The “People’s Court Online Litigation Rules” were adopted at the 1838th meeting of the Judicial Committee of the Supreme People’s Court on May 18, 2021. They are hereby promulgated and will come into force on August 1, 2021.
Supreme People’s Court
June 16, 2021
The People’s Court Online Procedure Rules
Law Interpretation  No. 12
Formulating Authority: The Supreme People’s Court of the People’s Republic of China
To promote and regulate online litigation activities, improve online procedural rules to protect the legitimate rights of the parties to the main proceedings and other participants in the proceedings according to law, to ensure the fair, efficient and hear the case, according to ” People’s Republic of China Criminal Procedure Law ,” ” People’s Republic of China Civil Procedure Law “The Administrative Litigation Law of the People’s Republic of China ” and other relevant laws and regulations, combined with the actual work of the people’s courts, formulate these rules.
Article 1 The people’s courts, parties and other litigation participants may rely on the electronic litigation platform (hereinafter referred to as the “litigation platform”) to complete all or all of online case filing, mediation, exchange of evidence, inquiries, court hearings, and service via the Internet or a dedicated network. Part of the litigation link.
Online litigation activities and offline litigation activities have the same legal effect.
Article 2 People’s courts shall follow the following principles in conducting online litigation:
(1) The principle of fairness and efficiency. Carry out online litigation activities strictly in accordance with the law, improve trial procedures, improve working mechanisms, strengthen technical guarantees, improve judicial efficiency, and ensure judicial justice.
(2) The principle of legality and voluntariness. Respect and guarantee the right of the parties and other litigation participants to choose the method of litigation. Without the consent of the parties and other litigation participants, the people’s court shall not force or compulsively apply online litigation in a disguised form.
(3) The principle of rights protection. Fully protect the litigation rights of the parties, strengthen the obligation of prompt, explanation, and notification, and shall not arbitrarily reduce the litigation links and detract from the litigation rights of the parties.
(4) The principle of convenience for the people. Optimize online litigation services, improve the functions of litigation platforms, strengthen the application of information technology, reduce litigation costs for parties, and improve the efficiency of dispute resolution. Coordinate and take into account the judicial needs of different groups, strengthen litigation guidance for special groups such as minors, the elderly, and the disabled, and provide corresponding judicial conveniences.
(5) The principle of safety and reliability. Maintain national security in accordance with the law, protect state secrets, business secrets, personal privacy and personal information, and effectively guarantee the security of online litigation data. Standardize technology applications to ensure technology neutrality and platform neutrality.
Article 3 The people’s court can apply online litigation to the following cases after comprehensively considering the circumstances of the case, the wishes of the parties and technical conditions and other factors:
(1) Civil and administrative litigation cases;
(2) Criminal expedited procedures, commutation, parole, and criminal cases that are not suitable for offline trial due to other special reasons;
(3) Special civil procedures, supervision procedures, bankruptcy procedures and non-litigation enforcement review cases;
(4) Civil and administrative enforcement cases and criminal enforcement cases attached to civil litigation;
(5) Other cases that are suitable for online trial.
Article 4: People’s courts shall obtain the consent of the parties to conduct online litigation, and inform them of the specific links, main forms, rights and obligations, legal consequences, and operating methods of the online litigation.
The people’s court shall, based on the parties’ corresponding expressions of intent to online litigation, make the following actions:
(1) If a party voluntarily chooses to apply online litigation, the people’s court may not obtain its consent separately, and the corresponding litigation can be directly conducted online;
(2) If all parties agree to apply online litigation, the corresponding litigation link can be conducted online;
(3) If some parties agree to apply online litigation, and some parties disagree, the corresponding litigation can be conducted in the form of agreeing to the party’s online and disagreeing with the party’s offline;
(4) If a party only actively chooses or agrees to apply online litigation to some litigation links, the people’s court shall not presume that it agrees to apply online litigation to other litigation links.
To apply online litigation to cases in which the People’s Procuratorate participates, the consent of the People’s Procuratorate shall be obtained.
Article 5: In the course of litigation, if there is one of the circumstances where the party lacks online litigation ability, does not have the online litigation conditions, or the corresponding litigation link is not suitable for online handling, the people’s court shall transfer the corresponding litigation link to offline.
If the parties have agreed to apply online litigation to the corresponding litigation links, but they go back in the litigation process, they should file the complaint within a reasonable time limit before the corresponding litigation activities are launched. Upon review, if the people’s court finds that there is no improper circumstances such as deliberate delay of litigation, the corresponding litigation can be transferred offline.
