For the First Time, China Provides Criminal Judicial Assistance via Online Video

This is the first time a Chinese court has used online video to provide criminal judicial assistance to other countries.
It was not feasible for the witness to travel to Finland to testify in person due to the need for epidemic prevention and control.

In 2017, China’s first internet court was established in Hangzhou, in the country’s east. Hangzhou is home to many of China’s largest technology companies. The country’s Supreme People’s Court released a report regarding the same. 

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China claims that “internet courts” are deciding millions of legal cases without the need for citizens to appear in court. Artificial intelligence (AI)-powered non-human judges make up the “smart court.” People who want to file a lawsuit can do so on the internet. After that, they can participate in a virtual court hearing.

Through diplomatic channels, the Finnish Court coordinated with the Chinese Supreme People’s Court. They eventually decided that the judges of the Rui’an Court would connect to the Finnish Court via an “online trial platform” and question the witnesses using the Finnish Court’s list of questions.
The testimony was completed in just one hour thanks to cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and other technologies.

Reality of “Robot Judge”

In reality, China’s “robot judges” do not make legal decisions. Not even minor claims have been made. They’re actually algorithms that support (human) judges in repetitive tasks. In a press release, the Beijing Internet Court has admitted and confirmed this. People are aware that these “robot judges” serve as assistants in China.

Hangzhou’s internet court only hears cases involving legal disputes over digital issues. Internet trade issues, copyright cases, and disputes over online product sales are just a few examples. As the number of mobile payments and internet-based businesses has grown in China, the number of digital court cases has increased dramatically.

The judges “appeared” via hologram and are made-up characters — no real judges are present. The holographic judge appears to be a real person but is actually a synthesised, 3D image of various judges who sets schedules, questions litigants, take evidence, and issue final rulings.

You can’t think of what we’re doing now as merely increasing efficiency. It also raises the question of legal justice. Because justice delayed is justice denied, faster justice is a kind of justice in and of itself.

Hangzhou court official
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China and Estonia aren’t the first countries to combine AI and law. Algorithms are used to help recommend criminal sentences in the United States. DoNotPay, a popular AI-driven chatbot based in the United Kingdom, overturned 160,000 parking tickets in London and New York a few years ago.

The main question appears here: Will these AI techniques make lawyers less important and affect their careers? Fast Justice is fair justice in itself but is this the only thing left really important for any county’s judiciary?

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