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China Will Close Public Access to Court Decision Documents

On November 21, 2023, China’s Office of the Supreme People’s Court issued a “Notice on the Construction of the National Court Judgment Document Database.” It announced that the new “National Court Judgment Document Database” will go live in January 2024. However, it will only offer internal access to court personnel to retrieve judgment documents. Lawyers, legal researchers, and the general public will not have access.

The Supreme People’s Court’s current online system, known as “China Judgments Online,” will stop operation. Many legal practitioners in China view this new development as a big setback for transparency in China’s judicial system. The old system offered legal professionals and the general public to access records during the past 10 years. Since its launch on July 1, 2013, China Judgments Online has accumulated a total of more than 143 million court decisions and has received hundred billion visits.

Source: Radio Free Asia, December 13, 2023