Online Trials Propel the Use of the Smart Court in China

Jun 26, 2020
Danlei Wu of Fangda Partners discusses the rise of online courts used to resolve disputes particularly in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic where areas have been under lockdown and highlights the benefits and disadvantages of the use of online trials that will likely be incorporated as a norm in legal practice

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As the initial epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, China implemented strict lockdown and preventative measures, which led to many people staying at home and adopt new ways of working. China’s judiciary also adapted by applying (智慧法院) system that assisted with the steady progress of court proceedings. The Smart Court is an integration of platforms and measures to improve the quality and efficiency of judicial practices with the application of advanced technologies such as cloud computing and big data. The Smart Court system generally comprises of: (1) smart adjudication, such as the application of speech recognition to automatically generate transcripts for court hearings; (2) smart enforcement, i.e., the creation of a unitary credit system to restrain people who default on their court orders; and (3) smart service, such as online case-docketing.

Although the lockdown and preventative measures are gradually being relaxed with the resumption of economic and social life, it is likely that the Smart Court will continue to have a presence and become the norm in legal practice.

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