Several Provisions of the Supreme People's Court on the Audio-Video Recordings of Court Trials by the People's Courts

In order to guarantee the procedural rights of litigation participants, regulate trial activities, improve the efficiency of court trials, deepen judicial publicity, and promote judicial justice, these Provisions are developed in accordance with the Criminal Procedure Law of the People's Republic of China, the Civil Procedural Law of the People's Republic of China, the Administrative Procedural Law of the People's Republic of China and other legal provisions and in light of the practices in court trials.

Article 1 When holding a court session to try a case, a people's court shall make audio-video recordings throughout the entire process of court trial.

Article 2 A people's court shall equip the tribunals with fixed or mobile audio-video recording equipment.

When conditions permit, a people's court may install an intelligent voice recognition system for synchronously converting voice to text at tribunals.

Article 3 The audio-video recordings of a court trial shall commence when the court declares the court session opened and end when the court session is closed. The audio-video recordings of a court trial shall not be suspended artificially, except under the following circumstances:

(1) Adjournment of court trial.

(2) Non-public proof or cross-examination of evidence in open court trials.

(3) Mediation activities for which it is improper to make audio-video recordings.

The persons responsible for making audio-video recordings shall record the starting and ending time, suspension, and other information of the audio-video recordings and attach the records to the case files.

Article 4 A people's court shall ensure the authenticity and completeness of the audio-video recordings of court trials by synchronizing the recording time or taking other measures.

Where audio-video recordings are false or incomplete due to equipment failure or technical reasons, the person responsible for making the recordings shall give a written explanation, which shall be attached to the case file after it is examined and signed by the presiding judge or sole judge.

Article 5 A people's court shall adopt special equipment to make online or offline storage of or back up the audio-video recordings of court trials. Those audio-video recordings that fail to meet technical standards due to equipment failure shall be stored together.

The archiving of the audio-video recordings of a court trial shall be subject to the provisions of the people's court on the administration of electronic litigation archives.

Article 6 The trial transcripts synchronously converted and generated by a people's court via the intelligent voice recognition system shall be regarded as trial transcripts for management and use after the judges, court clerk, and litigation participants affix their signatures upon verification.

Article 7 Where a litigation participant raises an objection about the trial transcripts and request supplementation or correction, the court clerk may play the audio-video recordings of the court trial for verification, supplementation or correction; if no supplementation or correction is permitted, the request shall be on record.

Article 8 The audio-video recordings of a court trial for a civil case tried under summary procedure may replace trial transcripts with the consent of the parties.

Article 9 A people's court shall synchronously store the audio-video recordings of a court trial that have replaced trial transcripts in the server or burn them onto a CD, which shall be confirmed by signature or other means of the parties and other litigation participants in respect of integrity check value.

Article 10 A people's court shall, through the trial process information disclosure platform, the litigation service platform and other litigation service platforms for the convenience of people, provide convenience for the parties, defense lawyers, and litigation representatives when they consult the audio-video recordings of court trials in accordance with the law.

The people's court shall take necessary security precautions for audio-video recordings provided for consultation.

Article 11 The parties, defense lawyers, and litigation representatives may duplicate video recordings or transcribe the audio-video recordings of court trials in accordance with relevant provisions; where necessary, the people's courts shall be equipped with corresponding facilities.

Article 12 A people's court may legally play the audio-video recordings of court trials of a case tried in public.

Article 13 Where any litigation participant or observer, in violation of the tribunal disciplines or relevant legal provisions, endangers the safety of the tribunal and disrupts the court order, the people's court may conduct investigations for verification through the audio-video recordings of the court trial and use such recordings as evidence for investigation of legal liability.

Article 14 Where a people's procuratorate or a litigation participant deems that a court trial is not in compliance of regulations or is in violation of the law, the people's court shall conduct investigations for verification on the basis of the audio-video recordings of the court trial.

Article 15 Without the permission of a people's court, no one may make audio-video recordings of court trials, or record, duplicate, delete or move such recordings.

Where an actor commits any act mentioned in the preceding paragraph, he or she shall be subject to the corresponding liability as required.

Article 16 The recording of court trial activities involving state secrets, trade secrets or personal privacy, and the storage, consultation, reproduction or transcription of audio-video recordings of a court trial shall comply with the relevant provisions on confidential management.

Article 17 The relevant technical assurance, technical standards and technical specifications involved in the making of audio-video recordings of court trials shall be separately developed by the Supreme People's Court.

Article 18 These Provisions shall apply, mutatis mutandis, to the circumstances under which it is necessary for a people's court to make audio-video recordings when engaging in other trial activities or carrying out activities such as execution, hearing and reception of visitors.

Article 19 The Provisions shall come into force as of March 1, 2017. For any discrepancy between these Provisions and any judicial interpretation or regulatory document previously issued by the Supreme People's Court, these Provisions shall prevail.