China officially set up its first "Internet court" in Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang Province on Monday, which experts believe will offer convenience for the city's many online businesses.
The Hangzhou Internet Court will hear seven kinds of lawsuits, including those which involve online shopping, online debt contracts and online copyright disputes, according to its official website.
Every step of the cases it hears will be completely processed online - from the filing of lawsuits to the mediation of disputes and trials conducted via video link.
All Internet-related cases in the city will gradually be separated from the existing trial system and be taken over by the new court, according to Chen Guomeng, president of the High People's Court of Zhejiang.
As Hangzhou is home to many Internet firms, such as Alibaba and NetEase it has a particularly high number of e-business lawsuits, Xie Yongjiang, a professor at the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, told the Global Times.
The number of Internet lawsuits handled by Hangzhou's courts have been rising rapidly over the years, increasing from 600 cases in 2013 to over 10,000 cases in 2016.
"Online courts significantly reduce lawsuits' cost and length. A trial could be opened and resolved with every participant sitting in front of their computer," Xie said, adding that specially trained legal personnel will be employed by the court.
A judge in East China's Jiangsu Province told the Global Times on condition of anonymity that many courts already offer online services but they lack of Internet-specialized personnel.
The anonymous judge believes "the Hangzhou Internet Court is likely to someday directly intervene in trade disputes on popular shopping sites, such as Taobao."
It has not been revealed how many lawsuits Taobao is involved in each year.