Vietnamese law governs all matters based on reason, while also considering compassion. The development of the country and international experience demonstrate that dialogue and reconciliation play a crucial role in resolving arising disputes. The method of consensus-building dialogue in administrative proceedings represents a breakthrough that inherits and promotes the nation’s rich cultural and legal traditions.
Nature of Dialogue in Administrative Proceedings: Dialogue is a relatively new aspect and a distinctive feature of administrative proceedings, designed to help parties involved gain a clearer understanding of the case’s content, leading to appropriate decisions. Depending on the will of the parties, the court may adopt different approaches through dialogue. It has become a fundamental and effective solution in addressing the increasing volume of complex disputes.
Overview of Dialogue in Administrative Proceedings
According to Article 20 of the 2015 Law on Administrative Proceedings, “The court is responsible for conducting dialogue and creating favorable conditions for the parties to engage in dialogue with each other regarding the resolution of the case in accordance with this Law.” Therefore, dialogue is a mandatory activity that disputing parties in administrative cases must engage in during the court’s process of resolving the case, following the principles and procedures stipulated by the law.
Specifics of Administrative Proceedings. Unlike civil cases, where one party is an administrative authority exercising public administrative power and the other party is an individual, organization, or entity subject to administrative management, the Law on Administrative Proceedings does not prescribe the principle of reconciliation but instead emphasizes the principle of dialogue in dispute resolution. In common parlance, dialogue refers to discussions and negotiations between two or more parties in dispute. Therefore, dialogue is also considered a distinctive feature of administrative proceedings, aimed at helping the parties involved gain a clearer understanding of the case’s content, leading to appropriate decisions.
Purposes and Principles of Dialogue in Resolving Administrative Cases. Dialogue serves the crucial purpose of creating a friendly, consensus-based environment for the parties to sit down together, reevaluate the situation, and reconcile conflicts and obstacles. It contributes significantly to decisively and efficiently resolving disputes without the need for lengthy court proceedings. Additionally, it saves costs, time, and effort for the parties involved and for the state.
The distinction between Dialogue and Mediation
Dialogue and mediation are methods used in legal proceedings to seek consensus before resolving disputes. The distinction between mediation and dialogue is as follows:
Dialogue in the court is a dialogue activity conducted by a mediator before the court takes jurisdiction over an administrative case, aimed at assisting the participating parties in reaching an agreed resolution of the administrative complaint as stipulated by the law.
Mediation in the court is a mediation activity conducted by a mediator before the court takes jurisdiction over a civil case, aimed at assisting the participating parties in reaching a mutually agreed resolution of the civil case as stipulated by the law.
Therefore, the difference in using the method of dialogue or mediation lies in the fact that, for administrative cases, dialogue is employed, while for civil cases, mediation is used.
Significance and Principles of Dialogue in Resolving Administrative Cases
Dialogue holds a particularly important significance in administrative proceedings. As an effective method aligned with the needs and demands of society, it addresses arising disputes in daily life, which can be resolved by sitting down together rather than expending significant effort, costs, and time on prolonged litigation. In most cases, parties voluntarily engage in dialogue. Through a friendly and consensus-building approach, dialogue contributes to mending conflicts, enhancing legal awareness among the public, preventing future disputes, fostering consensus, and building unity within the community, thereby contributing to ensuring political security and social order.
According to Article 134 of the 2015 Law on Administrative Proceedings, during the period of preparing for the first-instance trial, the Court conducts dialogue to facilitate the parties’ agreement on the resolution of the administrative case. However, this does not apply to cases exempted from dialogue. The dialogue process must adhere to the following principles:
- Ensuring transparency, democracy, and respecting the opinions of the parties involved.
- Parties involved must not be compelled to carry out the resolution of the administrative case against their will.
- The content and results of the dialogue between the parties must not violate the law or social ethics.
Implementation of Dialogue in the Administrative Proceedings
Dialogue is understood as one of the rights and responsibilities, as well as the obligations of the parties and the Court in administrative proceedings. During administrative proceedings, dialogue is carried out at various times after the administrative case has been accepted by the Court. According to Article 134 of the 2015 Law on Administrative Proceedings, dialogue is primarily conducted during the preparation stage for the first instance trial. Additionally, during the trial process, the parties involved may request the Court to temporarily suspend the trial for them to engage in dialogue, as stipulated in Article d of Clause 1 of Article 187 of the 2015 Law on Administrative Proceedings. With streamlined procedures, dialogue can only be conducted during the trial session.
Rights and Obligations of Parties in Participating in Dialogue
Based on Article 8 of the 2020 Mediation and Dialogue Law in Court, the rights and obligations of parties participating in mediation and dialogue in Court are as follows:
Rights of Parties Participating in Mediation and Dialogue in Court:
- Agreeing or refusing to participate in mediation or dialogue, or terminating mediation or dialogue.
- Participating directly or through representatives in mediation or dialogue.
- Selecting a Mediator from the list of Mediators authorized by the Court to resolve the civil case or administrative complaint; in cases within the jurisdiction of a district-level People’s Court, parties may choose a Mediator from another district-level People’s Court within the same administrative jurisdiction as the provincial-level People’s Court.
- Requesting a Mediator to arrange for an interpreter in cases where participants in mediation or dialogue do not understand or have disabilities in hearing, speaking, or vision.
- Requesting the Mediator, participants in mediation or dialogue, other agencies, organizations, or individuals, or the Judge participating in the hearing to keep confidential the information provided by them.
- Expressing their will, proposing methods or solutions for dispute resolution, filing complaints, or claims; reaching an agreement on the content of mediation or dialogue; Requesting the Court to recognize the results of mediation or dialogue.
Obligations of Parties Participating in Mediation and Dialogue in Court:
- Complying with the law.
- Participating in mediation or dialogue with good faith, and cooperation to promote the mediation or dialogue process to achieve positive results; accurately presenting the facts, and content of the case, and promptly providing complete information, documents, and evidence related to the case as requested by the Mediator.
- Taking responsibility for the accuracy of the information, documents, and evidence provided in the mediation or dialogue process; if the information, documents, or evidence provided is forged, the results of mediation or dialogue will be voided; in case of signs of a crime, it will be handled according to the provisions of criminal law; if it causes damage to other agencies, organizations, or individuals, compensation must be made in accordance with the law.
- Respecting the Mediator and related parties; complying with the Mediation or Dialogue Rules in Court.
- Implementing the content that has been mediated or dialogued.
Cases where Dialogue is not conducted
Article 19 of the 2020 Mediation and Dialogue Law in Court defines cases where dialogue is not conducted in Court:
- Claims for compensation for damage caused to state property.
- Cases arising from civil transactions that violate legal prohibitions or societal ethics.
- The plaintiff, requester, respondent, party with rights, obligations, or interests related, having been properly invited to participate in valid mediation or dialogue for the second time, is still absent due to force majeure events or objective obstacles, or cannot participate in mediation or dialogue for legitimate reasons.
- One party in a divorce dispute is a person who has lost capacity for civil acts.
- One of the parties proposes not to conduct mediation or dialogue.
- One of the parties requests the application of urgent temporary measures as prescribed by the Civil Procedure Code, the Law on Administrative Proceedings.
- Other cases as provided by law.
Dialogue has yielded tangible results, saving time, effort, and costs, as well as fostering and maintaining relationships between parties. It enables the parties to the litigation to agree on the resolution of administrative complaints with a spirit of understanding and consensus.
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