China’s Supreme Court has allowed parties to submit evidence to the court which was collected and stored on the blockchain. Thus the institution has reiterated the previous decision by the Hangzhou Internet court of a similar kind.
In its decree Provisions on Certain Issues in Internet Court Trial Cases, the Supreme Court spells out rules on how to handle cases via the Internet. Thus, it says “the Internet courts shall conduct cases online, and the litigation links such as acceptance, delivery, mediation, evidence exchange, pre-trial preparation, court trial, and sentencing shall be completed online. According to the application of the party or the need for a trial, the Internet court may decide to complete some of the litigation links online.*”
In the Article 11, it elaborates on the authenticity of the process of electronic data generation, collection, storage and transmission noting that the Internet court, among other things, needs to look into the issues of safety and reliability as well as “whether the main body and time of electronic data generation are clear, and whether the performance content is clear, objective and accurate.”
It then adds that in order to prove the authenticity of the presented data the parties can show “electronic signature, trusted time stamp, hash value verification, blockchain and other evidence collection, fixed and tamper-proof technical means or through electronic forensic evidence platform certification.” The Internet court needs to accept and review the evidence.
Currently, there are two Internet courts operating in China which primarily deal with issues related to online shopping, network service contracts, financial loans, copyright. The first one was opened in 2017 in the province of Hangzhou and has handled more than 11,000 cases, 9,600 of which have been concluded within 38 days — twice faster than in regular courts. The second Internet court has been opened on Sunday. According to one of the judges Liu Shuhan the parties do not need to go to court at any point from the case filing to the hearing.
The news follows the announcement that the People’s Bank of China has begun pilot-testing a blockchain trade finance platform which aims to create a specialized ecosystem. The country has also recently published an official guide for members of its ruling Communist Party. The book is titled “Blockchain – a Guide for Leaders.”
However, while the Chinese authorities are gradually accepting the blockchain technology’s utility, they remain uncompromising when it comes to cryptocurrencies. Hence last month the Chinese Government released a ban on all commercial crypto and blockchain events in the financial district of Beijing.
* Please note, that the extracts have been translated with Google Translate