Venerdì, 25 Agosto 2017 18:05

China inaugurates the first Cyber (State) Civil Court worldwide: is the digital justice revolution already here?


On August the 18th, in China, the Hangzhou Cyber Civil Court heard its first civil trial, dealing with a copyright infringement case between a novelist and a web company that offered her novel to its online subscribers without her permission. All the actors of the trial met via video chat.  

The Judge presiding over the case was indeed conducting the hearing from a Hangzhou-based courtroom, equipped with technological facilities allowing the members of the public to watch a projection of the video, while a computer program transcribed the minute of the trial.

On their side, the lawyers had the possibility to take part to the hearing from wherever they could access a computer provided with an internet connection. All of it, in an overall time of around 20 minutes.

The Hangzhou cyber-Court will handle cases such as online trade disputes, copyright lawsuits and product liability claims for online purchases, with the declared pursue to provide a judicial guarantee for maintaining cyber security, resolving online disputes and promoting the integration of the Internet with society and the economy.

Anyone willing to submit a case dealing with these subjects will be enabled to file all required petitions and documents online, as well as to pay online any fees related to the trial.

Court notifications will be delivered online and - for those who cannot have access to the procedure using a personally owned computer -  public terminals will be made available at the courthouse.

China isn't the only Country who shows concrete interest for online civil trials: Canada recently launched an online tribunal for small claims up to 5,000 dollars value. In turn, the UK recently announced a 28 months pilot program, aimed at the digital settlement for money claims under £10,000.

Nonetheless, it does not seem a mere coincidence that the first Civil Cyber Court worldwide - whose competence is not limited to small claims, covering on the opposite all the range of civil disputes suitable to emerge in the digital economy - was established exactly where the giant of the e-commerce Alibaba seats.

The founder and CEO of the Company, Mr. Jack Ma, has indeed since always been advocating for it. This could serve - also for traditionally bureaucratic countries - as a positive example of how, sometimes, the private sector can be an unforeseen leader in bringing change and growth to the functioning of the public sector and to the innovation of the society.

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