On 17 June 2021, China’s Supreme People’s Court (SPC) issued the “Online Litigation Rules for People's Courts” (hereinafter referred to as the "Rules", 人民法院在线诉讼规则) to further standardize the litigation process in the form of judicial interpretations, such as online case filing, mediation, inquiry, evidence exchange, court hearing, judgment rendering, and enforcement, etc.
The Rules consists of 39 articles, covering the legal effect of online litigation, basic principles, the scope of application, as well as the online procedural rules for major proceedings, such as case filing and enforcement. Pursuant to the Rules, online litigation may be handled online throughout the whole process or in a specific phrase.
The Rules clarifies the standards on the use of electronic evidence and electronic service in online litigation.
In terms of the validity of electronic evidence, the Rules specifies that, to the extent that it is safe and reliable, the electronic evidence shall be deemed as originals and the examination and verification rules for electronic materials are clarified. The Rules expands the ways in which litigants submit litigation materials, and ensures the authenticity of electronic materials.
In terms of blockchain evidence, the Rules confirms the presumed untampered effectiveness of the data after being stored in the blockchain, and clarifies the examination standards for the authenticity of blockchain-stored evidence.
In terms of electronic service, the Rules, aiming at problem-solving, comprehensively stipulates the applicable conditions, the scope of content, means of electronic service, etc. On the basis of fully respecting the wills of the parties, the Rules strengthens the application of electronic service and gives full consideration to the accuracy and efficiency of service process.
Cover Photo by Grey Zhang (https://unsplash.com/@greyzhang) on Unsplash
Contributors: CJO Staff Contributors Team