Abstract：In the context of advancing the rule of law in an all-round way, the Third Plenary Session and the Fourth Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee of the CPC successively proposed that a scientific rule of law construction index system and assessment standards should be established, and a third-party evaluation mechanism should be introduced in the construction of the rule of law and judicial reform to better monitor the effects of judicial civilization development. The establishment and improvement of the judicial civilization evaluation mechanism is conducive to promoting the comprehensive construction of Chinese judicial civilization in various fields.It helps to advance Chinese judicial civilization at the world level. However, the practice of judicial evaluation, shows various and significantly differing results. For example, the average score of Chinese justice in the ″WJP Rule of Law Index″ from 2015 to 2020 is less than 50 points, which contrasts with the results of the self-evaluation by the domestic judicial agencies or the entrusted third-party evaluation, which appear to be unreasonably high, with an average of over 80 points.
The contrast in the results of various evaluation systems has raised concerns over the actual level of Chinese judicial development. Based on an analysis of the survey data from the Chinese Justice Index 2015-2019, this article attempts to reveal the development trajectory and overall level of Chinese judicial civilization in the past five years, and analyze the reasons for the obvious differences of various evaluations, and to foreground the future direction of judicial reform. The main findings of this study are as follows:
First of all, the Chinese Justice Index rose from 64.5 points in 2015 to 70 points in 2019,considered a ″passing″ degree indicating that the development of Chinese judicial civilization is progressing, and reflecting the effectiveness of China’s comprehensive promotion of the rule of law and the deepening judicial reforms in recent years.
Second, the development of Chinese judicial civilization has problems of inter-provincial asynchronization and regional imbalance. From 2015 to 2019, there were differences in the level of judicial development among different provinces, showing that there were inconsistencies in the inter-provincial comparison. The score of the Chinese Justice Index in the economically developed eastern regions was higher than that of the central and western regions, which indicates that there are regional differences in the degree of judicial civilization development between the eastern, central and western regions, but these differences are gradually shrinking.
Third, the development of the internal structure of judicial civilization is not synchronized, and shows a different ordering pattern, indicating that there is a structural imbalance in the construction of judicial civilization, so it is necessary to maintain the coordination of different dimensions of judicial civilization. At the same time, the indicators of judicial civilization show the trajectory of stepped changes with the passage of time, and the fluctuations between the annual values of indicators, indicating that the progress of judicial civilization is a fluctuating process with a rising overall trend, so it is more important to emphasize the sustainable development of judicial civilization.
Finally, through the analysis of five-year survey data from the Chinese Justice Index, we also found that judicial powers, litigant rights, civil judicial procedures, criminal justice procedures, administrative judicial procedures and judicial publicity constitute the main dimensions of judicial civilization progress or strength, while the evidence system, judicial corruption containment, legal professionalization and judicial culture are the weak points. Therefore, in order to carry out judicial system reform, strengthening the construction of weak indicators in judicial civilization such as judicial culture, legal professionalization, and protection of the rights of litigants, as well as improving the judicial reform evaluation mechanism.