"Court Acceptance Cost" in Chinese Civil Litigation

Court costs are part of costs calculation common to many litigants and attorneys. In China, such costs are also required in a civil lawsuit payable by a plaintiff. What is different in China, from the American practice, is that part of the court costs depends on the amount or value of damages sought in the complaint. In this "Did You Know?" post, I am going to talk about this unique kind of cost to be paid by plaintiffs in China. According to Article 6 of the Litigation Cost Payment Act (available only in Chinese at the moment), litigation costs include 1) court acceptance cost; (2) filing cost; and (3) costs of transportation, accommodation, living expenses and compensation for time spent away from regular work for a witness, a notary, an interpretor, or an adjuster requested by the court to appear at a court hearing. Out of the three parts of the court costs, the amount of "court acceptance cost" depends squarely on the amount or value of damages sought in a civil litigation. According to Article 13.1 of the same Act, if damages are sought, the court acceptance cost is calculated according to the staggered tiers below:

  • 1. if not exceeding 10,000 RMB, the cost is 50 RMB;
  • 2. in excess of 10,000 but no more than 100,000 RMB, the cost is 2.5% thereof;
  • 3. in excess of 100,000 but no more than 200,000 RMB, the cost is 2% thereof;
  • 4. in excess of 200,000 but no more than 500,000 RMB, the cost is 1.5% thereof;
  • 5. in excess of 500,000 but no more than 1,000,000 RMB, the cost is 1% thereof;
  • 6. in excess of 1,000,000 but no more than 2,000,000 RMB, the cost is 0.9% thereof;
  • 7. in excess of 2,000,000 but no more than 5,000,000 RMB, the cost is 0.8% thereof;
  • 8. in excess of 5,000,000 but no more than 10,000,000 RMB, the cost is 0.7% thereof;
  • 9. in excess of 10,000,000 but no more than 20,000,000 RMB, the cost is 0.6% thereof;
  • 10. in excess of 20,000,000 RMB, the cost is 0.5% thereof;

Therefore, before one attempts to file a lawsuit in China, this part of court costs should be part of the overall "whether to sue" cost evaluation. In addition to the above cost, there is two other costs specifically related to intellectual property lawsuits. The first one is that, according to Article 13.3 of the same Act, the court acceptance cost also includes an amount between 500 to 1000 RMB if there is no damage sought in the lawsuit. For example, this kind of lawsuit may include an action to determine the ownership issue of a patent, a dispute between inventors, etc. The second one is a 100 RMB cost for judicial review of an administrative action on patent, trademark, and marine time matters. (Article 13.5).

Written by Arthur Yuan.


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A new Act passed on 1st May 2012 implements radical changes to civil actions brought on a "no win no fee" basis and a ban on the payment of referral fees relating to personal injury claims.


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