Renovation of organization and operation of different-level People’s Courts in building and perfecting socialist rule-of-law State in Vietnam

Assoc, Prof. Dr. NGUYEN HOA BINH
Politburo member, Member of Party Central Committee, Chief Justice of Supreme People’s Court
Monday, January 15, 2024 07:47

Communist Review - After 20 years of implementing the Strategy of Justice Reform in accordance with the resolutions of the Party, the activities of justice reform of the different-level People’s Courts have recorded the important achievements, contributiing to raising the position, appearance, prestige and effectiveness of the court’s activities. To successfully implement the Resolution of the 13th Party Congress and the Resolution of the 6th Plenum (13th tenure), it is necessary to continue to renew the organization and operation of the differeent-level people’s courts; to build a system of people’s court at different levels which are independent, professional, modern, equal, civilized, incorruptible to serve the Fatherland and the people.

Politburo member, Chairman of the National Assembly Vuong Dinh Hue (in the middle) and the delegates implement the inaugural ceremony of the Centre for inspection and operation of on-line trials of the people’s court _ Photo: VNA

A brief of actual state of organization and operation of different-level people’s courts

To implement the line, advocacies and orientation of the Party and the State, especially through the implementation of the Resolution No. 08-NQ/TW on January 2, 2002 of the Political Bureau, on “A number of important tasks relating to the justice work in the coming time” and the Resolution Nop. 49-NQ/TW on June 2, 2005 of the Political Bureau on “The strategy of justice reform to the year 2020”, the apparatus organization and operation of the people’s courts at different levels have seen a lot of positive changes; the position, appearance, prestige of the court have been raised. For the first time, the 2013 Constitution stipulates: “The People’s Court is a judicial body of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, exercising the judicial rights” (1). On that basis, the laws on justice were issued, perfected one step the apparatus organization of the system of different-level People’s Courts, in which a system of courts was built with 4 levels (including the Supreme People’s Court; the high-level People’s Court; the People’s Courts of provinces and cities under the Central Government; the People’s Courts in districts townships and provincial cities); the way of organizing the trial in the direction of receiving the reasonable nucleus of the litigation models was renewed; the form of trial room was renovated; the contingent of the justice title in the different-level people’s courts was also consolidated and enhanced in quality and quantity. The authority of the people’s courts in different levels were determined more clearly and concretely, the jurisdiction of the people’s courts at the district level was expanded. The supervision mechanism of the elected agency for operation of the people’s courts at diferent levels were strenghtened. The quality of the contingent of cadres of the people’s court sector at different levels was improved (2); the  quality of litigation during the trial had made clear progress; the judicial administrative procedure at court was renewed to improve the quality and effectiveness of operation; the verdicts, decisions and some other activities of the court were open and so on.

Besides the recorded results, the apparatus organization and authority of the ppeople’s ourts at different levels also have the inadequacies that have led to limit the efficiency of the court’s operation. The contingent of cadres and officials of the court is still in shortage (3), the regime and policy reserved for the judicial titles are yet to be on a par with the requirements of the tasks. The judicial litigation procedure is still insufficient, thus reducing the effectiveness of trial activities of the court (4). Funding and material basis are yet to meet the requirements to be proactive in implementing the funtion and task of the court (5); international cooperation in jutice remains limited. The Party’s leading mechanism of the court and supervision of the elected agency is still inadequate.

At present, the regional, world and domestic situation have seen rapid changes, creating opportunities as well as challenges in carrying out the goals of the justice reform. The 4th Industrial Revolution, the digital economy is creating the tremendous changes in the economic and social life. The domestic economyhas met with difficulties due to the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic and the instability in the global supply chain. The violations of the law, crimes and disputes have been developing ever more complicatedly; there have appeared many new crimes modes, new offenders, particularly the information technological criminals, the non-traditional criminals; corruption criminals have been controlled though, they remain compicated, causing indignance in society.

Together with this, the justice reform is standing before the contradictions between the actual state of work overload and the requirement of staff streamlining; betwwen the implementation of the regime and policy as stipulated and the guarantee of the regime as required by the facts. There are still a lot of inadequacies in the legal content and judicial litigation, thus not  yet meeting with the realities in settling the disputes and the struggle to guard against and prevent the criminals, the violations of law, corruption and wastefulness. So, the demand of the society and people for the judicial agency and cadres has become ever higher. The people’s courts at different levels have to be the real mainstay of the people in protecting justice, human rights; to be an effective instrument to protect socialist legislature, to struggle effectively against all kinds of criminals.