In litigation links such as mediation, exchange of evidence, inquiries, hearings, and court trials, if a party requests other parties and litigation participants to participate in the litigation offline, it shall provide specific reasons. After review, the people’s court considers that the case is difficult and complicated, requires witnesses to testify on the spot, it is necessary to provide evidence for cross-examination, and present debates, etc., and the corresponding litigation can be transferred to offline.
Article 6: If the parties have agreed to apply online litigation, but do not participate in online litigation activities or engage in corresponding litigation activities without justified reasons, and have not applied for transfer to offline proceedings within a reasonable period of time, they shall follow the relevant provisions of the law and judicial interpretations. Bear the corresponding legal consequences.
Article 7: Litigation subjects participating in online litigation shall first complete real-name registration on the litigation platform. The people’s court shall verify the real-name mobile phone number, resident ID number, passport number, unified social credit code and other information of the litigant subject through online comparison of certificates and certificates, and authentication on the identity authentication platform, to confirm the authenticity of the litigant’s identity. After completing the online identity authentication, the litigation subject obtains a special account for logging into the litigation platform.
Litigation subjects participating in online litigation shall properly keep the special account and password of the litigation platform. Except where there is evidence to prove that the account has been stolen or the system is wrong, the act of logging into the litigation platform with a special account shall be regarded as the act of the person being authenticated.
When the people’s court conducts online mediation, evidence exchange, court hearings and other litigation activities, it shall verify the identity of the litigation subject again; if it is really necessary, it shall further verify its identity offline.
Article 8: People’s courts, specially invited mediation organizations, and specially invited mediators may conduct online mediation activities through litigation platforms, people’s court mediation platforms, etc. Online mediation shall be conducted in accordance with relevant provisions of laws and judicial interpretations, and state secrets, commercial secrets, personal privacy and other information that is not suitable for disclosure shall be protected in accordance with the law.
Article 9 Where the parties submit litigation materials online, the people’s court shall make the following actions online within the statutory time limit after receiving the materials:
(1) If the conditions for prosecution are met, register the case and serve the case acceptance notice, notice of payment of litigation costs, notice of proof and other litigation documents;
(2) If the submitted materials do not meet the requirements, they shall be notified of the supplements and corrections in a timely manner, and the contents and deadlines of the supplements and corrections shall be notified at one time. The time for case acceptance shall restart from the day after receiving the supplementary materials;
(3) If the prosecution conditions are not met or the prosecution materials still do not meet the requirements after supplementation and correction, and the plaintiff insists on the prosecution, it shall be ruled not to accept the case or not to file the case according to law;
If the party has submitted the complaint and other materials that meet the requirements online, the people’s court shall not require the party to provide paper copies.
The rules for online acceptance of appeals, applications for retrial, special procedures, enforcement and other cases shall be handled in accordance with the provisions of paragraphs 1 and 2 of this article.
Article 10: Where the case applies to online litigation, the people’s court shall notify the defendant, appellee or other litigation participants and ask them whether they agree to participate in the litigation online. If the notified person agrees to use the online method, he shall verify his identity through the litigation platform within three days after receiving the notice, and shall use the litigation platform to understand the case information, receive and submit litigation materials, and implement other litigation activities through the litigation platform in subsequent litigation activities .
If the notified person does not expressly agree to use the online method, and fails to register and log in to the litigation platform within the time limit specified by the people’s court, the relevant litigation activities against the notified person shall be conducted offline.
Article 11 The parties may directly fill in the litigation documents and materials such as the complaint, the counter-claim, the proxy opinion, etc. on the litigation platform.
The parties can electronically process offline litigation documents or evidence materials and upload them to the litigation platform by scanning, re-photographing, or transcribing them. If the litigation materials are electronic data, and the litigation platform has been docked with the platform storing the electronic data, the parties can directly submit the electronic data to the litigation platform.
If it is really difficult for the parties to submit electronic materials, the people’s court can assist the parties to electronically process the offline materials and import them into the litigation platform.
Article 12: The electronic materials submitted by the parties may be directly used in litigation after being reviewed and approved by the people’s court. Where any of the following circumstances exist in the litigation, the people’s court shall require the parties to provide the originals and originals:
(1) The opposing party believes that the electronic material is inconsistent with the original and the original, and provides reasonable reasons and basis;
(2) Electronic materials are incomplete, unclear in content, or in irregular format;
(3) The people’s court files and archives management regulations require the original documents or originals to be provided;
(4) The people’s court deems it necessary to submit the originals or originals.
