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Online publication of court’s judgments in Vietnam

In March 2017, the Supreme People’s Court of Vietnam has adopted Resolution No.03 requesting the publication of court’s judgments and decisions on the Court’s Web Portal from 1 July 2017 (Resolution 03/2017).

Previously, there are some judgments of judicial review or new trial procedure published on e-portal of the Supreme People’s Court. However, under Resolution 03/2017, from 1 July 2017, enforceable judgments and decisions of the people’s courts must be made available on the e-portal of the court (https://congbobanan.toaan.gov.vn/) within 30 days from the date on which such judgments and decisions take effect, except the following cases:

  • Judgments and decisions of cases being heard in camera;
  • Judgments and decisions contain the state secrets or information which are not yet public by the State and may endanger the State if it is published. For example, judgments and decisions regarding crimes against national security;
  • Judgments and decisions contain information of financial investment, professional know-hows, technologies which are not yet public but may be used and take business advantages, and during the hearing, the concerned person has requested to keep it confidential;
  • Judgments and decisions contain information which may adversely affect the cultural tradition, custom and practice widely recognized and applied in a region, an area, a country or community;
  • Judgments and decisions of cases having a party participating in the proceedings under 18 years old; and
  • Judgments and decisions contain information relating to personal secrets and family secrets which are not encrypted.

Encryption of judgments and decisions must ensure the accuracy of the judgments and decisions, and also protect the private information of concerned individuals, agencies and organizations.

In principle, the public can access court decisions on the following online database: https://congbobanan.toaan.gov.vn. Despite availability of Resolution 03, the Court’s Web Portal has just been officially launched very recently. Moreover, according to the Resolution:

– Only legally effective judgments and decisions made by the Courts after 01 July 2017 will be published.

– Judgments and decisions that have been appealed or reviewed under cassation and reopening procedures will not be published.

– Judgments and decisions of cases subject to secret trial; or the cases having information on financial investment, professional know-how or undisclosed technology which can be used and taken advantage of in business of which the parties in litigation procedures required to keep secret during the trial, etc. will not be published.

The presiding judge must explain to parties participating in the proceedings about their rights and obligations regarding publication of the judgments/decisions and rights to request non-publication of information relating to personal secrets, family secrets and trade secrets.

The publication of judgments and decisions will contribute an important source of reference for judges and lawyers when settling cases of similar nature, and it will increase the responsibility of judges for making judgments and rulings.

However, under Official Letter 144/2017, only the judgments and decisions issued from 1 July 2017 must be published on the e-portal of the court. Therefore, lawyers may use the online database and paid-search service of website www.caselaw.vn as another source of reference for searching judgments issued before 1 July 2017.

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