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Negotiating Legal Reform through Reception of Law: The Missing Role of Mixed Legal Transplants

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 November 2019

Kien TRAN
Affiliation:
School of Law, Vietnam National University, Hanoi, Vietnam; Institute for Social Development Studies, Vietnamtrankien@vnu.edu.vn; trankien@isds.org.vn
Nam Ho PHAM
Affiliation:
Institute for Social Development Studies, Vietnamphamhonam@isds.org.vn
Quynh-Anh Lu NGUYEN
Affiliation:
Institute for Social Development Studies, Vietnamngluquynhanh@isds.org.vn
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Abstract

Our research proposes ‘mixed legal transplant’ as a new concept in theories of legal transplantation. While the concept of legal transplantation is real, the phenomenon is much more complicated than what is often depicted and discussed by the academic community. In modern times, legal transplantation is often an informed reception by independent sovereign nations or people of two or more sets of rules from different jurisdictions, rather than a simplistic and passive reception of rules from one country to another. Using Vietnam as a case study, this article analyzes the deliberate consideration of two different models of precedent in the civil and common law traditions by Vietnamese lawmakers, and their choice of a mixed legal transplant in the hope that it would be best suited to the needs of a socialist country in transition. Its methods and results, however, are still in doubt and have been criticized as possibly creating uncertainty due to their structural incoherence. This article therefore concludes by proposing recommendations based on legal tradition to correct the misuse of the mixed legal transplant in Vietnam, and we hope that these recommendations can serve as a model for other countries.

Type
Article
Copyright
Copyright © National University of Singapore, 2019

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Footnotes

*

Deputy Director, Institute for Social Development Studies, Vietnam; Lecturer, School of Law, Vietnam National University, Hanoi, Vietnam.

**

Researcher, Institute for Social Development Studies, Vietnam.

***

Researcher, Institute for Social Development Studies, Vietnam.

Declaration of funding: This research is funded by Vietnam National Foundation for Science and Technology Development (NAFOSTED) under grant number 505.01-2017.02.

The original version of this article was published without the Declaration of Funding information. An Addendum notice detailing this has been published and the error rectified in the online and print PDF and HTML copies.

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ibid.

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ibid.

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149. Chau Hoang Than, ‘Thách Thức và Định Hướng Triển Khai Áp Dụng Án Lệ ở Việt Nam [Challenge of and Direction for the Application of Case Law in Vietnam]’ (n 135).

150. Chau Hoang Than, ‘Cấu Trúc và Áp Dụng Án Lệ ở Việt Nam Hiện Nay [Structure and Application of Precedent in Vietnam]’ (n 37).

151. Nguyen Van Nam, Lý Luận và Thực Tiễn về Án Lệ Trong Hệ Thống Pháp Luật Của Các Nước Anh, Mỹ, Pháp, Đức và Những Kiến Nghị Đối Với Việt Nam [Theory and Practice in the Legal System of the United Kingdom, United States, France, Germany and Recommendations for Vietnam] (The People's Public Security Publishing House 2012) 341.

152. ibid 342.

ibid

153. Do Van Dai, ‘Tiếp Thu Kinh Nghiệm Từ Pháp và Thụy Sỹ Trong Pháp Điển Hóa Vấn Đề Án Lệ [To Learn Experiences from France and Switzerland in the Codification of Case Law]’ (2014) 20 Legal Studies 58.

154. ibid.

ibid.

155. Hoang Thi Kim Que (n 68) 324.

156. Nguyen Van Nam (n 151) 448.

157. Civil Code of Switzerland 1912, art 1: ‘In the absence of a provision, the court shall decide in accordance with customary law and, in the absence of customary law, in accordance with the rule that it would make as legislator.’

158. Fusihara Hirota, ‘Một Vài Nhận Định về Chế Độ Án Lệ ở Việt Nam [Some Comments on the Precedent in Vietnam]’ (Conference on ‘Precedent in Vietnam – The fact of application’, Hanoi, 17 Mar 2017).

159. ibid.

ibid.

160. Chau Hoang Than, ‘Cấu Trúc và Áp Dụng Án Lệ ở Việt Nam Hiện Nay [Structure and Application of Precedent in Vietnam]’ (n 37).

161. 2013 Constitution, art 74: ‘The Standing Committee of the National Assembly has the following duties and powers: 2. To enact ordinances on matters entrusted to it by the National Assembly; to interpret the Constitution, the law, and decree-laws.’

162. Dau Cong Hiep & Ha Thi Phuong Tra, ‘Quy Định về Án Lệ Trong Luật Tổ Chức Tòa Án Nhân Dân Năm 2014 – Nhìn Từ Góc Độ Bản Chất Của Án Lệ [Case Law under the Law on Organization of the People's Courts of 2014: From the Perspective of Nature of Case Law]’ (2016) 4 State and Law Review 9.

163. Constitution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics 1936, art 121: ‘The Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR shall: … 5. interpret the laws of the USSR.’

