The Improvement of Online Arbitration Rules of Evidence in China

By Xia, Zheng | Cross - Cultural Communication, September 1, 2012 | Go to article overview

The Improvement of Online Arbitration Rules of Evidence in China


Xia, Zheng, Cross - Cultural Communication


Abstract

Online arbitration as an emerging method for resolving disputes has variable forms. Within the system, the storage and exchange of the evidence depends greatly on the system environment and the authenticity of the evidence is easily damaged. This paper compares the differences between online arbitration rules of evidence and civil rules of evidence. Then the author analyzes the flaws of online arbitration rules of evidence and proposes ideas of improvement. At last the author summarizes the feature and uniqueness of online arbitration and gives some detailed suggestions from the perspective of technical protection, collection evidence rules as well as supporting measures to online arbitration.

Key words: Online arbitration; Rules of evidence; Electronic evidence

January 26, 2012, the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) released the "29th China Internet Development Status Survey Report". The report shows that: At the end of December 2011, the total Internet users of China reached 513 million; China's mobile netizens1 reach 356 million. However, as of December 2011, the online shopping ratio of Chinese netizens reached 37.8%; the number of the shoppers reached 194 million people.2 Meanwhile, the global e-commerce market total scale has reached to $ 680 billion in 2011; a year-on-year growth of 18.9%. According to JP Morgan senior analyst Imran Kahn, this figure will reach to $ 963 billion by 201 3. 3 E-commerce has become an important trading pattern in the commodity economy. Along with the development of e-commerce, online arbitration as a dispute resolution mechanism in the internet has also been paid much attention.4

Online arbitration is the combination of the ordinary arbitration and network technology. Like offline arbitration, online arbitration refers to a solving mechanism that both parties hand over their disputes to the third party (that is the arbitration tribunal) to resolve their disputes. In fact, online arbitration simply changes the information transmission carrier and modes, so it does not alter the internal mechanisms and principles of offline arbitration. Due to these changes, online arbitration has demonstrated its convenience, fast speed across the physical space and other significant advantages. Since 2001, China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission has adopted online arbitration to resolve Internet domain name disputes. Guangzhou Arbitration Commission also began to put into trial use of online arbitration. There is no denying that problems existed between the theory and the practice of online arbitration referring to electronic validity of the arbitration agreement, the independence of the rules of evidence, the connection with litigation and the enforcement of arbitral awards etc. However, along with the continuous improvement and development of B2C (Business-to-Customer) e-commerce transactions and the development of network technology, online arbitration will show strong vitality due to its unique advantages. Therefore, the research and discussion of such issues, especially summary and analysis of the experience of online arbitration rules of evidence not only helps to improve the mode of online arbitration to solve online disputes but also facilitates the development of e-commerce in China to create a good legal environment.

1. OVERVIEW OF ONLINE ARBITRATION OF THE EVIDENCE

In arbitration, the evidence is the key for discovering facts, reaching conclusions and resolving disputes. Evidence is also important in online arbitrations. Therefore we should precisely define "online evidence" if we want to study the rules of online arbitration clearly. Generally, online arbitration evidence refers to the authentic case material collected by the parties or the arbitration tribunal. Moreover, the arbitration tribunal has the discretionary power to the evidence. In short, evidences used for online arbitration are not new types of evidence but general concepts for materials used in the process of online arbitration.

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