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Trials - Overview

Case management and deliberation structure under Civil Procedure Act are as follows:

When a complaint is received, it goes through a simple review and so long as there are no particular defects in terms of format, a copy thereof is immediately served on the other party with a notice to submit an answer within 30 days. However, if the copy of the complaint could not be served on the defendant, the plaintiff is ordered to provide another address. If a complaint is to be served through public notice, application for service by public notice, implementation of the service through public notice and application for relevant evidence are all completed before the hearing date, following which the first hearing date is immediately set and the hearings could be closed. In the event the complaint is served on the defendant, immediately following the deadline for the answer, the presiding judge reviews the record and makes determination as to how the case should be handled. Depending on whether the answer was submitted to the court or not by that time, the case could develop into entirely different procedures.

First, those cases where the answer was not submitted within the deadline or the answer admitting allegations of the complaint are classified as cases subject to judgment without a hearing.

Next, those cases where the defendant submits within the deadline an answer denying the complaint and contend the claims of the plaintiff, the presiding judge immediately reviews the record, classifies the case and then determine how the case should be deliberated.

In principal, the presiding judge designates the first hearing date on the earliest date possible so as to allow the parties to have a in-person meeting with the judge. The first hearing procedure is oral in nature, where each party confirms the issues in dispute before the judge and has the opportunity to rebut the other’s arguments. Through this process, the parties are allowed to exhaust their assertions and arguments and the court also arrive at their decisions in a transparent manner through oral examinations in an open court. The aim of this is to operate the courts in a way it enhances the trust and satisfaction with the trial. If it becomes clear through this first hearing what each party’s contention is, the ensuing application for evidence and its examination could focus on the confirmed issues in contention only.

The presiding judge may place the case on a preliminary procedure at the point where it has to decide the case classification or after the first hearing date. The preliminary procedure takes place when, due to the complexity of the assertions made and claims by each party, there is deemed a need to clearly set forth the claims and evidence, and establish future plans for deliberations through a separate procedure. The preliminary procedure proceeds by having the parties exchange legal briefs with each other (preliminary procedure by writing) and by having the parties appear in court to establish claims and evidence (preliminary procedure based on hearings).

During the process such as the hearing dates, etc., each party has to make its arguments through its legal brief and finish application for evidence and production of evidence that will substantiate such claims. Accordingly, the relevant documentary evidence must be submitted as attachments to the legal briefs, and commissioning for to submit documents, fact confirmation, application for examination and evaluation and commissioning therefor, as well as application for witness, must all be done by this stage.

On the evidence examination date, witnesses in the case from both sides and individuals subject to examination are all questioned together. When the examination is completed, a verdict is rendered shortly thereafter.

In any cases where parties are in dispute, the courts prefer to have them reach an amicable settlement through court’s recommendation to settle or through mediation at any stage in the procedure described above.