Smart courts in China are using the help of emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and blockchain to decide legal cases. The Xinhua news agency reported earlier this month that these courts had settled over 3.1 million legal cases between March and October this year.
Smart courts on the internet
China’s growing use of emerging technologies has reached its courts as well. In virtual, non-human “courts of the future”, judges powered by AI decide the outcomes of legal cases. Citizens can even receive these messages via major messenger services and texts. This high-tech form of legal handling on a mass scale is the first in the world.
The first of these smart internet courts was established in Hangzhou, a city in eastern China, in the year 2017. The authorities launched several such operations in Guangzhou and Beijing as well. In April this year, Beijing Internet Court’s president Zhang Wen said that they are depending on blockchain and AI to make the judgement in legal cases. He added,
“In the current use of AI as an assistant to make rulings, efficiency is prioritized over accuracy. A human judge is ultimately responsible for the fair ruling. […] But we are heading toward a future when we can see an AI judge sitting at the podium.”
The system is gaining prominence
The Supreme People’s Court released a report suggesting that 73,200 lawyers and 1 million citizens have already registered on the smart court system. It received further support when the Supreme Court decided in September 2018 that all evidence authenticated using blockchain technology will be considered binding in legal discourses. The Court said that if relevant parties collected and stored data related to a case on the blockchain with proper timestamps and digital signatures, it should be considered as authentic and binding.
The country is now home to mobile micro courts – a new pilot project for changing the legal sector, which is operating in 12 provinces. It is designed to provide filing, hearing, mediation, and evidence exchange services to the users.