Virtual Hearing in China’s Smart Court

By Zheng Sophia Tang, Wuhan University (China) and Newcastle University (UK)

Mr Ting Liao, PhD candidate at the Wuhan University Institute of International Law, published a note on the Chinese Smart Court, which attracted a lot of interest and attention. We have responded a few enquires and comments, some relating to the procedure and feasibility of virtual/remote hearing. Based on the questions we have received, this note provides more details on how the virtual hearing is conducted in China.

  1. Background

The fast development of virtual hearing and its wide use in practice in China are attributed to the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic causes serious disruption to litigation. China is a country that has adopted the toughest prevention and controlling measures. Entrance restriction, lockdown, quarantine and social distancing challenge the court process and case management. In the meantime, this challenge offers the Chinese courts a chance to reform and modernize their judicial systems by utilizing modern technology. Since suspending limitation period may lead to backlog and delay, more Chinese courts favour the virtual proceedings. This strategy improves judicial efficiency and helps parties’ access to justice in the unusual circumstances.

How Emerging Technologies Shape the Face of Chinese Courts?

Author: Ting LIAO, Ph.D. candidate, Wuhan University Institute of International Law

A. Technology in the Context of Judicial Reform

According to Max Weber, “the modern judge is a vending machine into which the pleadings are inserted together with the fee, and which then disgorges the judgment together with the reasons mechanically derived from the code.” [1]Max Weber’s conjecture is a metaphor for the vital connotation of intelligence. The key elements of intelligence are people, data and technology. So, how these elements are utilized in the judicial system?

Generally, a significant number of courts are experimenting with the use of internet, artificial intelligence and blockchain for case filling, investigation and evidence obtaining, trials and the initiation of ADR procedures. The so-called smart justice projects are commenced in many countries. China has also made significant progress in this domain. In addition to accelerating the use of the internet technology, the Supreme People’s Court of China has demonstrated its ambition to use AI  and blockchain to solve problems in the judicial proceedings.[2]

Ducking the Ricochet: The Supreme Court of Canada on Foreign Judgments

Written by Stephen G.A. Pitel, Western University

The court’s decision in HMB Holdings Ltd v Antigua and Barbuda, 2021 SCC 44 (available here) is interesting for at least two reasons. First, it adds to the understanding of the meaning of “carrying on business” as a test for being present in a jurisdiction. Second, it casts doubt on the application of statutory registration schemes for foreign judgments to judgments that themselves recognize a foreign judgment (the so-called ricochet).

In this litigation HMB obtained a Privy Council judgment and then sued to enforce it in British Columbia. Antigua did not defend and so HMB obtained a default judgment. HMB then sought to register the British Columbia judgment in Ontario under Ontario’s statutory scheme for the registration of judgments (known as REJA). An important threshold issue was whether the statutory scheme applied to judgments like the British Columbia one (a recognition judgment). In part this is a matter of statutory interpretation but in part it requires thinking through the aim and objectives of the scheme.



Webinar: “UNIDROIT’s Projects and Technology”

The University of Turin and ILO International Training Centre’s Master in International Trade Law is pleased to announce that on Friday 10 December 2021 it will host a webinar (co-organised with UNIDROIT) on UNIDROIT’s Projects and Technology. The event will take place at 2.00 P.M. CET on Zoom via the following link:

The event will be introduced by Professor Silvia Ferreri (University of Turin). The speakers’ panel will be composed by Professor Anna Veneziano (Deputy Secretary-General, UNIDROIT, and University of Teramo), Professor Theresa Rodriguez de las Heras Ballel (University Carlos III, Madrid, and Roy Goode Scholar, UNIDROIT) and Dr. Philine Wehling (Legal Officer, UNIDROIT). Professor Cristina Poncibò (University of Turin) and Professor Gustavo Prieto (Ghent University) will participate as discussants.

A new Justice has been appointed to the Mexican Supreme Court, a specialist in Private International Law and Human Rights

Yesterday the Mexican Senate appointed Loretta Ortiz Ahlf as a new Justice at the Mexican Supreme Court (Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación de México). She is a senior member (miembro numerario) of the Mexican Academy of Private International and Comparative Law (AMEDIP). Loretta Ortiz Ahlf has had several political and legal positions in the Mexican government as a Congress Representative, Advisor of Human Rights, among others. For more information, click here.

This appointment will certainly further the knowledge of Private International Law and Human Rights at the Mexican Supreme Court.

Update: HCCH 2019 Judgments Convention Repository

HCCH 2019 Judgments Convention Repository

In preparation of the Conference on the HCCH 2019 Judgments Convention on 9/10 September 2022, planned to be taking place on campus of the University of Bonn, Germany, we are offering here a Repository of contributions to the HCCH 2019 Judgments Convention. Please email us if you miss something in it, we will update immediately…

Update of 20 November 2021: New entries are printed bold.

Please also check the “official” Bibliography of the HCCH for the instrument.

I. Explanatory Reports

Garcimartín Alférez, Francisco;
Saumier, Geneviève
„Convention of 2 July 2019 on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Civil or Commercial Matters: Explanatory Report“, as approved by the HCCH on 22 September 2020 (available here)
Garcimartín Alférez, Francisco;
Saumier, Geneviève
“Judgments Convention: Revised Draft Explanatory Report”, HCCH Prel.-Doc. No. 1 of December 2018 (available here)
Nygh, Peter;
Pocar, Fausto
“Report of the Special Commission”, HCCH Prel.-Doc. No. 11 of August 2000 (available here), pp 19-128

II. Bibliography