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Experimental Online Trials Introduced

Posted April. 03, 2006 03:00,   


Online trials using blogs or mini-homepages, will soon become a reality.

Starting this April, “blog” and “internet bulletin board” hearings will be held online.

Plea instructions will be posted on online bulletin boards prepared by a court of justice. Lawsuit costs (revenue stamps) can be paid by credit cards like purchasing movie tickets through the Internet, and a receipt will be given immediately.

The Supreme Court (SC) and Seoul Administration Court (SAC) (chief justice: Lee Woo-geun) said yesterday that they have designated Administration Division 11 (division head prosecutor: Kim Sang-joon) of the SAC as an experimental judicial division for online trials, and use it for industrial accident-related litigation.

The online trials will cover preliminary hearings only, which precede main trials. When related provisions of the Civil Procedure Act are revised, all judicial processes, including lodging complaints, lawsuit costs payment and verdict announcements, will be available online.

Online trials will provide private blogs and bulletin boards space to the litigants in the lawsuits.

As for cases that public institutions are involved in, a private blog connected to the SC homepage (www.scourt.go.kr) or the SAC homepage (sladmin.scourt.go.kr), will be offered.

The SAC covers most lawsuits against public institutions, such as the Korea Labor Welfare Corporation and the Government Employees Pension Corporation. These institutions used to bring or face similar cases, but have moved forward their cases separately. But they can manage whole lawsuits on their own through private blogs from now on. They can proceed with each case only by posting several answer documents onto bulletin boards in the blogs.

The blogs will provide a variety of functions (menus) that typical blogs have, including scrapbook and cyber office functions, as well as bulletin boards.

As for lawsuits that individuals are involved in, only simple bulletin boards will be provided. The parties concerned may post their writings on the board to express their own opinion during the trial.

When one party submits litigation documents or evidence materials through the board, they are delivered to the other party immediately.

During the Internet trial through blogs, parties concerned can open oral proceedings as well, if they have something to directly talk in the court.

An SC official said, “If litigation materials are posted to the Internet space from the beginning of lawsuits, time and costs will probably be saved, since paper could disappeared from trials.”

“Blog trials are to be applied to administrative litigations first, but will be extended to cover civil or patent actions, which account for around 80 percent of court actions, as well,” he added.

Ji-Seong Jeon Jin-Kyun Kil verso@donga.com leon@donga.com