China establishes cyberspace court

China establishing online Cyberspace CourtsThe Chinese government has established an cyberspace court in Hangzhou that only hears internet-related disputes online. The court has already accepted around 1,500 complaints, since it was approved in late June.

The new Hangzhou Cyberspace Court was established in the capital of the technology company heavy Zhejiang province, following a successful pilot of an e-Commerce Online Court in August 2015, according to legal services company Baker McKenzie.

The jurisdiction of the cyberspace court is currently limited to Hangzhou and to civil disputes involving online shopping – such as product liability or breach of online shopping or service contracts - online debt contracts and online copyright.

Cases are tried online, with plaintiffs filing complaints and materials over the internet and the parties potentially appearing at hearings via video link.

Both parties are required to go through mitigation after a complaint is filed, and if a case proceeds to court the litigants can pay the required fee online.

The success of the Hangzhous Cyberspace Court is leading to other courts in China to establish similar courts. Last month the Xishan District Court,  in collaboration with Sina, established the first cyberspace court in the Yunnan province.

“The establishment of the cyberspace court is a milestone for China in this digital era and this recent development is another testing ground, demonstrating China's genuine sincerity towards reform,” Baker McKenzie said in a client note.

“While the cyberspace court offers brand owners another option for handling online copyright and e-commerce disputes, they should check the procedures of the cyberspace court which currently remain unclear and consider these when strategizing litigation in China.”