New court platform open for online searches

Updated: Feb 28, 2024 China Daily Print
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A new online platform for searching civil, criminal and administrative cases was opened to the public on Tuesday, indicating that China's approach to ensuring judicial transparency has become more diverse, an official from the country's top court said.

Established by the Supreme People's Court, the platform has details of 3,177 cases, covering several hot legal issues, including cyberbullying, telecom fraud, food safety, self-defense and domestic violence, Yang Wanming, vice-president of the Supreme People's Court, told a news conference on Tuesday.

The uploaded cases were not only solicited from courts nationwide, but also provided by law firms, universities and even non-legal institutions, such as a middle school, "expanding the types of cases and enriching their sources", he said.

"All of the cases were reviewed by the top court and deemed to have reference value before going online," he added.

For instance, justifiable defense has been regarded as a "dormant clause" for some time in China due to challenges in interpretation and the influence of misconceptions, such as "whoever is injured or killed is right".

To meet the challenges and respond to public concerns, the platform disclosed 34 cases concerning justifiable defense to help judges accurately apply the provision and grasp the essence of the legal concept, said Yu Haisong, deputy head of the top court's Research Office.

A case involving a man who was convicted of mentally abusing his ex-girlfriend and given a prison term was also included in the platform, "as it clarified the scope of family members for the crime of maltreatment in the Criminal Law", he said.

Under the law, people will be convicted of maltreatment if they physically or mentally abuse their family members, such as by assaulting, insulting, confining, binding or leaving them in the cold, or failing to offer them medical care or forcing them to do excessive labor.

"Considering new circumstances are emerging with social development and to strongly protect the victim's personal rights, the case showed that those with a stable relationship or living together for a long period to start a family also needed to be deemed family members," Yu added.

People can search for the cases on https://rmfyalk.court.gov.cn. While reading the cases, visitors can also learn about how the disputes happened, what laws were applied and why the courts arrived at their verdicts.

Saying the platform was a new measure to optimize the country's legal services and promote judicial openness, Zhou Jiahai, head of the office, said it was also conducive to unifying verdict-rendering standards across the country to improve the quality of case hearings.

"With the adoption, abolishment and modification of laws as well as the adjustment of judicial interpretations, cases uploaded on the platform will be updated in a timely manner to ensure users can access the latest and most accurate legal knowledge," he added.

Another verdict disclosure website — China Judgements Online — was set up by the top court in 2013.

Yang said that the website will not be shut down. He said the two platforms will complement each other and will jointly help improve judicial transparency to meet the public's stronger legal demands.

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