The app, developed by the Beijing High People’s Court, is called Yunshenpan, which literally means “trial in the cloud”.
Last Tuesday, Chen finished hearing a private loan dispute through the platform with a video communication system, “which not only met the litigation demands of the two parties, but also ensured their health and safety during the epidemic period,” she said.
Before the hearing, she first got the litigants’ approval and taught them to install software on a laptop or download a smartphone app.
“It was easy. It took them about two or three minutes to log in to the system, and both of the litigants could talk with each other and also with me online quickly,” she said.
A lawyer for one of the litigants was in the Ningxia Hui autonomous region.
“If he was back in Beijing to attend the trial, he would have first had to be quarantined for at least 14 days, which means our hearing might not have begun on time,” Chen said.
“But thanks to the platform, the difficulty was solved.”
Originally, all of the judge’s case hearings scheduled for the following week were cancelled due to the epidemic, but since the platform was put into use last Monday, “my concerns about trial delays have been alleviated a lot,” she added.
Statistics released by the High Court yesterday also showed that courts across the city have used the online platform to hear cases 78 times since it launched last Monday, helping reduce visits and gatherings in courts.
Li Xiang, director of the technology department in the High Court, said the platform could support up to eight people to communicate by video at once during a trial, “and the litigation process will be recorded via a video recognition system”.
Considering that the epidemic may last for some time, the Supreme People’s Court has ordered courts at all levels to guide litigants to file cases or mediate disputes online, encouraging judges to make full use of online systems for litigation to ensure that litigants and their lawyers get better legal services and protection.
Dong Bingbing, a judge with the Shushan District People’s Court in Hefei, Anhui province, heard three cases relating to contract disputes last Wednesday via an online system developed by courts in Anhui.
He said such online trials were more suitable for dealing with easy lawsuits, not those that were more complex.
“Complicated disputes and those that demand litigants to offer abundant evidence still need to be postponed during the epidemic,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dong called for courts nationwide not to file new cases during the period “because a new filing means litigants and their attorneys should go out to discover evidence, which is not good amid efforts to prevent and control the disease”.
“People’s health and safety must always be the top priority, compared with their litigation rights,” he said. — China Daily/ANN
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