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Internet court on solving online consumer contract disputes: Case of China

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The COVID-19 pandemic has deeply influenced people’s way of life. The need to comply with various social restrictions has posed new and previously unknown challenges to humanity. Internet here plays a significant role in helping to maintain people’s life as usual. As online behavior increases, many disputes arise therefrom grow simultaneously. It is proposed that international online disputes would be solved effectively if Internet technologies were referred to and adopted. Therefore, online litigation, a judicial method specially established to solve online disputes, provides an ideal alternative to the traditional litigation process in this regard. Such litigation can be operated through Internet courts (or cyber courts). Today the palm in their establishment belongs to China that has successfully introduce the world’s first three, and only, Internet courts. Thus, the Chinese experience has been chosen as the primary empirical support of the study on Internet courts. In this essay, a detailed review of the online litigation process will be analyzed using the example of the adopted rules and regulations for resolving disputes, as well as the judgements handed down by the Hangzhou Internet Court, the world’s first cyber court successfully resolving multiple online disputes over four years. The essay firstly reviews the current rules and procedures of Hangzhou Internet court; this would serve for a better understanding of how the world’s first Internet court is operated. After that, the essay discusses in what circumstances foreign courts can recognize and enforce Internet courts’ judgments. The essay ends up with giving personal recommendations on the future development of Internet courts to solve online consumer contract disputes.

About the Author

J. Sang
University of Fribourg

Jianing Sang — Ph.D. Student, Department of International Law and Commercial Law

20 Av. de l’Europe, Fribourg, Switzerland, 1700

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ISSN 2686-9136 (Online)