IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS IN THE FIRST-INSTANCE COURT SESSION
When disputes arise between parties, to address the need for problem resolution while protecting the legal rights and interests of both parties, the usual options that disputants choose are to file a lawsuit in a Court or to opt for arbitration. However, in reality, many organizations and individuals, after submitting a lawsuit, simply wait for the receiving authority to resolve the dispute without understanding the crucial timings needed to ensure the lawsuit is properly accepted and thoroughly resolved. In this article, TNTP will discuss and analyze the important timing aspects when engaging in litigation at the first instance trial in Court.
1. Time to file the lawsuit Petition
Article 190 of the Civil Procedure Code 2015 specifies the process of submitting a Petition to the Court. Accordingly, the litigator can choose to submit the Petition along with the documents and evidence currently possessed to the competent court through various methods, such as direct submission at Courts, sending to Courts by post, or sending through e-portal of Courts (if any).
The date of initiation of the lawsuit shall be determined as the date on which the litigator submits the lawsuit to the Court or the date recorded on the postal service stamp where it was sent. If the date, month, and year cannot be ascertained from the postal service stamp, the date of initiating the lawsuit shall be the date on which the litigator sent the lawsuit through the postal service. In cases where the litigator submits the lawsuit electronically, the date of initiating legal proceedings is the date of sending the lawsuit.
Therefore, the time of submitting the lawsuit will be an important basis for the Court to calculate the initiation date and determine the time of receiving the lawsuit.
2. Time to the Court consider the Petition
After the litigant submits the Petition, the Court will carry out the procedures for receiving and processing the Petition to determine the jurisdiction of the case. The time frame for reviewing the Petition and determining jurisdiction is recorded in Article 191.2 and Article 191.3 of the Civil Procedure Code 2015, as follows:
Within 03 working days from the day on which the petitions are received, the Chief Justices of Courts shall assign one Judge to review the petitions.
Within 05 working days from the day on which they are assigned, the Judges shall review the petitions and make one of the following decisions:
(i) To request for amendment and/or supplementation of lawsuit petitions;
(ii) To carry out the acceptance procedures of the case;
(iii) To transfer the lawsuit petitions to competent Courts and notify the litigators thereof if the cases fall under other courts’ jurisdiction;
(iv) To return the lawsuit petitions to the litigator.
The Court’s review of the lawsuit and decision to take jurisdiction will serve as the basis for resolving disputes among the parties. Therefore, disputing parties must carefully and thoroughly prepare the lawsuit documents, along with relevant documents and evidence. Additionally, the parties should also be well-informed about the right to file a lawsuit, the conditions for filing a lawsuit, and the Court’s jurisdiction before submitting the lawsuit. This matter will ensure that the Court can efficiently take jurisdiction and resolve the dispute, avoiding the need for amendments, returning the lawsuit, and saving time for all parties involved.
3. Time for submitting the advance court fee and accepting the case.
The time for submitting the advance court fee and accepting the case is specifically regulated in Article 195 of the Civil Procedure Code 2015. Accordingly, when the receiving Court determines that the case falls within its jurisdiction, the Court will notify the litigator to complete the procedure of submitting the advance court fee in cases where such the advance court fee is required.
Within 07 days as from the day on which the courts’ notices on the advance court fee are received, the litigators must pay such advances and submit the receipts for the advance court fee.
The Judge accepts the case when the litigator submits the receipt for the advance court fee to the Court. In cases where the litigator is exempt from or not required to make the advance court fee, the Judge will accept the case upon receiving the complaint and the accompanying documents and evidence.
Therefore, the litigator needs to pay attention to the notifications from the Court and ensure the timely payment of Court fee. The advance court fee is a prerequisite and the first step for the Court to initiate the dispute resolution process.
