Online platform aids overseas litigants

Updated: Jul 7, 2023 By Cao Yin Print
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An one-stop online platform aimed at serving overseas residents engaged in family disputes was opened by Longhua District People's Court in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, on Thursday.

The platform was set up to mark the one-year anniversary of the Shenzhen Family Trial Center Involving Hong Kong-Macao-Taiwan and Foreign Factors, a division of the court established on July 6, 2022.

As a division of the court, the center is responsible for handling first-instance cross-border family disputes, including those related to divorce, child custody, inheritance and property allocation.

Its establishment is to help efficiently solve the domestic problems of litigants from Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan and foreign countries so as to further promote the integrated development of rule of law in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

Data provided by the court showed the center has filed 640 such cases since its setup, covering 38 countries and regions.

To give residents from Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan and foreign countries easier access to litigation in the center, the court opened the platform "where they can enjoy various legal services, such as case filing, mediation, evidence exchange, case hearings and verdict delivery through the internet," Li Yuyuan, vice-president and spokeswoman of the court, said at a news conference on Thursday.

The court has also worked with the National Immigration Administration to help overseas litigants verify their identity via facial recognition to save on litigation costs.

Considering some litigants' difficulties in traveling to the center, the platform allows them to sign agreements with attorneys online, she said.

In addition, the platform also provides avenues for learning about extraterritorial laws, references, cases regarding family affairs for litigants and judges.

Data released by the court show some 6,000 cases and 222 extraterritorial laws, as well as 17 international treaties and regional legal assistance arrangements, can be found on the platform. The laws mainly cover Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan and countries such as the United States, Japan, Singapore, Canada and Australia.

With the platform as a new way to protect the rights of women and children in cross-border case handling, Li said they will develop more measures to enrich services at the center to promote integrated development of rule of law in the Greater Bay Area.

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