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Online case filing may boost courts' efficiency

By Cao Yin | China Daily | Updated: 2017-06-08 07:44

Residents of Tianjin and Hebei province may soon not need to travel to Beijing to file lawsuits, as a cross-regional online platform is being explored.

A trial run of the platform in seven courts in the region was launched on Wednesday, including Beijing No 3 Intermediate People's Court, Wuqing District People's Court in Tianjin and Fengrun District People's Court in Tangshan, Hebei, according to a statement from the Beijing High People's Court.

"In the past, I had to drive to courts in Hebei to file cases, which cost me at least three hours," said Ma Wenjia, a lawyer based in Beijing. "But thanks to the platform, I can just go to the capital's No 3 intermediate court and take about 10 minutes to finish all procedures to file the case."

She applauded the efficiency and convenience of the platform, saying the service would save her time and energy.

Ji Luohong, vice-president of the Beijing High People's Court, said the platform will also speed up the handling of disputes brought by regional economic development, which have been increasing.

So far, only civil and commercial cases can be filed through the platform. "But I believe it will cover more disputes in the near future," he added.

Jiang Qibo, a chief judge of the Supreme People's Court, asked the seven courts on Wednesday to gain more experience in operating the platform and called on more lawyers to use it.

"Residents are not as good at computers or as familiar with legal procedures as lawyers, so if the platform can be popularized among attorneys, the speed and quality of case filings will increase," he said.

He encouraged the courts in the pilot program to learn about building the network, adding that he hopes that one day Chinese residents can file cases from anywhere and at any time.

Gao Zicheng, head of the Beijing Lawyers Association, gave the platform a thumbs up: "I'm looking forward to the day when I can help my clients file a case on the way back home or in my office," he said.

But Yan Baoping, a computer engineer at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, expressed concerns.

"Attention must be paid to cybersecurity and preventing the system from being attacked," she said.

In addition, improving the network's capacity to handle a potential caseload boom should be also taken into consideration, she added.

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