Mr. Nguyen Hoa Binh, Party Politburo member, Chief Justice of the Supreme People's Court;

Dr.Nguyen Tri Tue, Deputy Chief Justice of the Supreme People's Court;

Mr Jesus Lavina, Deputy Head of Cooperation, Delegation of the European Union to Vietnam (TBC);

Members of the Council of Justices of the Supreme People’s Court;

Ladies and gentlemen,

On behalf of UNDP, it is my great pleasure to welcome you all to the hybrid Consultation Workshop on Drafts Court Precedents. This workshop is co-organised with the Supreme People's Court and UNDP under the EU Justice and Legal Empowerment Programme or EU JULE which is generously funded by the European Union.

At the outset, I would like to commend the Supreme People's Court for their flexibility and adaptability to conduct today’s important consultation in a hybrid format both online and in person. The Covid-19 pandemic has brought many challenges, but it has also accelerated opportunities to adopt digital solutions that are vital to increasing the efficiency, transparency, and accessibility of the public sector. Today’s workshop is a good example of this new normal.

As you may know, the overall objective of the EU JULE programme is to strengthen the rule of law through a more reliable, trusted and better accessed justice system. In this regard, the role of the courts is central to improving access to justice and enhancing integrity and transparency in the justice sector.

The concept of judicial precedents as a source of law has been embedded in many jurisdictions in the world. In Viet Nam, the process for developing precedents only started in 2015 as highlighted by the Chief Justice based on the Resolution number 03 of the Council of Justices of the Supreme People’s Court on the process for selecting, publishing and applying court precedents.

These past few years have witnessed admirable efforts of the Supreme People’s Court in guiding the process of selection, publication and application of precedents. As a result of these efforts, currently a total of 43 precedents have been published on the SPC website. 

As the Chief Justice highlighted while there has been good progress it is not sufficient to meet requirements. More work is needed build on the momentum created.

In the last two years, through the EU JULE Programme, UNDP has proudly accompanied the Supreme People’s Court in their journey of developing and applying court precedents. Every year, we have supported the Supreme People’s Court in reviewing court judgements and decisions proposed to be court precedents, that contributes to increasing the overall number of court precedents in Viet Nam. We also have assisted the Supreme People’s Court to review the selection process of precedents and develop a new Resolution No. 04/2019 of the Council of Justices to amend the Resolution No. 03/2015, which became a very important legal basis for improving the precedents system in Viet Nam.

In addition, a number of trainings for judges and court officials on emerging issues such as judgement drafting skills and the  application of the Code of Ethics and Conduct for Judges  implementing the 2015 Civil Procedure Code and Civil Code, as well as the 2015 Criminal Procedure Code and Criminal Code, have been co-organized by UNDP and the Supreme People’s Court to enhance the integrity and transparency in the court system in Viet Nam.

Building on this positive momentum, today’s workshop will facilitate dialogue and exchange opinions regarding the 12 draft court precedents in their respective areas of law. We hope that this workshop will result in more precedents being developed, especially ones that help clarify difficult and debatable legal issues in order to ensure uniform application of the law in similar cases.

While we believe that judges are the primary force to participate in the process for improving the system of judicial precedents, they are not the sole actors. According to the Resolution No. 4, enacted in 2019 by the Council of Justices, the task to propose decisions to be made precedents can be taken up by any individual, agency or organization. The concerned courts, specialists, scientists, practical activists, individuals, agencies and organizations can provide their opinions and comments to the judgments proposed to be developed into precedents and to drafts precedents. Therefore, there is a need to improve public involvement during this process; especially now that nearly seven hundred thousand judgements have been made available online. That is why today’s consultation is an important opportunity for judges, lawyers, legal experts and others to participate in the process for improving the system of judicial precedents.

With regards to the next steps, we think that capacity building for judges and court personnel should be a priority in the coming years. Judges and court officers should have a clear understanding of how precedents are selected and their role both in contributing to this process and in applying precedents. UNDP looks forward to continuing cooperation with the Supreme People’s Court in this journey.

In closing, I would like to stress that efforts to improve transparency of the court system contribute to the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 16 on peace, justice and strong institutions. An effective and independent court system is the cornerstone of the justice system. 

As always, UNDP stands ready to support the Supreme People’s Court and judges in Vietnam to carry out this important responsibility.

I wish you all a successful and productive workshop.

Thank you, Xin Cám Ơn! 

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