China's first two circuit courts, one located in Shenzhen and the other in Shenyang, have started receiving cases from 2 February 2015. On 5 January 2015, the Supreme People's Court of China (SPC) issued the Provisions on Several Issues Regarding Trial of Cases by Circuit Courts. It is stipulated in Article 3 of the Provisions that circuit courts in China shall handle the following 11 types of cases within their respective jurisdictions:
- nationwide major and complex administrative cases of first instance;
- civil or commercial cases of first instance with significant influence across the country;
- appeal cases brought against the judgments or rulings of higher people's courts on first-instance administrative, civil, or commercial cases;
- petitions for retrial of administrative, civil or commercial cases with already effective judgments, rulings, or mediation agreements issued by higher people's courts;
- criminal appeal cases;
- requests for reopening of cases ex-officio;
- petitions for reconsideration of decisions made by higher people's courts in respect of monetary penalty or detention;
- cases submitted by higher people's courts to SPC for jurisdiction-related rulings or decisions;
- cases submitted by higher people's courts for approval of extension of time limit for trial;
- civil, commercial or judicial assistance cases involving Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, and
- other cases as decided by SPC to be handled by circuit courts.
The Provisions further specify that for cases relating to intellectual property rights, foreign-related commercial matters, maritime affairs, death penalty review, national compensation, rulings enforcement as well as protested cases filed by the Supreme People's Procuratorate, they remain to be handled by SPC.