Recently the name “Du Wanhua” (杜万华) appeared multiple times in Chinese bankruptcy law news. A senior judge at the PRC Supreme People’s Court, Du seems to have become a key person overseeing judicial policy-making and courts’ performance in the corporate bankruptcy domain. He is very likely to substitute former Justice Xi Xiaoming (who was investigated, arrested and charged for corruption) for the position at the high court that oversees Chinese courts’ performance in economic and commercial cases.
Who is Du Wanhua?
Baidu Baike (a Chinese version of Wikipedia) offers a detailed content of Judge Du (http://baike.baidu.com/view/4253687.htm). Important information about Judge Du includes:
- He graduated from Southwest University of Political Science and Law (http://22.214.171.124/index.htm) with Master of Law degree. He then taught in his alma mater, focusing on jurisprudence studies (for a transcript of Judge Du’s speech at SWUPL, where he recalled his old days at the university, see http://kyc.swupl.edu.cn/detailed.aspx?articleid=121).
- He visited Hong Kong University Law Faculty from 1995 to 1996.
- He joined the SPC in 1996 and became associate-Chief Judge of First Civil Division of the high court in 2003.
- He became the Chief Judge of the First Civil Division in June 2012. At the same year he was also appointed as a Full-Time Member of Adjudication Committee of the SPC. There are currently only 4 Full-Time Member of Adjudication Committee of the SPC according to SPC’s official website (http://www.court.gov.cn/jigou-fayuanlingdao.html).
- Since 2013 he no longer direct the First Civil Division.
Note, First Civil Division of SPC hears primarily civil, labor, real estate, and rural land contracting agreement cases (http://www.court.gov.cn/jigou-fayuanjigou-zhineng-11.html). Bankruptcy cases are heard by Second Civil Division of SPC. This might mean Judge Du may be appointed as Chief Judge of Second Civil Division.
Judge Du’s current official record can be found at http://www.chinacourt.org/article/dfgshow/id/67.shtml
Interestingly, Judge Liu Min, an established female judge at Second Civil Division who has been long and deeply involved in judicial policy makings for Chinese corporate bankruptcy cases, has been transferred to First Civil Division for reasons that remain unclear. It is said such transfer/position rotation is normal and common within the Chinese court system, including SPC.