China opened a second internet court on Sunday to address the rising disputes and problems caused by its ever-growing reliance on cyberspace.
The Beijing Internet Court, situated in a Fengtai district technology zone in the southwest of the capital, will mainly handle internet and intellectual property rights cases, such as disputes involving online loans, online shopping contracts and online copyright issues, the Supreme People’s Court wrote in an online judicial interpretation.
The IP rulings of the district-level court, which has 38 judges, can be appealed at the Beijing Intellectual Property Court, and its other cases at the Beijing No 4 Intermediate People’s Court.
“Lots of internet and technology enterprises are based in the city, bringing cyber prosperity as well as a boom in related disputes,” Beijing High People’s Court spokesman An Fengde said on Sunday after the internet court opened in the morning.
From January through August this year, 37,631 internet-related cases were filed in Beijing, a 24.4 percent year-on-year increase, according to the Beijing High People’s Court.
“We expect litigants will have access to more efficient and faster legal services in the court, which is equipped with high-technology devices, and of which they can be assured their personal information will be fully protected,” An said.
“The court will also be a base for studying new-type online disputes and hot issues in the industry,” he added.
Liu Shuhan, a judge at the court, said one of its key features is that litigants can handle their lawsuits entirely online — they are not required to go to the court in person at any point from the case filing to the hearing.
Litigants can submit materials, track their lawsuits, attend the case hearings and communicate with judges after registering an account on the website bjinternet.gov.cn, where their identities will be confirmed by facial recognition and real-name authentication technology, Liu said.
“This court’s convenience comes from the high-tech devices,” she said. “For example, we have an automated document generating system that writes out the standard information in rulings, leaving only the case-specifics to the judges, and an electronic delivery system that sends verdicts to litigants much quicker than before.”
On Aug 18 last year, China established its first internet court in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, in answer to the burgeoning disputes regarding online purchases and financial activities in the area.
Since then, the Hangzhou court has handled more than 11,000 cases, 9,600 of which have been concluded. The average trial lasted 38 days, about half as long as in conventional courts.
That experience, and the quickly increasing growth in internet-related disputes nationwide, led the central leadership to decide in July to set up two more internet courts, in Beijing and Guangzhou, Guangdong province. The Guangzhou court will open by the end of this month.