In a first of its kind a court in China has conducted a trial on WeChat, an instant messaging app. This, the court says, is an attempt to speed up trial proceedings, local media reported.
The Zhengzhou Intermediate People's Court in Henan province conducted its first trial on WeChat, which is quite popular in China, on 17 December 2015. The trial was finished in 90 minutes, providing flexibility and convenience to judges and lawyers who conducted the case from different places.
"If all of the parties were in different cities, it really would take a lot of time for a traditional trial, summoning them to court for questioning and recording. The WeChat court trial took just a half an hour to deal with tasks that would have required a full day in the traditional system," Xue Yongsong, a staff member at the court, told state-run China Daily.
Guo Xiaokun, a spokesperson at the court, said the move improved the quality of trial "in the Internet era". He added that the WeChat trial system will be made more orderly to make it fully secured and exploitable for the legal system.
The trial was conducted using the app's text and photo-sharing features. "We worked with both online and offline support, then we selected and chose some suitable cases," Judge Wei Liping, who was a part of the first WeChat trial, explained.
"For me, it really shortens the time and energy," he said. "It is useful as it gives judges more time to deal with more complex cases."
However, legal authorities said that WeChat trials could be used only for less complex cases. "WeChat trials could be fast and convenient as they would be free of time and place restrictions. But the platform most likely would be used for less controversial cases, especially administrative cases," Wang Yongjie, director of the Beijing Zeyong Law Office, said