At its 1747th meeting on the 3rd of September, the Supreme People’s Court Judicial Committee declared that blockchain would be legally used to authenticate evidence in legal disputes in China. The Supreme People’s Court’s Provisions on Internet Court Trial Cases is set to be enacted on the 7th of September, 2018.
A section of the new regulation stipulates that Internet Courts in China recognize the legality of blockchain and its features of storing and authenticating digital evidence, if parties involved can provide proof of the technology used in the process as being legitimate.
According to the Supreme People’s Court Network, “Internet courts shall recognize digital data that are submitted as evidence if relevant parties collected and stored these data via blockchain with digital signatures, reliable timestamps and hash value verification or via a digital deposition platform, and can prove the authenticity of such technology used”.
Back in 28th June, the Hangzhou Internet Court passed its first ruling in legal dispute where the evidence was authenticated with blockchain technology. The Hangzhou Internet Court was established in August 2017 and was one of the first of its kind in its ability to process cases entirely via the internet. The court passes its judgement usually on disputes that are based on web-based intellectual property.
The ruling passed by the Supreme People’s Court of China comes as a response to the multitude on inquiries that have been raised since the first Internet Court’s ruling last year. The case in particular was one that involved copyright infringement and it was ruled that the blockchain-based evidence was legally permissible.
According to the Supreme People’s Court, the regulation was approved with consensus achieved amongst the organisations judgement committee. The timing of regulation being passed at this particular juncture is strategically aligned with China being in the process of establishing two new Internet Courts in Beijing and the southern city of Guangzhou.