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December 1, 2018 Vol. 73 No. 20 Back to Bulletin Main Page

CHINA: Two Internet Courts Start Operation

Two new Internet courts in Beijing and Guangzhou officially opened on September 9 and September 28, 2018, respectively.

On September 7, 2018, the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) announced the opening of Internet courts in the two cities, where e-commerce is booming, which are aimed at developing an efficient, orderly, and convenient Internet-based court system to modernize the country’s judicial system. According to the regulation for Internet courts issued by the SPC, the courts will primarily handle civil and administrative cases related to the Internet, such as contract disputes involving online shopping, service and small loans, online copyright infringements, domain name disputes, and some administrative lawsuits in connection with the Internet.

The courts will handle proceedings largely online, including filing of lawsuits, mediation, exchanging evidence, hearings, and announcing judgments. All actions will be conducted through a customized Internet platform. The hearings will be conducted via live streaming on the same platform.

China opened its first Internet court in Hangzhou, the capital of eastern China’s Zhejiang Province and the headquarters of Alibaba Group, in August last year to cater to the increasing number of online disputes. It is reported that in the Hangzhou Internet Court, each online hearing takes about 28 minutes on average—only 40 percent of the time needed compared with a traditional offline hearing. The total timeline for proceedings in each case is about 41 days—half the time needed for a traditional case. So far, it is reported that the Hangzhou Internet Court has heard approximately 12,000 cases and finalized approximately 10,600.

Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of items in the INTA Bulletin, readers are urged to check independently on matters of specific concern or interest. Law & Practice updates are published without comment from INTA except where it has taken an official position.

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