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Floating courthouse, with justice in its wake, serves remote residents

By FENG ZHIWEI | China Daily | Updated: 2017-09-12 08:31

A floating courthouse has been set up on a boat in Yiyang, Hunan province, to bring judicial services to isolated villagers.

The court held its first trial on the boat at Shiba wharf in Yanxi, a village of Yiyang, on Aug 21. After a one-hour trial, the two sides reconciled and reached an agreement over a loan contract.

The plaintiff, Liu Qiu, a resident of Yanxi, said the floating courthouse saved him a four-hour journey to the downtown area.

The defendant lives in another village and would need even more time to travel to a regular court, Liu said.

"Now, the boat court came to our area. It took me 20 minutes to get to the court from home. It is really convenient."

Liu Xin, the judge in charge of the court, said building a courthouse on the boat was not simple.

"This is the first court of its kind in Yiyang. A number of people live in reservoir areas. They usually need at least two or three hours to travel to the court in the city. Some of them even have to arrive in the city the day before the trial to be able to appear in court on time the next day," Liu said.

"Now, the boat comes to them, which could greatly reduce the cost of litigation," Liu said.

The court has jurisdiction over 1,100 square kilometers and serves 170,000 people.

Cases involving small amounts of money and simple litigation procedures will be tried at the court.

"We are trying to bring justice in every single case," said Liu.

In addition, the court has been inviting local people to listen to trials and learn from each case. The court also offers lectures on legal affairs in villages where legal resources are scarce.

Zhang Yi contributed to this story.

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