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Japan's Experience in Supporting Legislation of Civil Code and Code of Civil Procedure of Cambodia
Unformatted Document Text:  procedure before application of the Code of Civil Procedure which is often characterized as "inquisitorial" was consisting of two stages, i.e., investigating procedure (instruction in French) and trial, and in investigation procedure, the court was allowed to summon only one party and hear that party without the presence of the other party and to collect and examine all evidence which the court deemed necessary. Under this procedure, the court often found facts which were not asserted by parties or even admitted claims which were not filed by the plaintiff. Although parties should have been guaranteed to confront each other, this inquisitorial system functioned reasonably well in a society like Cambodia where people do not have much knowledge on laws and litigation procedure and/or there are not so many lawyers who can represent parties. However, from the perspective of private law principle, civil procedure has to be governed by the principle of private autonomy and thus, the role of the civil court in identifying parties' claims and facts relevant to such claims has to be limited. Moreover, parties should be guaranteed to confront each other in order to ensure fairness of the procedure. Taking these two contradictory factors into consideration, the Code of Civil Procedure introduced the principle of "la contradiction," 6 parties' right to disposition, 7 and right and responsibility of parties in asserting factual relevance 8 under which, in principle, parties have to clarify their claims, assert relevant facts to support such claims and offer evidence to recognize such facts. At the same time, it is also provided that the court may request the parties to clarify factual or legal ambiguity in cases where the parties cannot clarify their claim relevant to the case, or assert the facts which are grounds for such claim or offer evidence due to lack of legal knowledge or other reasons. 9 Regarding to examination of evidence, it is provided that the court may examine evidence on its own authority where it finds that it cannot reach a conclusion on whether to recognize the factual allegations of a party as true based on the evidence offered by the parties, or where such examination is otherwise necessary 10 so that the court may play a supplementary role in identifying parties' claims, facts and evidence and this supplementary role of the court will be of importance for a certain time. It is also expected that the importance of this role will be decreasing gradually as the practice of the civil procedure becomes established and the provisions on discretional examination of evidence will be abolished in the future. Besides, considering the reality of Cambodia situation, it is also provided that witnesses shall be examined by the presiding judge first and followed by parties. 11 2-2. Case 2: Coordination between Code of Criminal Procedure and Code of Civil Procedure -- 6 Article 3, paragraph 1 of the Code of Civil Procedure. 7 Article 182 of the Code of Civil Procedure. 8 Articles 95, 96, 123 and 124 of the Code of Civil Procedure. 9 Article 90 of the Code of Civil Procedure. 10 Article 124, paragraph 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure. Japanese Code used to have the similar provisions (deleted in 1947). 11 Article 138, paragraph 5 of the Code of Civil Procedure. But this order can be changed (paragraph 6). 2

Authors: Sakano, Issei.
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background image
procedure   before   application   of   the   Code   of   Civil   Procedure   which   is   often   characterized   as 
"inquisitorial" was consisting of two stages, i.e., investigating procedure (instruction in French) and 
trial, and in investigation procedure, the court was allowed to summon only one party and hear that 
party without the presence of the other party and to collect and examine all evidence which the court 
deemed necessary.   Under this procedure, the court often found facts which were not asserted by 
parties or even admitted claims which were not filed by the plaintiff.  Although parties should have 
been guaranteed to confront each other, this inquisitorial system functioned reasonably well in a 
society like Cambodia where people do not have much knowledge on laws and litigation procedure 
and/or there are not so many lawyers who can represent parties.  However, from the perspective of 
private law principle, civil procedure has to be governed by the principle of private autonomy and 
thus, the role of the civil court in identifying parties' claims and facts relevant to such claims has to 
be limited. Moreover, parties should be guaranteed to confront each other in order to ensure fairness 
of the procedure. 
Taking   these   two   contradictory   factors   into   consideration,   the   Code   of   Civil   Procedure 
introduced   the   principle   of  "la   contradiction,"
  parties'   right   to   disposition,
  and   right   and 
responsibility of parties in asserting factual relevance
  under which, in principle, parties have to 
clarify their claims, assert relevant facts to support such claims and offer evidence to recognize such 
facts.  At the same time, it is also provided that the court may request the parties to clarify factual or 
legal ambiguity in cases where the parties cannot clarify their claim relevant to the case, or assert the 
facts which are grounds for such claim or offer evidence due to lack of legal knowledge or other 
reasons.
  Regarding to examination of evidence, it is provided that the court may examine evidence 
on its own authority where it finds that it cannot reach a conclusion on whether to recognize the 
factual allegations of a party as true based on the evidence offered by the parties, or where such 
examination is otherwise necessary
 so that the court may play a supplementary role in identifying 
parties' claims, facts and evidence and this supplementary role of the court will be of importance for 
a certain time.  It is also expected that the importance of this role will be decreasing gradually as the 
practice of the civil procedure becomes established and the provisions on discretional examination of 
evidence will be abolished in the future.  Besides, considering the reality of Cambodia situation, it is 
also provided that witnesses shall be examined by the presiding judge first and followed by parties.
2-2. Case 2: Coordination between Code of Criminal Procedure and Code of Civil Procedure -- 
6
 Article 3, paragraph 1 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
7
 Article 182 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
8
 Articles 95, 96, 123 and 124 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
9
 Article 90 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
10
  Article 124, paragraph 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure. Japanese Code used to have the similar provisions 
(deleted in 1947).
11
 Article 138, paragraph 5 of the Code of Civil Procedure. But this order can be changed (paragraph 6).
2


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