To enable Chinese and foreign parties to enjoy the same convenient and efficient docketing services, the Supreme People’s Court formulated the Provisions on Online Docketing Services for Parties to Cross-border Litigation (the “Provisions”) on February 3, 2021 in accordance with the Civil Procedure Law of the People’s Republic of China, the Provisions of the Supreme People’s Court on Issues Concerning the Registration and Docketing of Cases in People’s Courts and other laws and judicial interpretations.
1. Setting out the scope of parties and the types of cases under jurisdiction
For the purposes of the Provisions, the “parties to cross-border litigation” include foreign nationals, residents of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region or the Macau Special Administrative Region (the “Hong Kong and Macau SARs”), residents of the Taiwan area, citizens of the Chinese mainland who habitually reside abroad or in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, and enterprises and organizations registered abroad or in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. The scope of cases includes first instance civil and commercial litigations.
2. Stipulation of the procedures and materials for verifying the identities of the parties
The people’s courts shall provide online case docketing services for parties to cross-border litigation through the China Mobile Micro Court. First, if the parties are applying for online case docketing for the first time, the court where the lawsuit was filed shall conduct identity verification first. Identity verification results shall be provided to the parties online within three working days. In addition, the parties shall submit online the following materials to the court where the lawsuit was filed:
(1). Foreigners shall submit their passports and other documents showing their identity; enterprises and organizations shall submit identification and certification documents proving that the persons participating in litigation on their behalf are properly authorized representatives. The certification documents shall be legalized by a notary public in the countries where they are domiciled or located, then certified by the Chinese embassies or consulates in those countries.
(2). Residents of the Hong Kong and Macao SARs are required to submit identification papers, the Hong Kong/Macau Mainland Residency Certificates, or their Hong Kong and Macau Resident Mainland Travel Permits. Enterprises and organizations shall submit identification and certification documents proving that the persons participating in litigation on their behalf are properly authorized representatives. The certification documents shall be legalized by a notary public in the Chinese mainland and be stamped and forwarded by China Legal Services (HK) Ltd. or China Legal Services (Macau) Ltd.
(3). Residents of the Taiwan area are required to submit identification papers issued in the Taiwan area, the Taiwan Mainland Residency Certificates, or their Taiwan Resident Mainland Travel Permits. Enterprises and organizations shall submit identification and certification documents proving that the persons participating in litigation on their behalf are properly authorized representatives. The certification documents shall be handled via the cross-strait usage verification channel for notarial certificates.
(4). Citizens of the Chinese mainland who habitually reside overseas or in the Hong Kong and Macau SARs are required to submit their resident identity cards, household registers or ordinary passports issued by the public security authorities of China to prove their identity, and provide a work visa, permanent residence permit and other materials proving that they have legally resided abroad or in Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan for more than one year continuously.
3. The secondary materials to be submitted for online docketing of cases
The parties to cross-border litigation are further required to submit the following materials: (1) the complaint; (2) proof of identity of the parties and the corresponding proof of notarization, certification and forwarding for verification; and (3) evidentiary materials. The above materials should use the common language of the People’s Republic of China or be translated by a qualified translation company.
4. Stipulation on the materials required from retained agents
If a party to a cross-border litigation entrusts an agent to carry out the litigation, the agency materials to be submitted are: (1) A power-of-attorney letter signed by a foreign national or a representative of an enterprise or organization executed outside of China shall be notarized by a notary office in the country where the foreign national or enterprise/organization representative is located and certified by the Chinese embassy or consulate in that country; if the country does not have diplomatic relations with China, the power of attorney may be notarized by a notary office in the country and forwarded to an embassy or consulate of a third country that has diplomatic ties with China in the same country for certification before it is again forwarded to China’s embassy or consulate in that third country for further certification; if the power-of-attorney is signed within the territories of China, its execution shall be witnessed by a judge or by a notary office in the Chinese mainland; (2) In the case where the agent represents a resident, enterprise or organization of the Hong Kong or Macau SARs, a power-of-attorney letter executed outside of China shall be notarized by a notary public recognized in the Chinese mainland, then stamped and forwarded by China Legal Service (Hong Kong) Limited or China Legal Service (Macau) Limited; if the power-of-attorney letter is executed outside of China, it shall be under the witness of a judge or notarized by a notary office in the Chinese mainland; (3) a power of attorney letter executed outside of mainland China by a resident of the Taiwan area shall be handled through the cross-strait channels for verification of notarial certificates, and if it is executed in mainland China, it shall be under the witness of a judge or notarized by a notary office in the mainland; and (4) a power-of-attorney letter mailed or forwarded from abroad by a mainland Chinese citizen with habitual residence in a foreign country shall be certified by the Chinese embassy or consulate in that country; if there is no Chinese embassy or consulate in that country, the power-of-attorney letter shall first be certified by the embassy or consulate of a third country that has diplomatic ties with China located in that foreign country and then forwarded to the Chinese embassy or consulate in that third country for further certification, or the letter may be certified by a local patriotic overseas Chinese organization.
After receiving an application for online docketing, the court shall timely register and docket the case if the legal requirements are complied with. If the complaint and materials submitted do not meet the requirements, the party concerned shall be notified in a single instance to supplement or correct them within 15 days. If it is difficult for the party to make such supplements or corrections within 15 days, the party may apply for an extension to 30 days. If the party fails to timely supplement or correct the materials as required and it does not apply for an extension of the time limit, the docketing materials shall be returned. If the materials do not meet the requirements of the law, the materials may be returned online along with an explanation about the specific reasons for the return. If it is impossible to determine whether the requirements of the law are complied with, the court shall make a decision on whether or not to docket the case within seven working days. The party to cross-border litigation may inquire about the status of the process and the docketing results online.