China's first internet court to set up in Hangzhou city

(ezhejiang.gov.cn) Updated : 2017-06-29

Hangzhou, capital of East China's Zhejiang province, will be the home base for China's first online internet court.

The 36th meeting of the Central Leading Group for Deepening Overall Reform approved the move on June 26.

The internet court is an online branch of the court system that will deal with disputes related to the network, like network copyright and online transactions.

However, aside from the special focus on internet-related cases, the greatest breakthrough with the new court will be its innovative working mechanism, according to Zhao Zhanling, a well-known lawyer specializing in information technology.

Developed from the online session of Hangzhou Railway Transport Court, the new court has a foundation in internet technology. So far, filing cases, collecting materials and scanning evidence can be done online. An intelligent system helps create indictments according to the materials submitted.

In the future, the new court will make it possible to deal with all testimony, questioning and arguments through the website, even to hold an online trial via video call.

Judges at the internet court are required to have a good knowledge of the internet. "The judicial circle should bring together professionals familiar with the internet," Zhao said.

The choice of Hangzhou as the home of the country's first online-only court is not surprising as there are internet genes in the city.

Hangzhou, the cradle of many internet companies, has a well-developed internet economy, which has given rise to an increasing number of disputes related to the network. Demand for judicial management has become huge.

As early as in 2011, Hangzhou's court system began paying attention to cyberspace. In April 2015, three grass-roots courts in Xihu, Binjiang and Yuhang districts, along with Hangzhou Intermediate People's Court, were chosen as pilot courts dealing with disputes concerning online payments, network copyright and online transactions.

In August that year, a court platform went online and 15 courts across Zhejiang province joined in. Thus, the internet has been an important factor in the development of the court system in Zhejiang. Today, the establishment of Hangzhou internet court further demonstrates the deepening integration between the internet and the court system.

"It is a big step for online justice given the fact that the internet is developing very fast," said Wu Shenkuo, head of the research center of the Internet Society of China.