Courts see rapid growth in online hearings in H1 amid outbreak

( Updated : 2020-07-17

Chinese courts saw a rapid growth of online case hearings in the first six months of this year, providing strong legal protection to litigants during the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, China's top court said on July 16.

From January to June, courts across the country heard 13.2 million of cases, of which, 10.8 million have been concluded, according to a statistic released by the Supreme People's Court.

The number of online case hearings during the six months was 10 times that of the same period last year, it said, adding that online mediation also witnessed a 245-percent increase year-on-year.

For example, Beijing Chaoyang District People's Court heard more than 27,400 cases through the internet in the first half of this year, meeting the litigation demand of residents in a timely manner in the fight against the novel coronavirus pneumonia pandemic that prevents face-to-face activities and travels, it said.

"What we want is to minimize the outbreak's influence in litigation and try our best to uphold justice," the top court said in a statement, adding that providing 24-hour online legal service, such as online trials, is also to guarantee economic and social developments by rule of law.

A few courts, including those in Zhejiang province, in the meanwhile, have transferred their litigation to mobile networks. It means litigants can use their mobile phones to initiate lawsuits and enjoy the courts' services, the statement said.

To keep the stability of the society, the top court also worked with other authorities to issue a series of guidelines between January and June, strictly fighting offenses related to the outbreak, effectively preventing people from disturbing the control of infectious disease, and better guaranteeing resumption of business.