The Hangzhou Internet Court has been inaugurated in Hangzhou on August 18, 2017.

The Hangzhou Internet Court has (first instance) jurisdiction over:

1.   Contract disputes arising from online shopping, service and small loan;

2.   Disputes over internet copyright ownership and infringement;

3.   Disputes over infringement on rights of personality via using the Internet;

4.   Product liability claims for goods purchased online;

5.   Domain name disputes;

6.   Administrative disputes arising from Internet administration; and

7.   Other Internet-related civil and administrative cases assigned by a higher court.

Appeals against the decision or ruling rendered by the Internet Court shall be filed before the Hangzhou Intermediate Court.

The move comes through as the Supreme People’s Court piloted, in May, a program granting the Hangzhou Railway Transport Court jurisdiction over five categories of internet-related civil cases in Hangzhou. Statistics indicate that as of Tuesday August 15, the Court had accepted 2,605 cases, of which 590 were Internet copyright related, accounting for 22.6%. A total of 1,444 cases have been concluded. New rules of procedure, using electronic communication, have been experimented during the pilot period, some of which are at the forefront of judicial trial in China or even the world.

To initiate a lawsuit online, the litigant has to go through a registration procedure by accessing the court’s online platform netcourt.gov.cn in order to become a registered user. A user whose real identity is verified by the Court may proceed to the filing proceeding. Evidence may be submitted electronically via uploading to the platform. If the court decides to accept the case, the defendant will be served via text messages and given access to the case files. During online hearing, the plaintiff and the defendant need to stay logged in at the court’s trial page. Unauthorized logging out that is other than technical or internet failures will be deemed as withdrawal (if it is on the plaintiff’s side) or result in trial by default (if it is on the defendant’s side). After the hearing, the speech recognition system embedded in the platform will automatically transform the recording of the hearing into electronic transcript, which will be sent to the litigants for verification.