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Rules of Online Litigation of People’s Court

the Supreme People’s Court (“SPC”) held a press conference to announce the release of the Rules of Online Litigation of People’s Court (“the Rules”). The Rules are judicial interpretations formulated by the SPC and have legal effect, which will apply to more than 3,500 courts across the country and take effect on 1 August 2021.

The sudden appearance of the COVID-19 pandemic affected how to conduct litigations worldwide, including China. Under the promotion and guidance of the SPC, Chinese courts moved online right after the outbreak. Soon, online litigation has become the main approach for the public to get access to the judicial system. From 1 January 2020 to 31 May 2021, 12.19 million cases were filed online, accounting for 28.3% of the total number of the cases filed; 1.28 million online hearings were conducted, taking an average of 42.34 minutes for each hearing; as for court-referred mediation, 6.51 million cases were mediated online and 6.14 million cases were successfully mediated in the pre-trial state.

The Rules have 39 articles in total, covering the legal validity, basic principles, applicable scope and applicable conditions of online litigation. They give guidance on how to conduct particular litigation activities online, such as online case filing, online court-referred mediation, online exchange of evidence, online hearings, online judgment announcement and online enforcement.

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