Litigation in Court is one of the hard duties of criminal lawyers. Dragon Law Firm would like provide some important information in litigation relating to the appellate trial procedures. For more detail, Clients can consider in the Civil Procedure Code 2015, Article 293 to Article 314 or feel free to contact to best attorneys in crime in Hanoi at criminal legal advice hotline 1900.599.979.

I. PROCEDURES FOR OPENING AN APPELLATE COURT SESSIONS

1. Scope of appellate trial

The appellate Courts shall only review the parts of the first-instance judgments/decisions, which are appealed against or related to the review of the appealed contents.

2. Participants in appellate Court sessions

a. The appellants, the involved parties, agencies/organizations/individuals that are related to the resolution of the appeals and the defense counsels of the involved parties' legitimate rights and interests must be summoned to the appellate Court sessions. The Courts can summon other procedure participants to Court sessions if they deem it necessary for the resolution of the appeals.

b. Procurators of the procuracy of the same level shall participate in the appellate Court session.

3. Suspension or termination of appellate trials in Court sessions

At appellate Court sessions, the suspension or termination of the appellate trail of cases shall comply with the provisions of Articles 288 and 289 of this Code.

4. Postponement of appellate Court sessions

a. If the procurators assigned to participate in the appellate Court sessions are absent, the trial panels shall not postpone the Court sessions and shall carry on the trial, unless the procuracy lodge appeals.

b. If people who file appeals, people who do not file appeals but have interests and duties related to the appeals or defense counsels of their legitimate rights and interests are absent at the first time they are duly summoned, the Court sessions must be postponed. If they apply for trial in their absence, the Judge shall carry out the appellate Court sessions according to procedures for trial in their absence.

c. If the appellants who have been duly summoned twice but are still absent, they shall be considered having waived their appeals and the Courts shall issue decisions to stop the appellate trial over the appeals of such appellants; if such appellants apply for trials in their absence, the Court shall carry out the appellate Court sessions in their absence.

If the appellants are absent due to force majeure events or objective obstacles, the Court sessions must be postponed.

If there are more than one appellants and any of whom has been duly summoned twice but are still absent without application for trials in their absence, he/she shall be considered having waived their appeals and the Court shall bring the case to trial. In the decision of the judgment, the Court shall terminate the appellate trial for the appeal of such absent appellant.

If people who do not file appeals but have interests and duties related to the appeals and other participants who have been duly summoned twice by the Courts but still absent, the Court shall carry on the trial.

d. The duration for postponement of, and the decisions to postpone, the appellate Court sessions shall comply with the provisions of Article 233 of this Code.

5. Preparation for opening of appellate Court sessions 

The preparation for the opening of appellate Court sessions and the procedures for starting the appellate Court sessions shall comply with the provisions of Articles 237, 239, 240, 241 and 242 of this Code.

6. Asking appeals and change of appeals in Court sessions

a. After the conclusion of the procedures for opening an appellate Court session, a member of the trial panel shall announce the contents of the case, the decision of the first-instance judgment and the appealed contents.

b. The presiding Judge shall ask the following issues:

- Whether or not the plaintiff wishes to withdraw his/her/its lawsuit petition or not;

- Whether or not the appellant or the procurator wishes to change, supplement or withdraw their appeal;

- Whether or not the involved parties can reach mutual agreements on the resolution of the case.

c. If the appellant withdraws a part of the appeal or the procuracy withdraws a part of the appeal, Court shall accept such withdrawal. If the appellant or the procuracy supplement contents that exceed the original scope of appeal, the Court shall not consider such contents.

7. Plaintiffs withdraw petition before or in appellate Court 

a. If the plaintiffs withdraw their lawsuit petitions before the opening of, or in, appellate Court sessions, the appellate Trial Panels must ask the defendants whether they agree therewith or not and may settle on a case-by-case basis as follows:

- Disapproving the withdrawal of lawsuit petitions by the plaintiffs if the defendants disagree;

- Approving the withdrawal of lawsuit petitions by the plaintiffs if the defendants agree. The Appellate Trial Panels shall issue decisions to abrogate first-instance judgments and terminate the resolution of the cases. In this case, the involved parties are still required to pay the first-instance Court fees as decided by the first-instance Courts and half of the appellate Court fees as provided for by law.

b. In cases where the Appellate Trial Panels issue decisions to terminate the resolution of the cases as prescribed in point b clause 1 of this Article, the plaintiffs shall be entitled to re-institute the cases according to the procedures prescribed by this Code.

8. Recognizing agreement of involved parties in appellate Court 

a. In appellate Court sessions, if the involved parties can reach mutual agreement on the resolution of their cases and their agreements are voluntary and not contrary to law or social ethics, the appellate trial panels shall render appellate judgments to revise the first-instance Court judgments and recognize the agreement of the involved parties.

b. The involved parties may also reach agreement on the payment of the first-instance Court fees. If they fail to reach such agreement, the Courts shall make decision according to law provisions.

