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China moves courts online due to coronavirus, following classes and offices

Online trials have existed in China for a while, but the coronavirus outbreak is making them more useful than ever.

With the coronavirus outbreak continuing to disrupt life in China, the country has seen schools and workplaces move online using video streaming and office tools. Now courts are following suit, meaning those hoping to avoid trial because of the disease are out of luck.

The Shanghai High Court recorded a 63% increase in online court cases compared with the same period last year, state media reported. In addition to handling court case filings online, the court is using online platforms to handle payments, contact with judges, material submissions, and other litigation services. Remote court trials are conducted over video links.

Online court technology is also being used in other parts of the country, but not everything is going smoothly. Assistant judge Ma Chengcheng of the Intermediate People’s Court in Xinyang told local media that before the trial, participants needed to be contacted by phone or WeChat and patiently walked through how to use the software.

This article first appeared in Abacus News