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Guangzhou court uses blockchain for online cross-examination

In a legal first for the region, the Guangzhou Intermediate People’s Court used a new blockchain system in a lending dispute case so the parties can submit evidence and do cross-examination online.

Fast facts
  • The “blockchain electronic cross-examination system” allows each side to upload its evidence online. The opposing party, under the judge’s supervision, can cross-examine the submitted evidence by asking questions and providing answers. The system records on the blockchain all the evidence submitted as well as the questions and statements from the cross-examination.
  • The reason for adopting the blockchain cross-examination system, in this case, was because travel restrictions from the Covid-19 pandemic would have delayed the trial if evidence review and cross-examination had to be done in person. The judge also decided that it would take too much time to submit evidence through the mail.
  • According to Legal Daily’s report, the plaintiff in this case sued the defendant over an unpaid loan principal of more than 1.16 million yuan (approximate US$ 179,170) plus interest. After the initial trial, a lower court ordered the defendant to repay more than 700,000 yuan (approximate US$108,120) and interest to the plaintiff. The plaintiff was dissatisfied with the judgment and appealed to the Guangzhou Intermediate Court.
  • The use of blockchain-assisted evidence in already established in other Chinese courts. In September 2018, China’s Supreme People’s Court issued a regulation to recognize blockchain technology as a legitimate means to collect, fix and tamper-proof data. In August this year, the Supreme People’s Court’s latest Regulation of Online Litigation issued additional regulations for determining the authenticity and validity of blockchain evidence.
  • Courts in the provinces of Jilin and Shandong and the cities of ChengduQuanzhou and Taiyuan as well as three internet courts in BeijingGuangzhou and Hangzhou have all begun using blockchain to preserve evidence.