Article 13: If the electronic materials submitted by the parties meet one of the following circumstances, the people’s court may determine that they meet the requirements of the original and the original form:
(1) The opposing party has not raised any objection to the consistency of the electronic material with the original or original;
(2) The formation process of electronic materials has been notarized by a notary institution;
(3) Electronic materials have been submitted in previous litigation and confirmed by the people’s court;
(4) The electronic materials have been compared with the originals or originals through online or offline methods;
(5) There is other evidence to prove that the electronic materials are consistent with the originals and originals.
Article 14: People’s courts may organize the parties to carry out online evidence exchange based on the parties’ choices and the circumstances of the case, and provide online evidence and cross-examination through synchronous or asynchronous methods.
If the parties choose to exchange evidence online simultaneously, they should log on to the litigation platform at the time designated by the people’s court, and issue cross-examination opinions on the evidence materials that have been imported into the litigation platform or the copies of the evidence materials delivered offline through online videos or other methods. .
If the parties choose to exchange evidence asynchronously online, they shall log on to the litigation platform separately within a reasonable time limit determined by the people’s court, check the evidence materials that have been imported into the litigation platform, and issue cross-examination opinions.
All parties agree to the online evidence exchange, but cannot reach an agreement on the specific method, the simultaneous online evidence exchange shall apply.
Article 15: The people’s court shall, in accordance with the relevant provisions of laws and judicial interpretations, determine the authenticity, legitimacy and relevance of the electronic materials and electronic data submitted by the parties as evidence after the parties have presented and cross-examined the evidence. Evidence that has not been verified by the people’s court shall not be used as the basis for determining the facts of the case.
Article 16 If the electronic data submitted by the parties as evidence is stored through blockchain technology and is consistent with technical verification, the people’s court may determine that the electronic data has not been tampered with after being uploaded to the chain, unless there is evidence to the contrary that is sufficient to overturn it.
Article 17 If a party raises an objection to the authenticity of the electronic data stored on the blockchain technology and has reasonable reasons, the people’s court shall make a judgment based on the following factors:
(1) Whether the certificate deposit platform complies with the relevant regulations of the relevant state departments on the provision of blockchain certificate deposit services;
(2) Whether the parties have an interest relationship with the evidence deposit platform, and use technical means to improperly interfere in the process of collecting and depositing evidence;
(3) Whether the information system of the depository platform meets the national standards or industry standards for cleanliness, safety, reliability, and availability;
(4) Whether the storage technology and process meet the requirements of relevant national standards or industry standards regarding system environment, technical security, encryption methods, data transmission, information verification, etc.
Article 18: If the parties claim that the electronic data has no authenticity before being stored on the chain, and provide evidence or explain the reasons, the people’s court shall review it.
According to the circumstances of the case, the people’s court may require the party who submits the blockchain technology to store electronic data to provide evidence to prove the authenticity of the data before the on-chain storage, combined with the specific source, generation mechanism, storage process, and notarization of the data before the on-chain storage. Institutional notarization, third-party witness, and related verification data make comprehensive judgments. If the party cannot provide evidence or make a reasonable explanation, and the electronic data cannot be mutually confirmed with other evidence, the people’s court shall not confirm its authenticity.
Article 19: The parties concerned may apply for a person with specialized knowledge to provide opinions on technical issues related to the storage of electronic data in blockchain technology. The people’s court may, upon the application of the parties or ex officio, entrust the verification of the authenticity of the electronic data stored in the blockchain technology, or obtain other relevant evidence for verification.
Article 20: With the consent of all parties, the people’s court may designate the parties to log on to the litigation platform separately within a certain period of time to conduct mediation, exchange of evidence, investigation and inquiry, court hearings and other litigation activities in an asynchronous manner.
For cases that apply to small claims procedures or civil and administrative summary procedures, and meet the following circumstances, the people’s court and the parties may record and upload videos of participating in the court trial to the litigation platform within a specified period of time according to the procedures of the court trial, and complete the court trial asynchronously activity:
(1) It is indeed difficult for all parties to participate in the trial online at the same time;
(2) One party submits a written application, and all parties agree to it;
(3) After the case has undergone online evidence exchange or investigation and inquiry, all parties have no disputes over the main facts and evidence of the case.