In face of a lot of the above-said limitations and impediments in the real state of the justice system, to implement the goal of building and perfecting the socialist rule-of-law State, the Resolution of the 6th Plenum of the 13th Party Congress has mapped out the important tasks of the justice reform: 1- To perfect the justice-related policy and law. To determine the right authority of the court to carry out fully and correctly the judicial rights; 2- To determine clearly the tasks of the first instance court trial, the Court of Appeal trial, the reconsideration of the verdict, the decision on the procedure of cassation; to build the electronic court; 3- To build the legal institution of judicial litigation, taking trial as a centre, litigation as a breakthrough; to ensure the democratic, equal, civilized, modern, strict, accessible judicial litigation.  To improve the efficiency of the mechanism in which the people participate in the court trial.

The renovation of organization and operation of the different-level people’s courts is an inevitable process ro serve better the Fatherland, the people. In which the specific tasks are focused on: 1- To build an independent, professional, modern, equal, strict, incorruptible, efficient and effective; 2- To ensure that the court has full authority and capacities  to handle the violations of the law, resolve all the disputes in society, to exercise the national jurisdiction; 3- To build manpower of the court, first of all, the pure, incorruptible and consistent politically, good at profession, prowess in law, impartiality and abilities, disciplines and humaneness; professionalization of judge, to renew and restructure  the judicial titles; 4- To renew the apparatus organization in the direction of streamlining, to carry out fully the functions and rights of justice; 5- To improve the quality and effectiveness of the activities and prestige so that the court can really be the embodiment of common sense and justice; 6- To modernize step by step the material basis of the court, to build the electronic court.

A number of solutions to renovate apparatus organization and operation of people’s court at different levels in coming time

Firstly, to determine the connotations, characteristics and subjects to implement the judicial rights as the basis to build the mechanism of explicit distribution, cloe coordination and enhance the inspection of implementing the State power to meet the requirements of building the socialist rule-of-law State in Vietnam.  To make references to the universal concept of the world concerning the judicial rights of the countries so as to perfect the legal institution and determine clearly:  The judicial rights is the trial activities of the court; to apply the law and come up with the verdict of the court cases; to explain the law; to judge the behaviour of the State agencies and civil servants and the constitutionalism, legality of the codes and the legal documents. The judicial rights: 1- The juristdiction; 2- The right to decide the issues relating to human rights, the citizenships; 3- The right to decide the constitutionalization, legaliy of the legal documents (7).

Secondly, to perfect the stipulations on the authority and operation of the peopole’s court at different levels so as to implement fully and correctly the judicial rights; to determine clearly the task of the first instance and appeal courts trials, the cassation in accordance with the trial, not with the administrative decentralization; to make clear the authority and procedures to resolve the requirements relating the human rights. To renovate the internal governing mechanism of the different-level people’s court, to study the formation of the specialized administrative agency to carry out the tasks not relating directly to the trial process. The established National Judicial Council is tasked to build the strategy and plan of activities of the court, the regime and policy for the judicial activities. To build the legal institution on litigation, taking trial as the centre, determine more clearly the authority of each member joining the trial panel. To determine clearly the position and role of the court in its relationship with the agencies carrying out the other proceedings. To perfect the legal proceedings and litigation, particularly the provisions on evidences, the rule of proof, the responsibilkity of proof to ensure the more essential litigation. To build the mechanism of judicial proceedings to protect human rights. To improve the effectiveness of the legal proceedings to ensure the feasibility, unification and conformity.

Thirdly, to improve the quality of human resources of the specialized, intelligent, capable, humane, devoted and impartial different-level people’s courts in the direction: To renovate the structure of judicial titles, to perfect legal institution on  judges both in grade structure and the distrkbution of judges at the court level, the mechanism of supervising and treating the judges who have violations.  To renew the recruitment and appointment; to expand the source of appointing the judges; enhance the training, fostering, improve the quality of training human resources. To build the regime and policy suitable to the judicial cadres like the salary regime, the treatment opolicy; to have an efficient mechanism to protect the judges in order to maintain the judicial independence.

Fourthly, to boost the material basis, ensure the resources, in which the legal institution will be perfected, there should be correct awareness of the peculiar position and role of the court and then there will be the mechanism to ensure the sufficient resources to exercise the judicial rights. To enhance the material basis of the system of the different-level people’s courts in the direction of synchrony, modernity to be worthy to the position of the judicial agency.  To have a specific financial mechanism, the reasonable budget distribution to meet the requirements of the court’s work.

