PROCEDURES FOR THE CIVIL LAWSUIT SETTLEMENT AT THE APPELLATE STAGE IN COURTS
In the previous article, we have introduced the process of submitting an appeal petition in case the involved parties and their lawful representative disagree with the first-instance judgment issued by the Court. Please refer to the below link:
In this article, we continue to analyze and share our experiences on procedures for civil lawsuit settlement at the appellate stage in courts after the appeal petition is submitted by the involved parties and is accepted to settle by the Court.
1. Acceptance of appellate trial
Right after receiving the lawsuit dossier, appeal dossier, and attached materials and evidence, the appellate Court must accept to settle the lawsuit. Within 03 working days from the date of acceptance, the Court will send a written notification to involved parties informing that it has accepted the appeal petition.
2. Preparation for the appellate trial
2.1. The time limit for preparation for the appellate trial
The time limit for preparation for the appellate trial is 02 months from the day on which the appeal petition is accepted. Regarding complicated cases or due to force majeure events or objective obstacles, the time limit for preparation for appellate trial can be extended for not exceeding 01 month.
In this period, depending on the case, the appellate Court can issue one of the following decisions:
(i) Suspending the appellate trial: When the reasons to suspend the resolution of civil lawsuits are resolved, the Courts must issue a decision to resume the lawsuit settlement.
(ii) Terminating the appellate trial: In case the appellate trial is terminated since the appellant withdraws the whole appeal, the first-instance judgment will take legal effect from the day on which the appellate Courts issue the decision to terminate the appellate trial.
(iii) Bringing the lawsuit to appellate trial: The Court must open the appellate trial within 1 month from the day on which the decision to bring a lawsuit to appellate trial is issued; if there is a good and sufficient reason, such period is 02 months.
The decision to suspend or terminate the appellate trial is effective and sent to involved parties immediately. The decision to bring the lawsuit to appellate trial will be sent to involved parties within 03 working days from the day on which the Court issues it.
2.2. The involved parties’ provision of materials and evidence during the preparation for the appellate trial
The involved parties have the right to supplement documents and evidence during the preparation for the appellate trial to protect their legitimate rights and interests. However, they can only provide documents and evidence (i) that are requested by the first-instance Court but have not been provided yet due to good and sufficient reasons; or (ii) with which the involved parties are not requested to provide by the first-instance Court; or (iii) of which the involved parties cannot be aware during the lawsuit settlement at the first-instance stage.
Thus, if, the involved parties provide documents and evidence at the appellate stage which were not handed over at the request of the first-instance Court without a good and sufficient reason or were known by the involved parties at the first-instance stage, such documents and evidence are unlikely to be accepted by the appellate Court.
3. The appellate trial of the civil lawsuit
The appellate trial must be held on time and at the location stated in the decision to bring the lawsuit to appellate trial or the written notice of reopening the trial in case it was postponed previously.
The appellate trial consists of the following main parts:
(i) Preparation for the opening of the appellate trial and procedures for starting the appellate trail: The Court checks the presence and identity card of the involved parties and their representatives and the defense counsels of their legitimate rights and interests.
(ii) Inquiring the appeal: The involved parties are inquired by the presiding Judge about the withdrawal of the lawsuit petition; the amendment, supplement, or withdrawal of the appeal; and their agreement for the lawsuit settlement.
If the appellant withdraws a part of the appeal, the Court will accept such withdrawal. If the appellant supplement new contents of appeal, the contents must not exceed the initial scope of appeal.
In case the plaintiff withdraws the lawsuit petition, the Court will accept it if the defendant agrees with this withdrawal. At that time, the Appellate Trial Panel issues a decision to cancel the first-instance judgment and terminate the lawsuit settlement. Thus, if the defendant disagrees with the plaintiff’s withdrawal of the lawsuit petition, the lawsuit will be continued to settle.
In case the involved parties reach an agreement on the lawsuit settlement at the appellate trial, the Trial Panel will recognize such agreement and issue the appellate judgment and amend the first-instance judgment under such agreement.
(iii) Oral argument at the trial: The involved parties will in turn present their opinions and arguments to defend their request. After that, they will ask, answer and debate each other under the direction of the presiding Judge.
4. Deliberation and pronouncement of the appellate judgment
After the parties finish the oral argument at the appellate trial, the Trial Panel will deliberate and issue the Appellate Judgment and pronounce it in the presence of the involved parties.
The Appellate Trial Panel is competent to issue the Appellate Judgment in one of the following cases: (i) To uphold the first-instance judgment; (ii) To revise the first-instance judgment; (iii) To repeal the whole or parts of first-instance judgment and transfer the lawsuit dossier to the first-instance Courts for a retrial according to first-instance procedures; (iv) To repeal the first-instance judgment and terminate the lawsuit settlement; (v) To terminate the appellate trial; or (vi) To suspend the lawsuit settlement.
The appellate judgment takes effect from the day on which it is issued and is sent to the involved parties within 15 days from the day on which it is issued. In case the appellate trial is conducted by a Collegial People’s Court, such time limit may be extended for not exceeding 25 days.
Above are our legal shares on the procedures for civil lawsuit settlement at the appellate stage in courts. We hope that you can better understand and take note of these procedures to protect your legitimate rights and interests when participating in the lawsuit settlement in the appellate stage at the Court.
TNTP & Associates International Law Firm