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Chinese courts made rapid improvements in 2017 in the way they are using IT to streamline legal proceedings for judicial clerks, lawyers and litigants, according to a new report.
The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences analyzed the country’s efforts to build “smart” courts for its Blue Book on the Rule of Law, which was released on Wednesday.
Part of those efforts were a three-in-one litigation platform, consisting of brick-and-mortar service centers, websites and a hotline, all of which were launched last year.
By December, about 1,500 courts — 45 percent of the total nationwide — were using the platform, according to the report.
Meanwhile, courts at all levels have been exploring ways to provide better public services through new media and mobile apps.
China’s first internet-based court — in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province — has settled 3,064 lawsuits since it was inaugurated in August. The average online hearing lasted 25 minutes.
Smart courts help to solve the problem of “heavy caseloads and staff shortages” in courts, and provide more accessible judicial services, said Lyu Yanbin, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
However, the report added that more efforts are needed to improve services, including promoting the introduction of electronic case files, system integration, and improving overall planning and coordination of courts.