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II. ORAL ARGUMENT IN APPELLATE COURT SESSIONS

1. Contents of oral argument in appellate Court sessions

Contents and forms of oral argument in appellate Court sessions shall comply with regulations in Article 247 of this Code.

2. Presentations of involved parties and procurators 

If the involved parties maintain the appeals and the procuracies maintain the appeals, the presentations in appellate Court sessions shall be performed as follows:

a. Presentation of appeals:

- Defense counsels of legitimate rights and interests of the appellant shall make presentation of the contents of appeals and grounds for the appeals. The appellants may give additional opinions.

In cases where all involved parties appeal, the presentations shall be made in the following order: the defense counsels of legitimate rights and interests of the appellants being plaintiffs and the plaintiffs; the defense counsels of legitimate rights and interests of the appellants being defendants and the defendants; the defense counsels of the legitimate rights and interests of the appellants being persons with related interests and duties and the persons with related interests and duties;

- In case where only the procuracies file appeals, the procuracies shall make presentation of the appealed contents. In cases where there are both appeal, the involved parties shall present the appealed contents and the grounds therefore first, then the procurators shall present the appealed contents and the grounds therefor;

- In cases where the involved parties have no defense counsels, they shall themselves present their opinions on the appealed contents as well as their proposals.

b. The defense counsels of legitimate rights and interests of other parties related to the appeal shall present their opinions on the appealed contents. The involved parties may give additional opinions.

c. In the appellate Court sessions, the involved parties and procurators may product additional evidences.

3. Procedures for inquiries and evidences examination of exhibits in appellate Court sessions

a. Procedures for inquiring participants and publishing materials and evidences, examining exhibits prescribed in Article 287 of this Code in appellate Court sessions shall be the same as those applicable in first-instance Court sessions.

b. The inquiry shall be made on matters falling within the scope of appellate trials as stipulated in Article 293 of this Code.

4. Postponement of appellate Court sessions

The postponement of appellate Court sessions shall comply with regulations in Article 259 of this Code.

5. Arguments in appellate Court sessions

a. In appellate Court sessions, involved parties and defense counsels of legitimate rights and interests of involved parties shall argue only about matters falling within the scope of appellate trials that have been inquired in appellate Court sessions.

b. Appellate arguments shall be conducted according to the following order:

- Defense counsels of legitimate rights and interests of the appellant shall make presentation. The appellants may give additional opinions;

- Defense counsels of legitimate rights and interests of the involved parties shall present arguments, question and answer. The involved parties may give additional opinions;

- When it is deemed necessary, the trial panel may request involved parties to present additional arguments about specific matters to form basis for the resolution of the case.

c. Appeal arguments shall be conducted according to the following order:

- Defense counsels of legitimate rights and interests of the involved parties shall present about the lawfulness and the groundedness of the appeal. The involved parties may give additional opinions;

- Procurators shall present opinions about matters presented by defense counsels of legitimate rights and interests of involved parties and/or involved parties.

d. If the involved parties have no defense counsels of legitimate rights and interests, they shall argue themselves.

e. If any of the involved parties or other participants is absent, the presiding Judge of the Court session must publish their testimonies, base on which the involved parties present in the Court session can argue and question and answer.

6. Presentations of the procurators in appellate Court sessions

When the arguments and questioning and answering finish, the procurators shall present opinions of the procuracies on the compliance with law provisions during the resolution of civil lawsuits in appellate trial period.

Immediately when the Court sessions finish, the procurators must send the writing containing the procuracies’ opinions to the Courts to be kept in the case files.

7. Deliberation and judgment pronouncement

The deliberation, the inquiry resumption and arguments, the time for deliberation, pronouncement, amendment and supplementation of appellate judgments shall comply with the first-instance trial procedures.

8. Jurisdiction of the appellate trial panels

The appellate trial panels shall have the power as follows:

a. To uphold the first-instance judgments;

b. To revise the first-instance judgments;

c. To repeal the whole or parts of first-instance judgments and transfer the case files to the first-instance Courts for retrial over the cases according to first-instance procedures;

d. To repeal the first-instance judgments and terminate the resolution of the cases;

e. To terminate the appellate trial;

f. To suspend the case resolution in case the Chief Justice of the Supreme People’s Court recommend competent agencies to consider amending, supplementing or repealing legislative documents denoting contrary to provisions of Constitutions, laws, Resolutions of National Assembly, ordinances, Resolutions of the Standing committee of the National Assembly, legislative documents of superior regulatory agencies until the competent agencies respond in writing.

