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SPC Notice on Strengthening Online Litigation Work During the Period of Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia Epidemic Prevention and Control

Promulgation Date: 2020-2-14
Title: SPC Notice on Strengthening Online Litigation Work During the Period of Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia Epidemic Prevention and Control
Document Number:法〔2020〕49号
Expiration date: 
Promulgating Entities: Supreme People's Court
Source of text:

High people's courts of all provinces, autonomous regions and directly governed municipalities, the PLA military courts, High People's Court of Xinjiang Uyghur autonomous region branch of the production and construction Corps:

In order to implement the spirit of General Secretary Xi Jinping's important directives on efforts to prevent and control the novel coronavirus pneumonia epidemic, to resolutely implement the Party Central Commission's major decisions and deployments, to effectively prevent and control the epidemic, to truly safeguard the people's security in their lives and their physical health, to protect the lawful rights and interests, to provide forceful judicial safeguards for epidemic prevention and control by promoting online litigation, and to ensure that online litigation activities are regular and orderly, notice is given as follows on completing efforts related to online litigation in the people's courts during the period for epidemic prevention and control.

I. All levels of peoples' court should elevate political positions, fully recognize the importance and seriousness of epidemic prevention and control, truly increase the sense of responsibility and urgency, and, based on trial functions, strive to serve and ensure the big picture of epidemic prevention and control work. 要将深入推进在线诉讼作为坚决打赢防控疫情的人民战争、总体战、阻击战的重要举措,积极依托中国移动微法院、诉讼服务网、12368诉讼服务热线等在线诉讼平台,全面开展网上立案、调解、证据交换、庭审、宣判、送达等在线诉讼活动,有效满足疫情防控期间人民群众司法需求,确保人民法院审判工作平稳有序运行。

II. In promoting online litigation, all levels of people's court should both fully consider factors such as the case type, difficulty, and priority, and also truly protect parties' lawful procedural rights and interests, respecting the parties' right to select the model for case handling, and comprehensively informing them of their rights, obligations, and legal consequences in online litigation. Where parties consent to online handling of a case, they shall confirm and mark this on the information system, to ensure the legal validity of related procedural activities. Where parties do not consent to online handling of the case and lawfully apply for an extension of trial, the people's courts shall approve it, and must not compel the use of online litigation. Where cases meet the procedural law requirements for suspending trial, the people's courts may suspend proceedings.

III. All levels of people's court should actively guide all litigating entities to lawfully and orderly carry out online litigation activities, forcefully improving online case-handling process and litigation procedures, drafting and publishing operational guides for online litigation that have complete contents, clear directions, and are simple to use, but the content must not go beyond the provisions of existing laws and judicial interpretations. Courts implementing work on the pilot civil procedure reform of separating complicated and simple cases shall stricly follow the "Supreme People's Court Implement Measures for the Pilot Civil Procedure Reform of Separating Simple and Complicated Cases) (Fa (2020) No. 11, hereinafter (Pilot Implementation Measures) ) within the scope of their authorization from the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress,in promoting online litigation work. Each high people's court should draft written notices on rights and obligations in online litigation, online litigation procedures, operation guidelines for online litigation, and so forth for courts within their jurisdiction, and conduct comprehensive reviews to ensure that their contents comply with law, are accurate, and feasible.

IV. All levels of people's courts handling cases online should ensure the true identities of all litigation participants, completing online identification verification by using comparison with identification document photos, biometric recognition, linkage with real name verified cell phones, and other such methods; and provide each participant party with a litigation platform account so that "personal, case, and account numbers' are consistent.

V. Where parties and their agents ad litem submit applications to file a case through online methods, the people's courts shall conduct a review within 7 days of receiving the materials for initiating the litigation, and where the legally-prescribed requirements for initiating litigation are met, they shall register and file the case; where the submitted materials do not meet the requirements, the people's courts shall request they be supplemented through the online litigation platform, and give a one-time notification of the content to supplemented and the time limits, and where the period is exceeded, the materials are to be rejected; and where the materials do not meet requirements, but the plaintiffs resolutely continue to sue after an explanation from the people's courts, a ruling or decision to not accept or not file the case is to be made.

