Online Mediation Rules of the People’s Courts (2)
Article 11 Online mediation shall generally be carried out by one mediator. If the case is major, complicated or highly specialized, it may be mediated by two or more mediators, and one of them shall be jointly selected by the parties to preside over the mediation. If the joint selection cannot be made, the people’s court shall designate a mediator to preside over the mediation.
Article 12 A mediation organization or mediator shall, within three business days after receiving the information of the entrusted mediation from the people’s court or the online mediation application from the parties concerned, confirm to accept the appointment and entrustment by the people’s court or the mediation application from the parties concerned. If the dispute does not fall within the scope of mediation or areas of business specified in the articles of association of the mediation organization, or obviously exceeds the mediator’ expertise, or there are other circumstances in which it is inappropriate to accept the mediation, the mediation organization or mediator may reject the mediation after stating the reasons.
If the mediation organization or mediator refuses to accept or does not confirm within the prescribed time limit, the people’s court, the parties concerned may appoint or select a new mediation organization or mediator.
Article 13 A person presiding over or participating in online mediation shall disclose any of the following circumstances before accepting the mediation or during the mediation:
(I) Being a party to the dispute or a close relative of a party concerned or an agent ad litem;
(II) Holding a stake in the dispute; or
(III) Having other relations with a party concerned or an agent ad litem that may affect the fairness of mediation.
If the parties concerned agree to continue the mediation after being informed by the mediation organization or the mediator of the above circumstances, or is well aware of the above circumstances, the mediation organization or the mediator shall continue to mediate.
Article 14 During online mediation, the parties concerned may apply for replacing the mediation organization or mediator. After the replacement, if the parties concerned still disagree and refuse to make their own choice, the parties shall be deemed to have refused mediation.
Article 15 Where one of the parties applies for online mediation before filing the case, the people’s court shall consult the other party’s willingness to mediate. A mediator may assist the people’s court in notifying the other party and asking whether to agree to the mediation within three business days from the date of accepting the appointment of mediation by the people’s court.
If the other party refuses mediation or cannot be reached, the mediator shall specify the reasons, terminate the online mediation procedure, promptly return the relevant materials to the people’s court, and notify the parties concerned.
Article 16 The person presiding over an online mediation shall, prior to organizing the mediation, confirm the methods by which the parties concerned participate in the mediation, and handle the case in accordance with the following circumstances:
(I) If all the parties concerned can use audio and video technologies, the parties shall log on to the mediation platform of the people’s courts at the same appointed time; if it is impossible for the parties to log in at the same time, with the consent of all parties concerned, audio and video mediation shall be conducted for the parties separately at designated time.
(II) If some of the parties concerned do not have the technical conditions to use audio and video technologies, places and audio and video equipment shall be provided for them to participate in online mediation at the litigation service center of the people’s court, the mediation organization or in any other convenient places.
If neither party has the technical conditions to use audio and video technologies or the parties refuse to mediate through audio and video, the time and venue for on-site mediation shall be determined.
In the course of an online mediation, if some of the parties concerned suggest that it is inappropriate to mediate through audio and video, the mediator may, upon consent by other parties, organize on-site mediation.
Article 17 Prior to the commencement of an online mediation, the person presiding over the mediation shall verify the identity of the parties concerned and other participants in the mediation by means of online comparison of identity documents and photos, and inform them of the legal consequences of false mediation. For mediation before case filing, the mediator shall also guide the parties concerned to fill in the Confirmation of Address for Service and other relevant materials.
Article 18 In the course of online mediation, the parties concerned may express their willingness and propose dispute resolution plans on their own in such forms as voice, text or video. Except for the undisputed facts confirmed jointly, the facts and evidence admitted by the parties concerned to make a compromise for a mediation agreement shall not be taken as the basis or evidence against such parties in the litigation, unless otherwise stipulated by law or agreed by the parties concerned.
Article 19 Where a mediator organizes the parties concerned to reach an agreement on all or part of the mediation request, the mediator shall produce or upload the mediation agreement online, and the parties concerned and the mediator shall sign and seal the mediation agreement electronically. If a mediation agreement is reached under the guidance of a mediation organization, it shall also be affixed with the electronic seal of the mediation organization. If the mediation organization does not have an electronic seal, it may upload the mediation agreement with its seal to the mediation platform of the people’s court.
A mediation agreement shall come into force when all the parties concerned have affixed their signatures and seals thereon electronically, and shall be served on the parties concerned through the mediation platform of the people’s courts. Where there is a payment obligation in a mediation agreement, the parties concerned shall take the initiative to perform it according to the mediation agreement.
Article 20 If the parties concerned reach a mediation agreement before case filing, the mediator shall make a record in the mediation record, close the case by mediation as an alternative to litigation, and guide the parties concerned to perform it voluntarily. If a mediation agreement may be applied for judicial confirmation according to the laws and judicial interpretations, the parties concerned may file the application online, and the people’s court shall rule that the mediation agreement is valid after reviewing the application and deciding that it complies with the provisions of the laws.
If the parties concerned reach a mediation agreement after the case filing, they may request the people’s court to produce mediation papers or apply for withdrawal of lawsuit. If the people’s court finds after reviewing that it complies with the provisions of the laws, it may produce a mediation document or ruling to close the case.