In a legal first for the region, the Guangzhou Intermediate People’s Court used a new blockchain system in a lending dispute case so the parties can submit evidence and do cross-examination online.

Fast facts

  • The “blockchain electronic cross-examination system” allows each side to upload its evidence online. The opposing party, under the judge’s supervision, can cross-examine the submitted evidence by asking questions and providing answers. The system records on the blockchain all the evidence submitted as well as the questions and statements from the cross-examination.
  • The reason for adopting the blockchain cross-examination system, in this case, was because travel restrictions from the Covid-19 pandemic would have delayed the trial if evidence review and cross-examination had to be done in person. The judge also decided that it would take too much time to submit evidence through the mail.
  • According to Legal Daily’s report, the plaintiff in this case sued the defendant over an unpaid loan principal of more than 1.16 million yuan (approximate US$ 179,170) plus interest. After the initial trial, a lower court ordered the defendant to repay more than 700,000 yuan (approximate US$108,120) and interest to the plaintiff. The plaintiff was dissatisfied with the judgment and appealed to the Guangzhou Intermediate Court.
  • The use of blockchain-assisted evidence in already established in other Chinese courts. In September 2018, China’s Supreme People’s Court issued a regulation to recognize blockchain technology as a legitimate means to collect, fix and tamper-proof data. In August this year, the Supreme People’s Court’s latest Regulation of Online Litigation issued additional regulations for determining the authenticity and validity of blockchain evidence.