The world’s first Internet court launched as China keeps pace with growing digital trends
THE name Zhen Huan has once again become a household name across China. On August 18, 2017, the author of the popular novel featuring Zhen’s life in the imperial court in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), now also a hit TV series, filed the first case tried by the first online court, Hangzhou Court of the Internet, in China - and the world.
Writer Wu Xuelan sued China’s Internet giant Netease, claiming the company infringed on her copyright by offering online readers the novel without her consent.
The popular novel and TV series tell the tale of Zhen’s survival as Emperor Yongzheng’s concubine in a palace full of cunning plots and webs of deceit.
The whole trial in the Hangzhou Court of the Internet lasted about 20 minutes with the two sides agreeing on a settlement. The plaintiff and defendant sat in front of their computers in Hangzhou and Beijing respectively and communicated with the judge via video. Internet technology now makes it possible for people from different locations to have a real-time trial.
“Breaking geographical restrictions, legal hearings and trials online saved litigants’ time and travel costs and allow courts to provide better and faster judicial services regarding to Internet-related cases,” said Du Qian, President of the court.
Handling the entire procedure online, the court specializes in Internet-related cases arising from online purchases or contract disputes, online loans and lawsuits against intellectual property rights infringements.
By registering on the court’s website, plaintiffs can file lawsuits, submit relevant evidence and pay litigation fees online. Later, the system automatically delivers notification to defendants. A case could be filed in just five minutes. The public can also watch the trial online after they get a code from the court. “With the help of the online system, the court could hear a case and decide [on a ruling] in 25 minutes,” said Du.
Developed from the online session of the Hangzhou Railway Transport Court, the new court has a foundation in Internet technology. As of August 15, the court had accepted 2,605 cases since this May, among which 1,444 had been concluded online.