China Launches Online Court

The Chinese authorities have launched an online court to help deal with increasing levels of online crime. The Hangzhou Internet Court heard its first case last week, with legal agents accessing the court via their computers over the web. Similarly, both the defence and the plaintiffs appeared in front of the judge via a video link. The court's vice-president told state media that the reason for the new online court was that it “breaks geographic boundaries and greatly saves time in traditional hearings”. This comes after a move in 2016 that saw the Chinese legal system start streaming trials online in order to boost its transparency. This was criticised by some human right lawyers, however, who said that “many people involved in these cases probably don't want the public to share their personal information”. It is not the first time that legal issues have been resolved online, with countries such as Canada accepting claims under 5,000 Canadian dollars for its online Civil Resolution Tribunal.