Widespread use of artificial intelligence, WeChat in Chinese courts | OpenGovAsia
Courts around the country are extensively leveraging the popular social media platform, WeChat, for answering queries, managing court procedures, communicating and holding trials remotely.
Yesterday, Chinese state media outlet, Xinhua, reported
that China’s court system intranet has been extended to 3,523 local courts and
9,277 tribunals across China, enabling all judicial officers to have access to
the same information in the course of legal work.
The smart court system enables court officials to manage all
work online and it makes the judicial process information open to the public in
accordance with the law.
China’s national database of legal documents, the biggest in
the world, now includes information on 122 million legal cases, more than 6
million trial records and 240,000 items of judicial personnel data.Judges can
use the database to share information with the Ministry of Public Security,
National Administration for Code Allocation to Organizations, Ministry of
Agriculture, and banks.
But that is not all. Chinese courts are extensively
exploring the use of technology to improve services and enhance efficiencies.
AI, Robots, WeChat
Last week, ChinaDaily
reported about the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the judicial
There are robots in place in 100 courts around the country. The
number is expected to go up. The robot, designed by Aegis, a technology company
in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, can provide spoken replies to questions from the
public and court officials. Users can also submit queries via a regular
computer keyboard or by writing Chinese characters on its screen on its front,
and receive a printout with the answers.
The robots, costing 50,000 yuan to 150,000 yuan ($7,528 to
$22,585), can provide essential information, such as how to bring a lawsuit.
can also retrieve case histories, verdicts and laws, reducing the workload of
court officials and improving service efficiency.
The robots used in courts in different parts of the country
are also customised according to local needs. For instance, robots in Shenzhen
in Guangdong province is programmed to provide information about labour-related
disputes, as Shenzhen is home to a large number of migrant workers. While robots
in Beijing’s courts focus primarily on civil and commercial law.
In addition to using Aegis’ robots in the courts, the public
can also search for information on the company’s WeChat account, which was
established in July.
The ChinaDaily article provides an example of how the
services helps the public. If someone sustains injuries in a traffic accident,
the platform can provide information about procedures, such as how to contact
the police and request to see relevant footage captured by surveillance
The WeChat platform has the advantage of being accessible
from anyone’s smartphone. The system is linked to more than 350 judicial
authorities, including courts and justice bureaus. Both the robots and the
WeChat platform have access to a constantly updated database which contains
details of more than 40,000 legal procedures, and answers to about 30,000
frequently asked legal questions. It also holds information about more than
7,000 laws and 5 million cases.
According to company statistics cited by the article the
platform receives over 30,000 requests every day, and is able to immediate
answers for 85 percent of the questions.
On November 16, Jiangsu Provincial Higher People’s Court and
Tencent, which owns WeChat, announced the
creation of a “micro-court” ecosystem in a joint press conference (based on Google translation of press release
Intelligent bots embedded in the WeChat platform will provide
services such as replies to inquiries on laws and regulations and guidance on
processes. The platform can provide online pre-filing support and help
generate standardised petitions. Tencent’s face recognition technology is used to verify
identities and enable participation in litigation activities via the platform. Evidence
submission and other processes can also be completed through WeChat, thereby
reducing litigation costs. The case judge and the clerk, can find related cases
on the platform and generate case analysis reports.
The WeChat platform can also be used for courtroom
scheduling, jury changes, clerical approval, electronic delivery and other
services, so that court officers can handle cases anytime, anywhere. Trials
can also be conducted remotely through the platform. The platform can also be
used for the resolution of conflicts and disputes.
In August this year, a court in Beijing opened a WeChat
account to allow litigants to chat with judges, get status updates on their
cases and report rulebreakers, as reported
by ChinaDaily. The platform was initially used by the enforcement
department to collect reports on people who failed to comply with court rulings.
Subsequently, its use was extended to improve communication between judges and
litigants. Judges are required to reply within 24 hours to questions from
litigants, or tips on non-compliance with court orders.
The same ChinaDaily article
also mentions the ability to initiate lawsuits in Shanghai’s Pudong New Area lawsuit
in only 15 minutes by scanning a QR code. In Gansu province, 423 courts had
been equipped with the ability to hear cases remotely via live video.
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