Article 21: People’s courts shall decide whether to adopt video online trial based on the wishes of the parties, the circumstances of the case, social influence, technical conditions and other factors in the case of the people’s court hearing. However, the online trial shall not be applicable to any of the following circumstances:
(1) All parties expressly disagree, or one party disagrees with justified reasons;
(2) None of the parties has the technical conditions and ability to participate in online court trials;
(3) It is necessary to verify the identity, verify the original, and inspect the physical object through the on-site trial;
(4) The case is difficult and complicated, and there is a lot of evidence, and the application of online court trial is not conducive to finding out facts and applying laws;
(5) The case involves national security or state secrets;
(6) The case has a major social impact and has received widespread attention;
(7) The people’s court believes that there are other circumstances that are not suitable for online trial.
If one of the above-mentioned circumstances is discovered in the case of online trial, the people’s court shall promptly switch to offline trial. The completed online trial activities have legal effect.
The applicable scope and conditions of online inquiry refer to the relevant rules of online trial.
Article 22 : In cases where online court trials are applicable, pre-trial preparations, court investigations, court debates and other trial activities shall be carried out in accordance with the relevant provisions of the law and judicial interpretation, and the litigation rights of the parties to apply for recusal, proof, cross-examination, statement, and debate shall be protected.
Article 23: For cases that need to be served by announcement, the people’s court may specify in the announcement the specific ways to participate in online or offline court trials, and inform the parties of their right to choose online court trials. If the party to the announcement does not agree to the online trial to the people’s court before the hearing, the party to the announcement shall apply to the offline trial. Other parties who agree to the online trial can participate in the online trial.
Article 24 : People’s courts shall set up online courts with complete environmental elements for online court hearing activities. Online courts should keep the national emblem in a prominent position, and the names of judges and seats in a reasonable area of the video screen. Due to special circumstances, if it is necessary to organize an online trial in a place other than the online court, it should be reported to the president of this court for approval.
Those who appear in court to participate in the online trial should choose a quiet, non-interference, suitable light, good network signal, and relatively closed place, and must not participate in the trial in a place that may affect the audio and video effects of the trial or compromise the seriousness of the trial. When necessary, the people’s court may require the court attendants to attend the online trial at a designated place.
Article 25 Persons participating in online court trials shall respect judicial etiquette and observe court discipline. The People’s Court shall apply the relevant provisions of the “Rules of the People’s Courts of the People’s Republic of China” in accordance with the characteristics of online court trials.
Except for network failure, equipment damage, power interruption, or force majeure, if the party does not participate in the online court hearing without a valid reason, it will be deemed “refusal to appear in court”; if he withdraws from the court hearing without authorization and fails to make corrections after being prompted or warned, It is regarded as “halfway withdrawing from court” and shall be handled in accordance with the relevant laws and judicial interpretations.
Article 26: Where witnesses appear in court through online methods, the people’s courts shall ensure that they do not attend the trial of the case and are not interfered by others by designating an online place for appearance in court, setting up an online testimony room, etc. If the party raises an objection to the witness’s appearance in court and has reasonable reasons, or the people’s court deems it necessary, the witness shall be required to appear in court to testify offline.
Where authenticators, inspectors, and persons with specialized knowledge appear in court online, refer to the provisions of the preceding paragraph.
Article 27: In cases where online court trials are applicable, the court trial activities shall be made public in accordance with the relevant provisions of laws and judicial interpretations.
For cases involving national security, state secrets, and personal privacy, the trial process must not be made public on the Internet. For civil cases involving minors, business secrets, divorce, etc., where the parties apply for non-public hearing, the online court hearing process may not be made public on the Internet.
Without the consent of the people’s court, no one may record, intercept, or disseminate audio, video, and graphic materials involved in the online trial process in violation of laws and regulations.
Article 28: Participants in online litigation deliberately violate the provisions of Article 8, Article 24, Article 25, Article 26, and Article 27 of these rules, and commit acts that disrupt the order of online litigation , The people’s court can deal with it in accordance with the relevant provisions of the law and judicial interpretations on obstruction of litigation.
Article 29 With the consent of the person to be served, the people’s court may, through the service platform, deliver to the recipient’s e-mail address, instant messaging account, special account on the litigation platform, etc., in accordance with relevant laws and judicial interpretations. Litigation documents and evidence materials.
Under one of the following circumstances, the people’s court may determine that the recipient agrees to electronic service:
(1) The person to be served expressly agrees;
(2) The recipient of the service has made an agreement or promise on the application of electronic service before the lawsuit;
(3) The person to be served on the initiative provides an electronic address for receiving the service in the complaint, appeal, application, and defense;
(4) The recipient of the service accepts the completed electronic service by responding to receipt, participating in litigation, etc., and does not clearly express his disapproval of electronic service.
