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China: Courts Required to Provide Judicial Process Information Through One Online Platform

(July 31, 2018) China’s highest court, the Supreme People’s Court (SPC), recently released the Provisions on the Publication of Judicial Process Information by People’s Courts on the Internet (SPC Provisions). Entering into effect on September 1, 2018, the Provisions require all courts in China to provide judicial process information through one online platform—the China Judicial Process Information Online— set up by the SPC. (Zuigao Renmin Fayuan Guanyu Renmin Fayuan Tongguo Hulianwang Gongkai Shenpan Liucheng Xinxi de Guiding [SPC Provisions on the Publication of Judicial Process Information on the Internet by People’s Courts] (Mar. 4, 2018, effective Sept. 1, 2018), SPC website, English translation available on the Westlaw China website (by subscription).)

The judicial process information required to be provided on the platform includes information on case filings and closings, prosecutors, organs carrying out criminal punishments, parties to the cases, courts and judges, adjudication procedures, periods of adjudication, services, appeals, and the time and venue of litigation activities. (Id. art. 7.)

Information on the platform is in general restricted to the parties to the cases and their legal representatives, agents, and defense counsels. Courts may, however, decide to make available such information of “cases with major social impact” to the general public. (Id. art. 1.)

The SPC Provisions also encourage courts to implement the use of more electronic tools in providing judicial process information, such as mobile phones, litigation service platforms, voice messages, and emails. (Id. art. 3.) Besides the website, the SPC’s own judicial process information platform, for example, provides information through a mobile phone app, WeChat (a Chinese messaging and social media system comparable to WhatsApp or Facebook), and an official micro blog. (Zuigao Renmin Fayuan Shenpan Liucheng Xinxi Gongkai Wang [SPC Judicial Process Information Network] (last visited July 31, 2018).)

The platform has started running with currently available information on courts of Hebei Province, Jiangsu Province, Qinghai Province, and the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. Other courts are gradually uploading their information. (Zhongguo Shenpan Liucheng Xinxi Gongkai Wang [China Judicial Process Information Online] (last visited July 31, 2018).) The SPC has also required Chinese courts to publish their judgments on another SPC platform, China Judgements Online, since 2013. (Homepage, ZHONGGUO CAIPAN WENSHU WANG [CHINA JUDGMENTS ONLINE] (last visited  July 31, 2018); Laney Zhang, China: Rules of Online Publication of Court Judgments Revised, GLOBAL LEGAL MONITOR (Feb. 9, 2017).)