164. Luật Tổ chức Quốc hội [Law on the Organization of the National Assembly of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam] (57/2014/QH13), art 49: ‘Interpretation of the Constitution, laws and ordinances: … 2. Depending on the nature and content of the matter to be interpreted, the Standing Committee of the National Assembly shall assign the Government, the Supreme People's Court, the Supreme People's Procuracy or the Ethnic Council or the Committee of the National Assembly to draft a resolution interpreting the Constitution, laws and ordinances to be submitted to the Standing Committee of the National Assembly for consideration and deciding.’

165. Vo Tri Hao, ‘Vai Trò Giải Thích Pháp Luật Của Tòa Án [The Court's Role of Interpreting Legislation]’ (Conference held at Ho Chi Minh City University of Law, 12 Nov 2008) <https://sites.google.com/site/ahdandthelaw/luat-hinh/bai/vai-tro-giai-thich-phap-luat-cua-toa-an> accessed 28 Sep 2019.

166. Huynh Thi Hien Sinh, ‘Giải Thích Pháp Luật ở Úc và Nhu Cầu Luật Hóa Hoạt Động Giai Thích Pháp Luật ở Việt Nam [Interpretation of Laws in Australia and the Need of Legalising Activities of Interpretation in Vietnam]’ (2014) 4 Legal Studies 57.

167. Yoomin Rah, ‘Án Lệ ở Hàn Quốc [Precedent in South Korea]’, in Kỷ yếu Hội thảo khoa học chuyên đề [Summary record of conferences on special subjects] (People's Public Security Publishing House 2015) 92.

168. ibid.

ibid.

169. ibid.

ibid.

170. Court Organisation Act 2014 of the Republic of Korea (Act No 8794), art 8: ‘Judgment in the trial of a higher court shall be subordinate to the case concerned.’

171. Resolution No 03/2015/NQ-HDTP (n 74), art 2: ‘Criteria for selecting precedents: Each precedent to be selected must satisfy all criteria below: 1. Containing arguments to clarify the provisions of the law which have differing interpretations, analyze and explain legal issues or events, and legal principles and guidelines to be followed in a specific situation; 2. Having normative value; 3. Ensuring the consistency of law in adjudication and the same settlement results from the two cases having the same facts or events.’

172. Huong, Tran Thi Dieu, ‘Án Lệ Trong Hệ Thống Pháp Luật Thông Luật Anh – Kinh Nghiệm Cho Việc Hoàn Thiện Quy Định về Án Lệ ở Việt Nam [Precedent in the English Common Law System and Experiences for Completion of Regulations on Precedent in Vietnam]’ (2017) 2 Democracy and Law Review 57Google Scholar.

173. Hanh, Do Thi Mai, ‘Transplanting Common Law Precedents: An Appropriate Solution for Defects of Legislation in Vietnam (Part 2)’ (2015) 7 European Scientific Journal 48Google Scholar: ‘The theories of legal transplants of Watson and Freund generally confirm possibility of successful transplants although this possibility requires different conditions according to each author. At least, this is a theoretical basis for anticipating success of applying precedents in the Vietnamese legal system. Furthermore, borrowing precedents can proceeded at an advantageous time, that is when Vietnam is in the process of judicial and legal reforms. For instance, it is quite possible for Vietnam to change its court structure and produce an effective reporting, both of which are required for the viability of Common Law precedents.’

174. Tuan, Nguyen Minh, Bình Luận Khoa Học Bộ Luật Dân Sự Việt Nam Năm 2015 [Scientific Commentaries on the 2015 Civil Code of Vietnam] (Judicial Publishing House 2016) 17Google Scholar.

175. 2013 Constitution, art 102: ‘The People's Courts are responsible for the protection of justice, human rights, citizen's rights, socialist regime, interests of the State and legal rights and interests of organisations and individuals.’

176. Nguyen Dang Dzung, ‘Quyền Lực Nhà Nước Luôn Thống Nhất Vào Hiến Pháp, Xuất Phát Từ Sự Phân Công, Phối Hợp và Kiểm Soát Giữa Các Quyền Lập Pháp, Hành Pháp và Tư Pháp [State Power is Always Integrated into the Constitution, Stemming from the Assignment, Coordination and Control of Legislative, Executive and Judicial Powers]’, in Pham Hong Thai et al (eds), Sửa đổi, bổ sung Hiến Pháp 1992: Những vấn đề lý luận và thực tiễn [Amendment and supplement to the 1992 Constitution: Theoretical and practical issues], vol 1 (Hong Duc Publishing House 2012) 236.

177. Lam, Nguyen Duc, ‘Kiểm Soát Quyền Lực Trong Hiến Pháp [The Control of Power in the Constitution]’, in Thai, Pham Hong et al. (eds), Sửa đổi, bổ sung Hiến Pháp 1992: Những vấn đề lý luận và thực tiễn [Amendment and supplement to the 1992 Constitution: Theoretical and practical issues], vol 1 (Hong Duc Publishing House 2012) 275Google Scholar.