Where parties and their agents ad litem truly have difficulties submitting case filing materials online, they may select to submit materials at a nearby court. The relevant people's courts shall follow the work mechanisms and procedures for filing cross-region cases to promptly handle case filing formalities.

VI. All levels of people's court should increase the degree of conflict and dispute resolution during the period of epidemic prevention and control, relying on the online diversified conflict resolution platform to strengthen coordination and cooperation with relevant units such as the judicial administrative departments and lawyers associations, and further integrating all dispute resolution forces such as for people's mediation, administrative mediation, industry mediation, and lawyer mediation, to effectively promote online resolution of conflicts and disputes. Mechanisms connecting litigation and mediation should be actively improved, expanding the degree of judicial safeguards for diverse dispute resolution mechanisms online. Where parties submit applications for judicial confirmation of mediation agreements reached online, and the legal requirements are met, the people's courts shall promptly confirm it in accordance with law.

VII. Where parties and their agents ad litem use digitized methods to submit litigation materials and evidence, after they are approved by the people's court, hard copy originals need not be submitted. Where parties and their agents ad litem use methods such as mail to submit hard copy materials, the people's courts shall promptly scan them and record them in the case-handling system. Hard-copy original materials that are provided should be promptly filed. The people's courts shall actively guide parties and their agents ad litem to submit digitalized materials, and provide them with platform support and technical facilitation.

VIII. All levels of people's court should actively expand and orderly regulate online trials, comprehensively considering factors such as the technical capacity, case circumstances, and the parties' wishes, to determine whether to use online trial methods. Commercial civil matters and administrative cases may generally all use online methods to hold court proceedings, but where cases should not apply online hearings where there are circumstance such as the parties on both sides not consenting to online trial, not having the technical capacity for online trials, or where it is necessary to clarify indentities, compare original documents, or inspect phsyical items, Criminal cases may employ remote video methods to interrogate the defendants, announce verdicts, hear cases on commutation and parole, and so forth. In simple criminal cases applying the simplified procedures, expedited procedures, plea leniency cases, and criminal cases of obstructing epidemic prevention and control, remote video methods may be explored for holding court proceedings.

Online trial activities shall comply with laws and judicial interpretations on litigation, and fully ensure parties' procedural rights such as to apply for recusals, present evidence, debate evidence, make statements, and debate. Online trials shall be conducted through online video and must not employ written or voice methods.

People's courts carrying out online trials shall generally conduct them in the courtroom. Where due to the needs of epidemic prevention and control judges truly need to conduct online court proceedings from other locations, they shall report the court president for their approval and ensure the solemnity of the venue and normal trial etiquette. People's courts shall refer to the relevant provisions of the "P.R.C. People's Court Courtroom Rules" and strengthen procedural guidance for participants in online trials, clarify discipline for online trials, and ensure that the trial process is safe and civil, regular and orderly.

Where parties clearly consent to online trial but do not timely participate or leave in the middle of the trial of their own violation, they may be found to have 'refused to appear at court' or 'leaving court midway" except where it is a clear network error, equipment failure, electricity interruption, or force majeure, and adressed as provided for in procedural laws and judical interpretations.

People's courts shall actively us voice recognition technology to create a simultaneous digital court record, and to be verified online by adjudicators, judges' assistants, clerks, parties, and their agents ad litem, to ensure the validity of online trial activities. During the course of online trials, the "SPC's Several Provisions on A/V Recording of Trials" should be followed to make and store an A/V recording of the entire process.

IX. During the period of epidemic prevention and control, as needed for work and based on their technical capacity, each level of people's court may permit judges to remotely access digital case files, deliberate cases, write and submit judgement documents, and so forth, but shall strictly comply with provisions on the management of digital case files and confidentiality work.