Fifthly, to build the electronic court so as to transfer a part of the court’s operation from the real space to the digital space in order to raise the capacities of the court’s operation to help the people get access to justice in an advantageous and rapid way. To build the electronic court in the direction to enforce and raise the capacities of governing the courts on the digital platform. Accordingly, the electronic court contribute to supplying the public judicial services to serve better the people, to support the judges to raise the effectiveness and quality of operation, to deploy the on-line litigation activities. Together with it, the electronic courts contribute to boosting the openness and transoparency in the courts’ operatilon and to connecting to the digiital platform in order to share the resources and to serve the process of building the digital society, the digital economy, to raise the efficiency and effectiveness of the national operation and governance.

Sixthly, to promote the international coopration, in which to concentrate on consolidating and perfecting the legal system on the international cooperation; to enhance the negotiation and signing of the bilateral and multi-lateral international agreements in the judicial area, first of all, with the neighbouring countries, with the regional countries and with the countries having the traditional relations, with the countries having the modern, developed justice. To build a contigent of cadres who have abilities and deep knowledge in international law, especially the contingent of judges and key leaders of the different-level people’s court and cadres who directly carry out the activities in international cooperation in litigation at court, meeting the requirements of international integration. To enhance the exchange of international experience in  the judicial area, raise the role and position of the court in the international institutions in which Vietnam is a member. To boost the international cooperation in settlement and trial of civil cases, in criminal cases or in administrative cases that have foreign elements.

Seventhly, to accelerate the Party ‘s leadership of the system of the different-level people’s courts is an element of special importance to ensure the success of the judicial reform. The Party leads the court, but it still ensures the respect of the principle of judicial independence, without interfering in the process of litigation to settle the concrete cases, thus impacting justice. Therefore, it is necessary to build a model of Party organization and arrangement of personnel to take part in the suitable party committee level, in the direction: The Party Committee of the Supreme People’s Court comprises the party organizations of the Supreme People’s Court, the superior people’s courts and the specialized people’s courts of first instance. The civil affairs committee of the party in the Supreme People’s Copurt under the direct leadership of the Political Bureau and the Secretariat. To establish the party committee of the people’s court of appeal under the party committees of provinces and the Central Government-run cities, comprises the party organizations of the regional people’s courts of appeal and the people’s courts of first instance. To arrange the judges at different levels to participate in the party committee levels of the same rank with the posts higher than the present and it is suitable to each place. Accordingly, the Chief Justice of the Supreme People’s Court is a Politburo member and a member of the Party Central Committee. The judges of the people’s courts of appeal in provinces and the Central Government-run cities and the provinces with the large population scope, the centres of economic, social and cultural development of the country, the members of the standing committee of the provincial party committee levels; the judges of the remaining provincial people’s courts of appeal are the members of the executive committees of the provincial party’s committees. The Chief Justice of the Senior People’s Courts and the judges of the specialized people’s courts of first instance are the members of the Executive Committees of the Party Committee of the Supreme Peopple’s Court. The judges of the regional people’s courts of first instance are the members of the executive committee of the party committee of the people’s courts of appeal./.


(1) Clause 5, Article 102, of the 2013 Constitution

(2) At present, the system of the people’s courts at different levels has 34 professors, associate professors, 47 doctor-degree holders, 2,205 master-degree holders, 10,939 university graduates, the remainder is those who have the level conforming to the standards suitable to the titles and positions of the current titles; there are 2,342 people having the university graduatess’ level or high-level political theory; 4,187 people having the middle level in politics and theory.

(3) The number of official staffers allocated by the Standing Committee of the National Assembly since 2012 based on the quantity of the court cases at different levels being 303, 848 cases per year. Up to now, the number of cases to be resolved yearly has been doubled and it is expected to continue to increase in the coming years, while the quantity of the official staffers is lower than that in 2012 due to the fact that the Resolution No. 39-NQ/TW on April 17, 2015 of the Political Bureau “On the streamlining of staff and restructuring of the contingent of dadres, civil servants, public servants” has to be carried out.

(4) For example, the rights and responsibility of the court that collects the evidences in civil litigation remain intact; there is not any sanction to handle strictly the cases that do not supply documents and evidences; it is yet to have any concrete stioulations on the electronic litigation so as to enhance the people’s accessibility of justice; it is yet to attach importance to feasibility, the economic character in the legal proceedings, resulting in leading to the limited effectiveness in executing the verdicts of the courts

(5) The mechanism of distribution of budget to the courts still depends on the Government, thus limiting the proactiveness in management and use  of the budget of the courts, leading the conceot that is yet to be suitable to the role as well as independence of the courts in the relationship with the other state agencies

(6) The number of international treaties in the area of judicial support in criminal and civial cases is still small; the judges and the court cadres are  yet to have much experience in foreign law and their foreign language abilities are still limited

(7) In reference to Article 3, US Constitution, further see the system of the United Kingdom at

This article was published in the Communist Review No. 1006 (January 2023)