178. McGee, David, Parliamentary Practice in New Zealand (4th edn, Harris, Mary & Wilson, David eds, Oratia 2017) 459, 460Google Scholar.

179. 2015 Civil Code, art 6: ‘Application of analogy of laws: 1. In cases where relations are governed by the civil law and not agreed upon by the parties, and there are no provisions of law and no customary law, the analogy of law shall apply; 2. Where it is impossible to apply the analogy of law as provided by clause 1 of this Article, then apply the basic principles of civil law prescribed in Article 3 of this Code, precedent and equity.’

180. Do Van Dai, ‘Lãi Chậm Trả Tiền Trong Án Lệ Năm 2016 [Interest of Delayed Payment in Precedent in 2016]’ (Conference on ‘Precedent in Vietnam – The fact of application’, Hanoi, 17 Mar 2017).

181. Nguyen Thanh Dinh, ‘Án Lệ - Một Loại Nguồn Quan Trọng Góp Phần Hoàn Thiện Hệ Thống Pháp Luật Việt Nam [Case Law – An Important Legal Source Completes the Legal System of Vietnam]’, in Ngo Huy Cuong & Hoang Thi Kim Que (eds), Văn hóa pháp luật - Những vấn đề lý luận cơ bản và ứng dụng chuyên ngành [Legal Culture – Basic Fundamental Theories and Specialised Applications] (Vietnam National University Press 2011) 280.

182. Resolution No 03/2015/NQ-HDTP (n 74).

183. Do Thanh Trung (n 134).

184. ibid.

ibid.

185. Truong Hoa Binh (n 72).

186. Chau Hoang Than, ‘Challenge of and Direction for the Application of Case Law in Vietnam’ (n 135).

187. Ricci (n 59) 53.

188. Law of Organisation of the People's Courts of Vietnam, art 20.

189. Lafon, Jacqueline Lucienne, ‘France’, in Tate, C Neal & Vallinder, Torbjorn (eds), The Global Expansion of Judicial Power (New York University Press 2005) 292Google Scholar.

190. Do Van Dai, ‘Recognizing the Value of Contents in the Case Law-Making Decision’ (n 148).

191. Supreme People's Court of Vietnam, Scheme No 230/TANDTC-TCCB on the organizing of online training courses in 2018 (13 Apr 2018).

192. Representative of the Legal and Scientific Department of the Supreme People's Court, ‘Some Reports on the Application of Precedent’ (Paper presented at the international workshop on ‘Precedent - Theory, Practice in Vietnam and some countries’, Hanoi Law University, Hanoi, 4 Jul 2017).

193. Mai Thi Mai (n 145).

194. Do Van Dai, ‘Interest of Delayed Payment in Precedent in 2016’ (n 180).

195. Mai Thi Mai (n 145).

196. Dau Cong Hiep & Ha Thi Phuong Tra (n 162).

197. Mai Thi Mai (n 145).

198. Chau Hoang Than, ‘Structure and Application of Precedent in Vietnam’ (n 37): ‘According to a report of the Judiciary Committee of the National Assembly: in the year 2014, more than 4600 civil judgments and decisions were found in violation, 560 civil verdicts were unclear, there were errors, difficult to enforce. This report also indicates that there is a case which has been through 13 times of first instance and appealing, 3 times of cassation review, and after 19 years it is now back to the first instance. The rate of cancellation, correction is still high … In particular, the subjective reasons of the cancellation of the judgments always account for a very high proportion of the total number of canceled judgments or decisions. In addition, the skills of writing, presenting the judgment, deciding when applying the precedent in the trial is a big question in the development and application of precedent in our country.’

199. Mai Thi Mai (n 145).

200. Do Thanh Trung (n 134).

201. ibid.

ibid.

202. Nguyen Van Nam (n 151) 191.

203. Padden, Amy L, ‘Overruling Decisions in the Supreme Court: The Role of a Decision's Vote, Age, and Subject Matter in the Application of Stare Decisis after Payne v. Tennessee’, in Altschuler, Bruce E, Sgroi, Celia A & Ryniker, Margaret R (eds), Understanding Law in a Changing Society (3rd edn, Routledge 2016) 135Google Scholar; Mary Garvey Algero (n 87).

204. Nguyen Van Nam (n 151) 191.

205. Resolution No 03/2015/NQ-HDTP (n 74), art 9.

206. Truong Nhat Quang, ‘Áp Dụng Án Lệ [The Application of Case Law]’ (Conference on ‘Precedent in Vietnam – The fact of application’, Hanoi, 17 Mar 2017).

207. Kahn-Freund, Otto, ‘On Uses and Misuses of Comparative Law’ (1974) 37 Modern Law Review 1, 27CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

208. ibid.

ibid.

209. ibid.

ibid.

210. Cairns (n 2) 637.

211. Kahn-Freund (n 207).

212. Sauveplane (n 100) 120.

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