Within 03 working days from the day on which the cases are accepted, the Judge must send written notices to the litigator, the defendant, the parties, the organizations, and the individuals with rights and obligations related to the settlement of the cases, to the procuracies of the same level on the Courts’ acceptances of the cases as stipulated in Article 196 of the Civil Procedure Code 2015. The time when the defendant files a counterclaim and the parties with relevant interests and duties file independent claims
According to Article 199 of the Civil Procedure Code 2015, within 15 days after receiving the notification from the Court, the defendant, the parties with relevant interests and duties must submit to the Court their written opinions on the litigator’s claims and the accompanying documents and evidence, counterclaims, or independent claims (if any).
To ensure that the involved parties in the dispute have their legal rights and interests protected during the litigation process, it is crucial to determine the counterclaims of the defendant and the independent claims of the parties with relevant interests and duties. Furthermore, identifying these counterclaims and independent claims is the basis for the Court to calculate the advance court fee for the defendant and the parties with relevant interests and duties.
The defendant, the parties with relevant interests and duties should note that counterclaims and independent claims are only accepted by the Court if they submit it before the time of the meeting for checking the handover of, access to, and disclosure of evidence and mediating.
4. Time when the Court organizes meeting for reviewing the handover of, access to and disclosure of evidence and mediating.
The meeting for reviewing the handover of, access to and disclosure of evidence and mediating is held to ensure that all evidence is made public (except in cases where it is not allowed), facilitating negotiations and agreements between the parties to resolve the dispute. This also helps reduce the workload on the Court when handling numerous cases.
Article 208 of the Civil Procedure Code 2015 stipulates the timing and location of the meeting, as well as the content of the meeting, which will be notified by the Judge to the parties, the legally authorized representatives of the parties, and the person protecting the legal rights and interests of the parties.
Within the time for preparing for the trial in the preparation procedures, the Judge will conduct a meeting to review the handover of, access to and disclosure of without conducting conciliation in cases where the case is not subject to conciliation or conciliation cannot be conducted as stipulated in Article 205.1 of the Civil Procedure Code 2015.
5. Time to bring the case to trial
The Court will issue a Decision to bring the case to trial in cases where the parties cannot reconcile, and the case does not fall under consequences of the suspension of resolution or termination of the resolution.
Within 3 working days from the date of the Decision to bring the case to trial, the Court will send the Decision to bring the case to trial to the parties involved and the same-level Prosecutor’s office.
This decision will specify the list of participants in the trial, as well as the date, time, month, year, and location of the trial. Therefore, the involved parties need to carefully read this decision to attend the trial in accordance with the specified time and location or have a representative attend on their behalf to protect their legal rights and interests.
6. Time of the First-instance Court session
Article 233.1 of the Civil Procedure Code 2015 specifies cases in which The trial panels decide to postpone a Court session. Therefore, except in cases where a decision to postpone the court session has been made, the First-instance trial must be conducted within the specified time and at the location indicated in the decision to proceed with the trial or in the notice of rescheduled sessions in cases requiring postponement as stipulated in Article 222 of the Civil Procedure Code 2015.
At the First-instance trial, the parties and their representatives will present their case and use evidence to clarify and protect their legal rights and interests. After concluding the arguments, The trial panels will deliberate and issue a first-instance judgment. The trial panels pronounce the judgment in the presence of the parties, representatives of authorities, organizations, and individuals involved in the lawsuit.
According to Articles 273.1, 280.1, and 282.2 of the Civil Procedure Code 2015 regarding the time limits for appeals and protests, if there are no appeals or protests within 15 days from the date of the judgment, the First-instance judgment will become legally effective. The legally effective judgment is the legal basis that determines the outcome of the dispute resolution among the parties. Furthermore, it serves as the basis for the parties to execute the judgment or for future appeals by the involved parties.
In addition to the mentioned timeframes, the preliminary trial stage in Court involves other notable times such as applying for interim urgent measures, asset valuation, and price assessment. However, this article has only highlighted the particularly important timeframes and mandatory procedures that regularly appear in the preliminary trial stage in Court. With the legal analysis and insights provided regarding these crucial times when participating in the preliminary trial stage in Court, we hope this article is helpful to you when initiating a court case at the Court.
TNTP International Law Firm and Associates