Online Litigation Rules for People’s Courts were promulgated on 16 June 2021, and entered into force on 1 Aug. 2021.
There are 39 articles in total. The Rules aim to promote and regulate online litigation activities, and improve online litigation rules.
The key points are as follows:
People’s courts, parties concerned and other litigation participants may rely on electronic litigation platforms to complete all or part of the litigation process online through the Internet or private networks, such as case filing, mediation, exchange of evidence, inquiry, trial and service.
When conducting online litigation, people’s courts shall obtain the consent of the parties concerned, and inform them of the specific procedures, main forms, rights and obligations, legal consequences, operational practice for online litigation.
A people’s court may, based on the choice of the parties concerned and the circumstances of a case, organize the parties concerned to exchange evidence online, and conduct online presentation and examination of evidence through synchronous or asynchronous means. Where the parties concerned agree with the online exchange of evidence but fail to agree on the specific method, synchronous exchange of evidence online shall apply.
Where the electronic data submitted by a party concerned as evidence has been stored through blockchain technology and has been verified by technology, the people’s court may hold that such electronic data has not been tampered with after being chained, unless there is sufficient evidence to the contrary to rebut the presumption.
For cases involving State security, State secrets or personal privacy, the online trial process shall not be made public on the internet. For civil cases involving juveniles, commercial secrets and divorce, if the parties concerned apply for a private trial, the online trial process may not be made public on the Internet. Without the consent of a people’s court, no one may, in violation of laws and regulations, record, intercept or disseminate audio, video, graphic or text materials related to the online trial process.