Modernization aids transparency |


Modernization aids transparency

Updated: Nov 27, 2017 China Daily Print
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The nation's courts are being encouraged to embrace technology to modernize the work of the justice department and make it more transparent.

"We've taken a number of measures to set up information-based courts over the past few years, such as using voice-recording equipment in trials and establishing an online platform to improve communications between judges and lawyers," Zhou Qiang, president of the Supreme People's Court, said in March.

He urged courts at all levels to study the use of artificial intelligence "because the technology can make our work more active and improve our abilities in case hearings".

So far, 3,520 courts nationwide have connected to the Supreme People's Court's intranet system, speeding up the exchange of case information and improving efficiency, according to a statement issued by the nation's highest legal body.

To further accelerate the growth of the intranet system, the top court has implemented three online platforms which help litigants to bring lawsuits, search for verdicts when they are handed down and look for people who fail to comply with court rulings, it said.

"The platforms not only provide greater convenience for litigants, but also make our work more transparent and prevent judicial corruption," Zhou said, during a seminar in Gansu province in September.

Since 2013, when the platform for searching verdicts was opened to the public, around 30 million judgments have been disclosed and the website has been visited 3.4 billion times, according to the court.

China's first internet court began operations in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, on Aug 18. The new system allows people to register and submit legal documents, including evidence. Meanwhile, a small number of commercial cases, such as those related to poor quality of products purchased online, can be heard via an internet platform.

In addition to network applications, a court in Beijing began using WeChat in August.

"Litigants and lawyers can connect with us via their smartphones. Once they confirm their identities on WeChat they can use the app to find out how their case is progressing and when it will be heard by the court," said Mao Jinke, director of the enforcement office at Beijing Haidian District People's Court.

He regards the instant-messaging app as a bridge between judicial system employees and members of the public and suggested extending its use to more courts.

Jiao Hongchang, a professor of law at China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing, praised the greater use of technology in courts, but said more must be done to ensure it is used effectively.

"We've had various e-platforms, such as those that monitor the work of judicial employees and case filing, but they are not connected, which may hamper the courts' working efficiency," he said.

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