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Supreme People's Court pushes judicial openness

By Cao Yin | China Daily | Updated: 2016-11-18 07:36

Aiming to increase judicial transparency, an official of China's top court said that Chinese courts have been asked to improve the quality of data they disclose. The great achievements in judicial openness of the past three years will continue.

At the November 10 public unveiling of the top court's internal work database, Xu Jianfeng, director of information center at the Supreme People's Court said: "To ensure the quality of disclosed information and provide better legal services for residents will be main tasks for courts at all levels."

The database, set up in 2013, has collected information about more than 90 million cases from 3,519 courts nationwide as of the end of October, according to a statement of the top court.

"Different kinds of data in courts across the country can be integrated in the database, including how many cases a court files and concludes. It is an internal work program for courts, but it can also connect to another four external online platforms established by the top court," he said.

In 2013, the highest judicial chamber ordered all courts to set up three online platforms to disclose their verdicts, the process for filing cases and whether a judgment has been implemented. The aim is to make the courts' work more transparent and help make lawsuits more convenient for litigants.

In September this year, the top court established its fourth online platform to broadcast trials.

"The new database can be called our information hub. It will disclose to the public the trials that should be open in accordance with the law," he said. He added that they can make sure that the information courts disclose is accurate and also avoids unnecessary privacy leaks, such as releasing verdicts involving children or the personal information of litigants in marriage disputes.

He does not deny that some courts now selectively disclose judicial information, saying that the problem will be alleviated after the internal database is improved.

"We'll make a comparison between data that we disclose based on the work database and those in public, and I believe it will be easy to find out which court has selectively opened their judicial information," he added.

He promised that the top court will urge every court to disclose information in a timely manner. The top court will also help them improve their network technology "because sometimes undeveloped facilities in a few courts in rural areas also delay disclosure and cause inaccuracy in the data."

"Now, we're preparing to add some analysis of laws when we disclose trials and judgments. After all, what we want is not only to welcome public supervision, but also to enhance people's judicial awareness," he added.

Zhou Qiang, president of the top court, said several times in conferences of the nation's courts that legal openness is crucial to ensure justice. He asked that all courts accelerate their efforts to take advantage of big data and the internet to streamline appeals procedures for litigants.

"The new work database is a key step to build intelligent courts in China and is an innovation in the legal system," Zhou said.

In a report submitted to the Standing Committee of National People's Congress, China's top legislature, in early November, Zhou said that 44.87 million pieces of information about verdict enforcements have been opened to the public and 432,000 cases have been broadcasted online, as of October 16. In addition, more than 3,200 courts have opened their micro-blogging and Wechat accounts, the report added.

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