Lin Yang (Currently PhD candidate, supervisor: Professor Zhao Yun)
in Amicus Curiae, Series 2, Vol 2, No 3, 531-538
Published in 2021
Introduction: With arguably the most developed e-commerce business in the world, the People’s Republic of China has recently set up several Internet Courts to handle internet-related cases. Alongside this new development in information technology use by the Chinese judiciary, there have also been reforms in the direction of ‘diversified dispute resolution’ processes, encouraging greater processual pluralism. The development of internet courts is part of China’s larger project of ‘judicial reform’ and combines deployment of new information and communication technologies. The internet and other information technology tools are used to handle litigation more efficiently and are also seen as contributing to the building of a more pluralistic dispute resolution system. China’s Supreme People’s Court in particular is encouraging digitization and utilization of cyberspace and technologies such as blockchain and cloud computing to streamline the handling of cases within China’s vast court system. China established three Internet Courts in Hangzhou, Beijing and Guangzhou on 18 August 2017, 9 September 2018 and 28 September 2018, respectively. The emergence of Internet Courts as sites of court ‘informatization’ and multiple processes of dispute resolution has led to new discussions within China about such issues as potential challenges to the traditional rules of judicial adjudication, and how best to integrate emerging technologies with the processes of trial and adjudication in the court.