9. Amendment to first-instance judgments

The appellate trial panels can revise part or whole of a first-instance judgment if the first-instance Court made a decision in contravention of law in the following cases:

a. The collection of evidences and proof has been carried out sufficiently and in accordance with the provisions of Chapter VII of this Code;

b. The collection of evidences and proof that have not been carried out sufficiently in first-instance Courts are completely supplemented in appellate Court sessions.

10. Repeal of whole or parts of first-instance judgments and transfer for retrial under first-instance procedures

The appellate trial panels shall repeal the whole or parts of first-instance judgments and transfer the case files to the first-instance Courts for retrial over the cases according to first-instance procedures in any of the following cases:

a. The collection of evidences and proof have failed to comply with the provisions of Chapter VII of this Code or have not yet been fully carried out while the supplementation thereof cannot be made in the appellate Court sessions;

b. The composition of the first-instance Trial Panels has fail to comply with the provisions of this Code or other serious procedural violations have been committed and affect lawful rights and interests of the involved parties.

11. Annulment of first-instance judgments and termination of case

The appellate trial panels shall annul first-instance judgments and terminate the case adjudication if during the resolution of the cases in the first-instance Court sessions, the cases fell under one of the circumstances stipulated in Article 217 or point b clause 1 Article 299 of this Code.

12. Termination of the appellate trial

The appellate trial panels shall terminate the appellate trial and uphold the first-instance judgment in any of the following cases:

a. Cases specified in clause 2 Article 289 of this Code;

b. The appellant is absent though has been duly summoned twice as prescribed in clause 3 Article 296 of this Code, unless the case is appealed against by another appellant by the procuracy.

13. Appellate Court judgments

a. The appellate trial panels shall, in the name of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, render appellate Court judgments.

b. An appellate Court judgment shall be composed of:

- The introduction;

- The case contents, appeal, assessment;

- The Court decision.

c. The introduction section must clearly state the name of the appellate court; the code number and date of the case acceptance; the serial number of the judgment and the date of judgment pronouncement; full names of the members of the trial panel, Court reporter, procurator, expert-witness and interpreter; full names and addresses of the plaintiffs, defendants, persons with related rights and obligations; agencies or organizations initiating the lawsuit or their lawful representatives, the defense counsels of their legitimate rights and interests; appellants or appealing procuracy; public or closed trial, time and place of trial.

d. The section on the case contents, the appeal and assessment must summarize the contents of the case and decision of the first-instance court; content of the appeal.

The Court must base themselves on materials and evidences examined at the Court session and result of argument at the Court session to analyze and assess comprehensively and objectively the appeal, details of the case, the adjudication and resolution of the first-instance court, legal grounds applied by the Court, if the case is of the cases specified in clause 2 Article 4 of this Code, the Court shall also base themselves on customs, legal similarity, basic principles of civil law, precedent or the justice to decide to accept or not to accept the appeal and to resolve relevant matters.

The decision must state legal grounds, decisions of the trial panel on each matters to be resolved in the case, on the application of provisional emergency measures, first-instance court’s fees, appellate court’s fees and procedural charges (if any).

e. When retrying cases whose judgments or decisions have been partial or wholly repealed according to cassation/reopening decisions, the Court shall resolve all issues pertaining to properties and/or duties that have been executed (if any) according to legally effective judgments and decisions that are repealed; such shall be recorded in the judgment.

f. The appellate judgments shall take effect as from the date they are pronounced.

14. Procedures for appellate revision of decisions of the first-instance Courts 

a. When conducting appellate trial over first-instance courts' decisions, which are appealed against, the appellate trial panels shall not be required to open Court sessions nor summon the involved parties, except where it is necessary to hear their opinions before making decisions.

b. Within 01 month form the day on which the appeal against a decision of a first-instance Court is accepted, the Court shall open an appellate meeting to review such decision; if there is good and sufficient reason, such period shall be 02 months. Procurators of the procuracy of the same level shall participate in the appellate meeting. If the procurators are absent, the meetings shall be still carried on by the Court, unless the procuracy lodges an appeal.

c. One member of the appellate panel shall present the summarized contents of the first-instance judgments which are appealed against, the contents of the appeals and accompanying materials as well as evidences (if any).

d. The procurators shall state the procuracies' opinions on the resolution of the appeals before the appellate trial panels make decisions.

e. When reviewing the first-instance courts' decisions, which are appealed against, the appellate trial panels shall have the power to:

- Uphold the first-instance courts' decisions;

- Amend the first-instance courts' decisions;

- Repeal the first-instance courts' decisions and transfer the case files to the first-instance Courts to continue the resolution of the cases.

f. The appellate decisions shall take effect as from the day on which they are issued.

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