Cost-Sharing in Civil Justice

By / 03-27-2018 /

Social Sciences in China

Vol. 39, No. 1, 2018


Cost-Sharing in Civil Justice



Wang Fuhua


As an economic factor affecting access to justice, the cost of justice naturally constitutes an element of judicial reform. It is the overall deconstruction of the cost of civil justice, rather than partial observation and analysis confined to litigation costs, that can legitimize the sharing of court and litigation costs and clarify the demarcation between public and private costs. This first-order rule of cost-sharing is intended to establish a balance between the state’s investment of public resources in the judicial system and the costs borne by the litigant. The second-order rule of cost-sharing centers on the distribution of litigation costs among litigants. This requires not only the setting up of the goal of just and equitable sharing of litigation costs, but also the overall consideration of the adjustment function of the cost mechanism in litigation and pursuit of the general improvement of the justice system. The third-order cost-sharing rule should focus on giving full play to the legal services market and social organizations in sharing the cost of litigation. Its success will depend on the development of professional ethics and on legal regulation.


Keywords: court costs, litigation costs, rights protection, judicial reform