Henan judges conduct trials on WeChat
Updated: 2016-01-14 07:11
By Shi Baoyin and Qi Xin in Zhengzhou(China Daily USA)
The Zhengzhou Intermediate People's Court in Henan province has begun conducting some cases via WeChat, China's most popular instant messaging app, in an effort to provide flexibility and convenience for judges and far-flung lawyers.
The move, the first of its kind in China, is an attempt to improve the quality of trial proceedings in the Internet era, court spokesman Guo Xiaokun said on Monday.
The court conducted its first WeChat trial on Dec 17, employing the app's text and photo sharing abilities.
Use of the app is expected to make many types of lawsuits much easier, said Xue Yongsong, a staff member at the court.
"If all the parties are in different cities, it really takes a lot of time for a traditional trial, summoning them to court for questioning and recording. The WeChat trial took just a half an hour to deal with tasks that would have required a full day in the traditional system," Xue said.
Since a revised system for lawsuit registration took effect on May 1, the number of administrative lawsuits filed at the court increased 83 percent in one year - 1,790 cases in 2015.
Wang Yongjie, director of the Beijing Zeyong Law Office, said WeChat trials could be fast and convenient, as they are free of time and place restrictions. But the platform most likely would be used for less controversial cases, especially administrative ones, he said.
Wei Liping, a judge at the court who joined the first WeChat trial, said the new platform could play a helpful role.
"We worked with both online and offline support, then we selected some suitable cases," Wei said.
"For me, it really reduces the time and energy," Wei added. "It is useful because it leaves judges with more time to deal with more complex cases."
The WeChat trial system will be updated in the future with a standardized, orderly platform and real-name identity authentication, data export abilities and privacy protection, Guo said.
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Judges at the Zhengzhou Intermediate People's Court handle a case using WeChat on Dec 17. Rovided to China Daily
(China Daily USA 01/14/2016 page4)