The Supreme People's Court is regarded as the superior appellate forum in China which supervises and governs the procedure of justice by all the special people courts and the local, subordinate courts. It is also the court of last resort in the whole of China.
The court is made up of 340 judges which meet in smaller tribunals to decide cases.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (December 2009)
Conducting trial of the following cases: first-hearing cases placed with the SPC by laws and regulations and those the SPC deems within its jurisdiction; appeals or protests against trial decisions or verdicts of the higher people's courts and special people's courts; appeals against court judgments lodged by the Supreme People's Procuratorate according to trial supervision procedures.
Giving approval to death sentences.
Supervising the trials by local people's courts and special people's courts at different levels.
On discovering mistakes in the rulings and verdicts of local people's courts already being legally enforced, conducting questioning or appointing a lower level court to conduct re-hearing.
Giving approvals to verdicts on crimes not specifically stipulated in the criminal law.
Offering explanations over the concrete application of laws during the trial process
In 2005, the Supreme People's Court announced its intent to "[take] back authority for death penalty approval" over concerns about “sentencing quality”, and the National People's Congress officially changed the Organic Law on the People's Courts to require all death sentences to be approved by the Supreme People's Court on 31 October 2006. It has been reported that since the new review process, the court has rejected 15 percent of the death sentences decided by lower courts.