Courts to improve services for ethnic litigants
People living in China's ethnic areas will next year benefit from legal services to help them file lawsuits in their local languages, an official with the top court has said.
Courts nationwide have been urged to improve services and ease the procedural burden on litigants, while the Supreme People's Court will add multilingual services in ethnic areas by the end of next year, including in the autonomous regions of Tibet, Xinjiang and Guangxi, said Jiang Qibo, a chief judge with the top court.
"In ethnic regions, it's difficult to set up legal service platforms in ethnic languages," he said. "We have contacted experts in the industry and the study will take much time, but it aims to ensure accuracy of the services.
"The ethnic-language platforms will help litigants who are not fluent in Chinese file lawsuits and mediate disputes before trials. The better the services we provide, the more benefits litigants will get."
Litigants will also receive verdicts in their own language, which "can clear barriers in some lawsuits", he added.
The top court sent 15 teams to 32 provinces and municipalities in the summer to check whether local authorities were improving services as required. The inspections found that nearly all of the country's more than 3,500 courts had established service platforms, according to the top court.
Sixty-two percent had also launched online platforms to allow lawsuits to be filed and tracked at home, while 781 courts had introduced smartphone apps, the top court said.
Dong Bingbing, a judge with the Shushan district court in Anhui province, said its online platform had reduced the court's case burden. "Young litigants can now understand lawsuits and make appeals online, which increases our efficiency in case filings."
The online platform had also improved communication between litigants and judges by facilitating their ability to share messages and videos, Dong said, adding that the improvements not only allow litigants to understand the court's work, but also improve judicial credibility.