WeChat has become the social infrastructure people have grown accustomed to conduct all kinds of communications on, including daily conversation and business negotiation. As a traditional Chinese saying goes “where there is people, there is dispute”, while using WeChat, disputes are bound to follow. In such cases, can WeChat record be used as legal evidence to settle disputes? We will briefly introduce the requirements for it to function as evidence. Let’s start!
According to relevant regulations of PRC, WeChat record can be deemed as digital evidence, stored in an electronic medium. Compared to traditional evidence such as physical evidence and written evidence, it’s more likely to be altered or destroyed, hence three basic conditions need to be fulfilled for it to function as legal evidence: authenticity, relevance, and legitimacy. Specifically, a) authenticity, the content of evidence must be authentic; b) relevance, evidence must bear objective relevance with the subject matters; c) legitimacy, legal form and source.
In practice, legitimacy is relatively easy to comply. During WeChat communications, both parties engage knowingly and willingly and the records do not involve privacy violation or illegal recording, hence it shall be deemed legal. So the main difficulty shall rest on how to prove the authenticity and relevance; we could give you the following suggestions:
1. Maintain the completeness of WeChat evidence, utilize the “Favorite” function in WeChat to store original record and conduct regular backups of WeChat record to avoid data loss caused by device or system malfunction;
2. Try to clarify the identification information of counterparties during the WeChat communication, for example, you can directly ask counterparty to acknowledge his/her identification, or through some indirect ways, the avatar of counterparty and the posts in his/her “Moments” can also be used to identify the counterparty according to legal precedents;
3. WeChat text dialogue shall be clear, accurate and definite, emoji and pictures should be used with caution especially to deliver explicit information, audio quality in audio dialogue should be clear and better with subsequent written confirmation.
D’Andrea& Partners will continually share the newest information of WeChat record’s effectiveness as evidence. Should you have any questions, please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org