal of a People's Court; and a Supreme Court.

Supreme Court

At the apex of the judicial hierarchy is the Supreme Court, which is the highest court of the People's Republic of Zhouran. Established on May 12, 1957, it functions under the authority of the Supreme Assembly.

Acting as a court of last resort that primarily reviews the decisions of a lower court, it is also the highest appellate court. As part of the court system, the Supreme Court is staffed by a Chief Grand Justice, a Chief Justice, four prosecutor-judges with two civilian prosecutor-judges and two military prosecutor-judges, and 320 regular civilian and military judges of which thirty are chamber judges. The Supreme Assembly is responsible for electing the Chief Grand Justice, Chief Justice, the four prosecutor-judges and the 320 regular judges. Supervising the administration of justice by any subordinate courts, the Supreme Court is divided into six chambers with each having five chamber judges. Each chamber judge is appointed by the Chief Grand Justice, the Chief Justice and the four prosecutor-judges.

  • Chamber of Civil Law

  • Chamber of Criminal Law

  • Chamber of Labor Law

  • Chamber of Military Law (all five chamber judges are military personnel)

  • Chamber of Administrative Law

  • Chamber of Appeals

While the Supreme Assembly has the power to interpret the law, this power is a legislative power and not a judicial one. As a result, an interpretation by the Supreme Assembly does not affect cases which have already been decided.

Although a court of last resort, the Supreme Court can also act as a court of first instance in cases where national interests of high importance are at issue; in this case it consists of three judges and a jury if required, and is presided by a prosecutor-judge. When acting as an appellate court, a case is carried out by the Chief Grand Justice, the Chief Justice, the four prosecutor-judges, and five regular judges. Only the Chief Grand Prosecutor-Marshal and the four Chief Prosecutor-Marshals have the right to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Combined Provincial Courts

The local courts are the courts of the first instance—handle criminal and civil cases. Consisting of a "High Court" at the provincial level; and a "People's Court" at the level of cities and towns, the two local court types form the Combined Provincial Court of a province.

Each province has a High Court, which forms the higher component of a Combined Provincial Court, while each town/city has a People's Court. A High Court acts as an intermediate appellate court that is empowered to hear an appeal of a People's Court, while a People's Court acts as a trial court that initially hears cases and reviews evidence and testimony to determine the facts of the case. Within a High Court, the Chief Grand Justice and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court appoints the court-master and two deputy court-masters while the four prosecutor-judges of the Supreme Court appoint the judges. As for the People's Court, the court-president, deputy court-president and the judges are appointed by the High Court of a province the People's Court is located in.

While the Supreme Court is responsible for national matters, a High Court deals with issues within its province while a People's Court deals with issues within the town/city it is in. High Courts also handle relevant important local cases in the first instance and hear appeal cases while People's Courts handle the first instance cases at the local level. A People's Court can be further divided into criminal, civil, and labor sections. Acting as a trial court, a People's Court can also handle cases that are deemed too trivial to require a trial. A trial process in a High Court is carried out by three judges and, if required, a jury, while for a People's Court, the process is carried out by a magistrate/judge and, if required, a jury.

Military Courts

The People's Defense Council has its own court known as Military Courts. Military judges and assessors are selected by the People's Defense Council and the Supreme Court, with the Supreme Court having supervisory responsibility.

A Military Court is empowered to determine the guilt of members of either the armed forces or enemy forces and is subjected to military law. If the defendant is found guilty, the Military Court can decide the defendant’s punishment. In addition, the Military Court can be used to try prisoners of war for war crimes. Supervised by the Supreme Court and taking the form of a trial with a presiding military judge, a civilian prosecutor, a defensive counsel that consists of civilian lawyers as well as military personnel trained in military justice, and if required, a panel of military personnel acting as jury, the Military Court has the authority to try a wide range of military offences. Using a two-tier military trial system, a summary trial is reserved for military personnel who have committed relatively minor misconducts while a special trial is reserved for those who have committed serious breaches of military discipline.