Triedand teste­donline

The world’s first In­ter­net court launched as China keeps pace with grow­ing dig­i­tal trends

ChinAfrica - - Cover Story -

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.

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