The Supreme People's Court, Zuigao Renmin Fayuan, is at the top of the court hierarchy. It exercises both original jurisdiction and is the final court of appeal in all areas of law.
Although not part of the official legal system, since the 2010 introduction of "guiding cases" it is increasingly unlikely that lower courts would depart from the lead of the Supreme Court when considering subsequent like cases.
Each province has three levels of courts
Basic Jiceng Renmin Fayuan, Intermediate Zongji Renmin Fayuan and High People's Court Gaoji Renmin Fayuan,
Large cities such as Beijing have their own courts, and there special courts for maritime, military and other areas of law.
Since 1955, the Supreme People's Court has been empowered to pronounce "interpretations." In November 2010, the Guiding Cases System (also relating to decisions of the Supreme People's Court) was introduced.
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