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China’s Supreme People’s Court Issues Opinion on Judicial Application of Blockchain

China is known to be working on strengthening and expanding its hold on blockchain technology. Despite the country’s resistance towards cryptocurrencies, the sharp contrast when it comes to blockchain technology is clear and obvious. With blockchain technology, it is more of a welcome development and a deliberate effort to create an enabling environment for it to thrive.

In one of the latest moves by the government, the Supreme People’s Court of China has issued an opinion on strengthening the judicial application of blockchain technology. This was released on Wednesday, May 25, 2022. According to reports, the specific goal of this development is to thoroughly implement the thoughts of the President of the Republic of China, Xi Jinping on the rule of law, and also to pursue his idea as it concerns promoting the innovation and development of blockchain technology.

Part of this goal includes the creation of a higher level of digital justice, as well as promoting the in-depth integration and development of the rule of law and technology, while pushing the construction of the smart rule of law to higher levels.

Blockchain technology has been identified by the people of China as a tool that would surely strengthen the judiciary system. Some of the roles that the technology is expected to play includes the promotion of judicial credibility, serving social governance, preventing and resolving risks, and promoting high-quality development within the industry. As a result, the Supreme People’s Court embarked on a research exercise which involved the solicitation of opinions. This has given rise to the formulation of the “Opinions”, which is characterized by 32 items in seven parts.

The “Opinions” are meant to clarify the general requirements for people’s courts in  strengthening the judicial application of blockchain. It also makes provision for the construction of blockchain platforms for people’s courts, with the proposition that blockchain technology can improve judicial credibility, judicial efficiency, and judicial coordination capabilities.

The distinctive features of the Opinions are as follows;

The establishment of an interoperable and shared judicial blockchain alliance

This feature proposes that by 2025, a blockchain alliance would have been built for the people’s court. This alliance will be open for communication and sharing by all works of life. It will support basic capabilities such as data verification, trusted operations and smart contracts. By then, cross-chain collaboration would be greatly improved, and judicial blockchains will be cross-chain.

Clarification of the requirements for the construction of the people’s court blockchain platform

This involves the requirements for strengthening top-level designs of blockchain applications by the people’s court. The establishment is also expected to continue on the promotion of the building of cross-chain collaborative application capabilities. It will also be mandated to improve the technical capabilities of judicial blockchains, and build an Internet judicial blockchain verification platform, among other responsibilities.

The use of blockchain data tamper-proof technology to enhance judicial credibility

One of the proposals on the “Opinions” involves storing judicial data such as electronic files, and judicial statistical reports of the people’s courts on the chain. This includes the storage of evidence data and that of other operations like enforcement cases on the chain. Other data that can be stored on the chain include the service of litigation documents and service receipts by the people’s courts in judicial districts. This approach will explore the time-stamped immutability characteristics of blockchain technology in the pursuit of an improved judicial system.

Application of blockchain to optimize business processes and improve judicial efficiency

Up to five typical application scenarios were proposed in the “Opinions” under this particular feature. These scenarios cover the various stages of litigation in business processes from the application of case filing and information flow, up till the enforcement in case handling. The proposal under this section is to establish a mediation agreement that does not comply with business rules and smart contract procedures such as automatic triggering of trial filing and enforcement of case filing, strengthen the judicial authority of mediation procedures, and support the resolution of multiple disputes.

Application of blockchain interoperability and linkage to promote judicial coordination

Here, a cross-chain collaborative application between people’s courts and judicial administrative departments is proposed in the “Opinions”. The intention under this proposal is to support online inquiry and verification of lawyers’ qualifications and credit reports participating in litigation activities. It is also to improve the timeliness of verification; cross-chain collaborative application, improve the efficiency of online case transfer and the level of mutual trust in data, among other collaborative benefits.

The use of blockchain alliance mutual trust to serve economic and social governance

This feature involves the construction of a cross-chain collaborative application mechanism with blockchain platforms such as intellectual property, market supervision, property registration, trading platforms, data ownership, data transactions, financial institutions, and relevant government departments. This will go a long way in supporting intellectual property protection, financial information transfer and application, corporate bankruptcy and reorganization, credit reporting system construction, and several other aspects of business and economic governance.


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