Electronic evidence allowed into courts
The Supreme People’s Court will allow mobile phone messages, e-mails, micro-blogging and online chat records to be used as evidence in civil lawsuits.
“The new measure will be conducive to safeguarding litigants’ legal rights and ensuring justice,” top court spokesman Sun Jungong said onWednesday.
Cases involving electronic messages have been on the rise in recent years and tend to be complex.
Courts around the country handled more than 4 million civil cases in 2014, up 15 percent year-on-year, according to the court.
Most involved marriage, property and debt, housing and labor disputes, as well as intellectual property disputes.
Electronic files and information were not previously identified by the courts as evidence, which greatly slowed the trial process and damaged the legitimate rights of the parties, said Li Wei, a lawyer from the Beijing Lawyers Association.
Du Wanhua, a senior judge at the top court, said they learned from the successful experiences of some Western countries and analyzed the practical needs for handling civil cases before they completed the electronicstandards.
Audio and video materials allowed as evidence also include sound recordings, image data, electronic signatures and domain names, according to the court.