china judgements online

China to Start Publishing Court Decisions in English, Too

China Judgement Online has received over 2 billion visits

China’s top court plans to launch an English-language database with all of the country’s court decisions.

“We’d like to provide foreigners with a better guide in English if they need to search for decisions and related judicial documents,” said Li Liang, director of the Trial Management Department at the Supreme People’s Court (SPC).

“We need to offer the website in English, as disputes involving foreign litigants are rising rapidly, and to assist in the preparation of related work,” said Li, noting that Zhejiang and Jiangsu have seen a rise in court cases involving foreigners. “We hope to ease access to courts for litigants, no matter where they are from.”

On July 25, the Supreme People’s Court ruled that the majority of judgments made by Chinese courts should be released online, except in cases involving state secrets, divorces, and crimes by minors. Personal information of litigants such as home addresses and bank account details will be redacted from public records.

This past Monday, the SPC made further revisions to the rule stating that all court decisions should be made available online within seven days.

“In the past, some courts did not release initial rulings on the website as there was no unified standard of disclosure,” Li said. “But starting in October, judgments made at any stage will be released.”

The current Chinese-only database, “China Judgement Online“, went online in July 2013, and contains some 20 million published verdicts. Since its inception, the database has received 20 billion visits, including 500 million from overseas. Chinese courts have been gradually uploading their decisions to the website since 2014.

Last December, the SPC began considering a proposal to allow the use of English within Chinese courtrooms.

Charles Liu

The Nanfang's Senior Editor