Chinese courts are going digital with facilities, including watching proceedings live, filing a lawsuit online and paying legal fees via mobile phones in a bid to bring more transparency and improving public image of the judiciary.
The Internet has made Chinese courts more accessible, transparent and even cool, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Most courts have established or are establishing online service platforms.
“If you are located in Shanghai and want to file a lawsuit, you can just log onto the website of the Shanghai Higher People’s Court, enter the lawsuit service page and choose a court in your administrative district,” the report said.
“Following the procedure, you fill in the personal information of all parties and the appeal, upload the plaintiff’s identification and evidence, then submit it for the court’s review,” it said.
Applicants are promised a reply, and they can track the process of the review.
China plans to digitalise all its courts by the end of 2017, to give all people access to them via computer and mobile phone anytime, anywhere.
Northeast China’s Jilin was the first to operate a provincial e-court in June.
Before its trial-run, provincial higher court chief Wang Changsong went to South Korea to learn from similar systems being used there.
The digital platform of Guangdong Higher People’s Court allows interaction between the public and legal staff. Users can raise questions with judges.
In case of emergency, the platform also enables lawyers to quickly get in touch with judges, raising work efficiency, said Liu Tao, supervisor of the Guangdong lawyers’ association.
As China promotes integration of the Internet into industry and business, technology should be used to improve court work and help meet people’s demands, said He Rong, deputy head of the Supreme People’s Court (SPC).
All Chinese non-military courts have been linked to a central database to which they are encouraged to upload information on trials, verdicts and the implementation of court decisions.
The project will make information more accessible to the public, while ensuring data is better managed, the SPC said.
It also links the courts with government branches and banks, facilitating enquiries and the freezing of accounts that belong to those who default on court decisions.
Moreover, 3,261 courts now have accounts on Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter. The SPC’s account has 13 million followers.
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