• Foreign ambassadors meet with China's Supreme People's Court for a dialogue in Aug. 2014 in Beijing.

Foreign ambassadors meet with China's Supreme People's Court for a dialogue in Aug. 2014 in Beijing. (Photo : Getty Images)

China's Supreme People's Court is set to introduce an English-language version of their website to enable foreigners to learn the country's judicial system and provide them with information related to judicial documents, including court verdicts, China Daily reported.

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"We need to introduce the verdict website in English, as disputes involving foreign litigants are rising rapidly, and to assist in the preparation of related work," Li Liang, director of the Trial Management Department at the Supreme People's Court, said on Tuesday, Aug.30.

"We'd like to provide foreigners with a better guide in English on the website if they need to search for verdicts and related judicial documents," Li said, although the law says that verdicts must be written in Chinese.

Li said that in coastal regions such as Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces, where cases involving foreigners are on the rise, some courts would like to provide foreigners with legal services and assistance.

"We hope to ease access to courts for litigants, no matter where they are from," Li said. He added that the verdicts in the English-language version would be based on the Chinese website.

According to the top court, the Chinese version has published more than 20 million verdicts and has reached more than 2 billion visits, 500 million of them from overseas, since July 2013.

Liu Xuewen, a member of the court's Judicial Committee, said that through the website, users may register to enable them to search and download verdicts.

"This is an effective way to improve judicial transparency," Liu said.

On Monday, Aug. 29, the top court released a revised rule to regulate disclosure, clarifying how verdicts should be released, including the types of judgments that should not be made public.

The new rule will take effect on Oct. 1, when the public will have access to all verdicts within seven days and the disclosures are expanded.

"In the past, some courts did not release initial rulings on the website as there was no unified standard on disclosure," Li said. "But starting in October, judgments made at any stage will be released."

Based on the rule, verdicts that cover divorces, offenders under age 18, and State secrets are not included in the disclosure. Personal information of litigants, including home addresses, bank account details and car registration plate numbers or identity cards will also be deleted from the verdicts.

The move was praised by Huang Jin, president of China University of Political Science and Law, but he noted that some courts are too conservative in opening administrative and criminal verdicts to the public.

Huang said that out of the 20 million verdicts published, 3.6 million are related to criminal cases, while 680,000 involved administrative cases. He added that the website should also provide a channel where people can immediately report about flawed verdicts or improper disclosure.