X. Each local people's court should increase the extent of electronic service to increase the quality and efficiency of service. With the consent of the party being served, electronic means such as the China mobile micro courts, the China trial process information disclosure network, the national uniform service platform, fax, e-mail, and instant messenger accounts may be used to serve litigation documents and for parties to submit evidence.

Courts in the pilot on the civil procedure reform of separating simple from complicated cases shall follow articles 24-26 of the "Pilot Implementation Measures" to lawfully and orderly carry out efforts on electronic service. Courts that are not in the pilot may reference articles 24-26 of the "Pilot Implementation Measures" for the requirements for using electronic service and its validity standards, but must not employ electronic service for judgment documents, rulings, or mediation documents, to ensure that the people's courts' electronic service conforms to provisions of procedural laws and judicial interpretations.

XI. All levels of people court should vigorously advance the establishment of one-stop diversified dispute resolution mechanisms and one-stop litigation services centers, upgrade online litigation services platforms, and expand the functionality of online litigation services to provide full litigation services to the public online, such as for litigation inquiries, payment and return of fees, information inquiries, contacting judges, appeals petitions, reports, and complaints; to ensure that parties can obtain judicial information and handle litigation matters without leaving their homes, truly reducing the number of people going out and congregating, so as to serve the epidemic prevention and control efforts.

12. The Internet courts in Hangzhou, Beijing and Guangzhou should make full use of the advantages of first-mover advantage and intensify their exploration of the construction of case-handling platforms, online litigation processes, the application of emerging technologies, and online litigation rules, and so forth. From a foundation of ensuring that the full process of internet cases are tried online, accelerate increases to the level of smart features in trial enforcement work, strengthen the research and application in areas such as big data, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and 5G technology, and explore samples of practice in forming smart courts, and summarize and put together advanced experiences that can be reproduced and spread. Based on their own functional position, actively explore the electronic litigation rules for the Internet era, promote and improve substantive rules for Internet judicial governance, give full play to the leading and exemplary role of Internet courts in conceptual, technological, and institutional innovation, and effectively promote legalizing governance of cyberspace.

XIII. All levels of people's courts should greatly emphasize efforts to advance online litigation during the period of epidemic prevention and control, truly optimizing the concept, deepening understanding, transforming thinking, and making online litigation the basic model for courts carrying out trial work in the special period, and ensuring that teams do not drift, that work is not interrupted, and that quality and efficiency do not drop; and to build a good foundation in practice for productive exploration into models of internet justice and to The presidents of all levels of people's court should be the primary responsible person for promoting online litigation and should clarify the thinking for the effort, clear up work mechanisms, increase the strength of organizational implementation, actively lead the way in methods for handling cases online, give play to leadership and regulatory roles, and promote online case handling becoming a normalized mechanism in the period of for prevention and control of the epidemic.

XIV. All levels of people's court should forcefully strengthen the construction of digitalization infrastructure, actively expanding the use of China Mobile Micro Court, accelerating the building of an online litigation platform using the China Mobile Micro Court as the main portal, promote connections between existing online litigation service platforms and the China Mobile Micro Court, and integrate and improve all types of information system to prevent duplicative construction and development in different areas. Efforts should be made to open up internal and external networks bringing about safe and effective exchange of judicial data. Based on the existing platform system, strengthen related work modules, expand and optimize all functions for online litigation, connect with the demands of practice, and optimize usage interfaces improve user experience and ensure that the online litigation services system is complete, effective, and convenient.

XV. High people's courts should actively complete overall guidance work such as promoting online litigation in the courts in the jurisdiction, drafting and issuing related procedural rules and document templates, increasing the extent of guidance for lower levels, and ensuring that online litigation activities are regular and uniform, lawful and orderly. Persist in promoting, summarizing and researching while constantly summarizing and refining measures and experiences of the courts in the jurisdiction that are conducive to promoting online litigation, earnestly collect the existing problems and difficulties, put forward specific solutions or suggestions, promptly form a work report and submit it to the office of the Supreme People's Court's Leading Group for Judicial Reform.

Supreme People's Court

February 14, 2020


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