Court trial goes online in China amid virus outbreak
INAN -- A court trial went online in east China's Shandong Province amid the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in China.
No plaintiff, defendant or agent showed up on Feb 3 at the intermediate people's court of the city of Binzhou. Instead, the court heard the case via a group video call to prevent the gathering of people.
The case concerned labor contract disputes and the trial went on for more than 70 minutes, with legal procedures completed online. After the trial, court authorities will send the legal documents to the parties by mail.
"The judges can not only ensure the parties' legitimate interests but also avoid risks of epidemic spread," said Li Jun, acting president of the court.
China set up its first internet court in the eastern city of Hangzhou in August 2017, followed by the establishment of similar courts in Beijing and Guangzhou in September 2018.
Internet courts in Hangzhou, Beijing and Guangzhou had accepted close to 120,000 cases as of Oct. 31, 2019, reducing the time of handling cases by nearly 50 percent, according to a white paper released by the Supreme People's Court.
On average, it took 45 minutes for online hearings and 38 days to conclude a case. Up to 98 percent of the parties accepted first-instance judgments without appeal.