Article 30 The people’s court may confirm whether the recipient agrees to electronic service, and the specific method for the recipient to receive electronic service through telephone confirmation, online confirmation on the litigation platform, and offline confirmation of electronic service. And the address, and inform the scope of application, effectiveness, method of changing the address for service, and other service items that need to be notified.
Article 31: If the people’s court serves the electronic address provided or confirmed by the person to be served on its own initiative, the service shall be deemed to be served when the information to be served reaches the system where the electronic address is located.
If the recipient fails to provide or confirm a valid electronic service address, and the people’s court serves to an electronic address that can be confirmed as the recipient, it shall determine whether the service is effective according to the following circumstances:
(1) If the recipient responds that it has been received, or has made corresponding litigation actions based on the content of the service, the effective service is completed;
(2) The system where the electronic address of the addressee is located feedbacks that the addressee has read it, or if there is other evidence to prove that the addressee has received it, it is presumed that the effective service has been completed, but the addressee can prove its existence Except for system errors, non-personal use or non-personal reading of the delivery address, etc., where the content of the delivery has not been received.
When conducting electronic service, the people’s court shall leave traces in the system throughout the process and make an electronic service certificate. The electronic service certificate has the effect of the certificate of service.
Where the delivery materials of the same content are sent to the addressee by multiple electronic methods, the effective delivery time completed first shall be the effective time of delivery.
Article 32: People’s courts shall apply electronic service, and they can simultaneously notify the recipient to view, receive, and download relevant service materials through short messages, instant messaging tools, litigation platform prompts, and other methods.
Article 33: In cases where online litigation is applicable, all parties to the litigation may confirm and sign the mediation agreement, transcripts, electronic service vouchers and other litigation materials through online confirmation, electronic signature and other methods.
Article 34: In cases where online litigation is applicable, the people’s court shall simultaneously form electronic transcripts during mediation, exchange of evidence, court hearings, and collegial proceedings. After the electronic transcript is checked and confirmed online, it has the same legal effect as the written transcript.
Article 35: In cases where online litigation is applicable, the people’s court shall use technical means to simultaneously generate electronic files along with the case and form electronic files. The filing, filing, storage and utilization of electronic archives shall be implemented in accordance with the relevant laws and regulations of archives management.
If there is no paper material in the case or the paper materials have been completely converted into electronic materials, the first-instance people’s court may use electronic files instead of paper files for appeal transfer.
Where there are paper dossier materials in cases applicable to online litigation, the dossier shall be filed, filed and preserved in accordance with relevant laws and regulations on file management.
Article 36 Online case filing, electronic material submission, execution of reconciliation, inquiry of the parties, electronic delivery and other links of enforcement ruling cases shall be handled in accordance with the relevant provisions of these rules.
The people’s courts can complete the implementation and implementation links of property identification, seizure, seizure, freezing, deduction, price change, and punishment online through the property inspection and control system, online price inquiry evaluation platform, online auction platform, and credit punishment system.
Article 37: For criminal cases that comply with Article 3, Paragraph 2 of these regulations, with the consent of the prosecutor, parties, and defenders, the defendant may be interrogated online, in court hearings, sentencing, etc., based on the circumstances of the case.
Where the case is tried online, it shall be handled according to the following circumstances:
(1) Defendants and criminals who are detained may appear in court online in detention centers, prisons and other places of detention;
(2) Defendants or criminals who are not in custody and cannot appear in court due to special reasons, they can appear in court at a place designated by the people’s court;
(3) Witnesses and appraisers should generally appear in court offline, except as otherwise provided by laws and judicial interpretations.
Article 38: Relevant subjects participating in online litigation shall abide by relevant laws and regulations on data security and personal information protection, and perform data security and personal information protection obligations. Except for those disclosed by the people’s court in accordance with the law, no one may disclose, disseminate, or use online litigation data in violation of laws and regulations. In the case of the above-mentioned circumstances, the people’s court may, according to the specific circumstances, pursue the legal responsibility of relevant units and personnel in accordance with the provisions of the law and judicial interpretations on data security, personal information protection, and obstruction of litigation. If a crime is constituted, criminal responsibility shall be investigated in accordance with the law.
Article 39: These rules shall come into force on August 1, 2021. If the judicial interpretations previously issued by the Supreme People’s Court concerning online litigation are inconsistent with these rules, these rules shall prevail.