Are WeChat Conversations Recognised In Court?

Now Shenzhen   |   March 29, 2024

CHINA LAW 101: Video 93

This is the 19th video of the Living In China Chapter.


To watch the video, click the image above.

In the realm of civil litigation, we are witnessing an evolution in the nature of evidence due to the pervasive influence of technology on our lives. A prime example of this is the emergence of WeChat, a platform that has become more than just a communication tool—it has become a significant source of evidence in legal disputes.

Therefore, I wish to discuss the multifaceted nature of WeChat evidence and the critical importance of its meticulous preservation and presentation in a courtroom setting. WeChat evidence can manifest as textual interactions, which provide a direct transcript of conversations; as images that can capture incriminating or exculpatory moments; as voice messages that offer insights into the intentions and emotions of the speakers; as videos that document actions and events; as web links that can reveal a party's interest or knowledge at a specific time; and as financial transactions that record the flow of money and can corroborate claims of payment or receipt.


However, the existence of this evidence is not enough. Its admissibility and effectiveness are contingent upon the way it is handled from the moment it's identified until it is presented before the court. The preservation of WeChat evidence requires a rigorous approach to demonstrate its authenticity and to maintain its integrity. Authenticity is established by showing lawful possession of the records, confirming the identities of the conversation participants through their personal information, and ensuring that the chat logs are intact, reflecting a true and accurate record of the communications.

Should you find yourself unable to attend court to present the original evidence directly from its source, it is advisable to have your WeChat conversations officially notarized by a public notary. Contrary to what you might assume, this procedure is relatively straightforward. Public notaries are readily available in most cities, and securing their services is simply a matter of having your attorney arrange an appointment.

Depending on the notary's capabilities, you may require the assistance of a translator. However, many notaries employ English-speaking staff who are equipped to handle the notarization process. During your session, the notary officer will capture screenshots of the relevant messages. These screenshots will then be signed and stamped, effectively certifying their authenticity. These notarized copies can then be submitted to the court as a legitimate stand-in for the original device.


When it comes to presenting this evidence in court, the original devices that contain the WeChat data must be preserved as they are the vessels of authenticity. We must be prepared to navigate through the WeChat accounts in real-time, to showcase personal information that confirms the identities of those involved, and to present the entire thread of communication to provide the full context of the exchanges.

The importance of notarization cannot be overstressed, especially for visual evidence such as images and videos. In an age where digital content can be easily manipulated by means like Photoshop, the provenance of each piece of evidence must be meticulously verified to ensure its credibility and relevance to the case at hand.