Passionate judge learns from handling foreigner-related cases

Updated: 2013-06-19 15:18

By Cao Yin (China Daily)

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"It's interesting because foreigner-related disputes are sometimes also filled with cultural differences," Liu says, adding she has learned a lot from the process.

In 2012, a 15-year-old foreigner, who speaks French, was burned while doing an experiment with an alcohol lamp during a chemistry class at a Beijing-based international middle school. His father, an ambassador, lodged a lawsuit.

Because the injured was a minor, the judge hid his nationality and refused to provide his name.

"It was really like an international world court, because the defendants, including many teachers in the school, were from various countries. All parties brought their translators and debated respectfully," she says, adding the plaintiff finally got about 560,000 yuan ($90,000) in compensation.

"What impressed me deeply was the courteous trial, although it lasted more than three hours. Everyone in the court was sensible and controlled their emotions, which gave me a calm atmosphere to give the verdict and that was also why the case proceeded smoothly," she says.

From the case, she learned to comfort people with grief in court, especially those who lost their relatives.

"Actually, the process to comfort others is a good way to release my own emotions. After all, I also need to release after absorbing so many negative emotions," she says.

Working overtime has become a common thing for the judge, who has about 100 cases in the pipeline.

She says the longest case she ever tried lasted almost two years.

"Judges hearing foreigner-related cases must be patient. We're not only judges, but we also embody China's legal image. We should let foreigners know that Chinese laws can protect them if they run into disputes," she says.

Apart from handling foreigner-related cases, Liu also has to try Chinese civil disputes.

To relax, she goes hiking with her son for some family bonding time.

Liu says she is motivated when she receives encouragement from the plaintiffs or defendants in cases she handles.

She once received a thank-you card written by a boy, whose mother, a Canadian, won properties following her divorce case.

Zhang Yu, a young judge in the court, considers Liu to be her inspiration. "Liu analyzes legal problems with me and gives me suggestions, even when she is busy and overwhelmed by big cases," Zhang says.

Li Quansheng, the head of the court, agrees with Zhang and uses the word "passionate" to describe Liu's attitude toward work and life. Li says Liu always finds hope in desperate cases.

"She often shares her cooking with us and recommends the latest US TV series, when she sees that we have complicated cases," Li says. "Yes, she is a happy judge, and a happy woman."

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