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:

  1. nationwide major and complex administrative cases of first instance;
  2. civil or commercial cases of first instance with significant influence across the country;
  3. appeal cases brought against the judgments or rulings of higher people's courts on first-instance administrative, civil, or commercial cases;
  4. petitions for retrial of administrative, civil or commercial cases with already effective judgments, rulings, or mediation agreements issued by higher people's courts;
  5. criminal appeal cases;
  6. requests for reopening of cases ex-officio;
  7. petitions for reconsideration of decisions made by higher people's courts in respect of monetary penalty or detention;
  8. cases submitted by higher people's courts to SPC for jurisdiction-related rulings or decisions;
  9. cases submitted by higher people's courts for approval of extension of time limit for trial;
  10. civil, commercial or judicial assistance cases involving Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, and
  11. 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.