Chinese Supreme Court has ruled that evidence authenticated with blockchain technology is now admissible in court as authorities step up measures to handle Internet-related legal disputes.
According to an official announcement released on Friday, September 7, electronic data recorded on a blockchain can now be submitted as evidence in legal disputes in China. This is part of a series of more comprehensive rules that address a number of issues relating to how internet courts should deal with legal disputes in the country.
The Supreme People’s Court declared:
“Internet courts shall recognize digital data that are submitted as evidence if relevant parties collected and stored these data via blockchain with digital signatures, reliable timestamps and hash value verification or via a digital deposition platform, and can prove the authenticity of such technology used.”
In what can be seen as a first of its kind, the “internet courts” shall accept electronic data recorded on a blockchain as evidence if they are properly verified by methods including digital signatures, timestamps, and blockchains. The new rules have come into effect immediately.
Last year, the Chinese city of Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province has established a court dedicated to processing trials for internet-related disputes on an online ‘netcourt’ web platform.
The internet court handled its first case with blockchain-derived evidence in January. A further two internet court cases are slated for the country’s capital, Beijing, and a third one in the southern city of Guangzhou this month.
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Hangzhou Internet Court
The Court will mainly handle the following types of cases that fall within the jurisdiction of the people’s courts of the first instance in Hangzhou:
- Disputes regarding contracts of online shopping, services, microfinance loans etc.;
- Disputes relating to the ownership and infringement of online copyright;
- Disputes relating to infringing other person’s personal rights via the internet;
- Disputes relating to product liability infringement of products bought online;
- Disputes regarding domain names;
- Administrative disputes raised because of administration measures on the internet;
- Other internet related civil or administrative cases designated by the higher courts.
- Online procedures will be conducted via the Platform
- registration and real name verification of involved parties
- pre-mediation process
- automatically generated records and documents
Therefore, the court follows the same trial procedure of normal courts but implements all procedures via the internet on the platform.
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