Monday, November 24, 2008

"Govt to revise laws on family courts

"The central government is likely to revise the domestic relations law, which stipulates judicial procedures concerning mediation and arbitration by family courts, it was learned Saturday.

"The planned revision is expected to clarify the handling of cases by family courts, which has been largely left to their discretion, and aims to standardize procedures and enhance transparency.

"The justice minister will give a summary draft of the revision in February to the Legislative Council, an advisory panel to the minister, to seek panel members' opinions.

"The law concerns issues handled by family courts, such as inheritance and guardianship, but excludes such cases as juvenile crimes and divorce lawsuits.

"The number of cases dealt with under the law is increasing yearly, and reached about 580,000 cases in 2007.

"The current law details what subjects are eligible for court trials, but many other procedural issues--such as whether to permit public access to or copying of family court trial records, and whether to allow trial testimony by all those concerned with a case--have been left to the discretion of each family court, which has raised criticism.

"In one case filed with a family court regarding the division of budgetary expenses by a married couple, the wife appealed to a higher court, but the court did not notify her husband of the appeal, leading the higher court to issue a decision against the husband's interest.

"The Supreme Court judged in May that the court should have notified the husband of his wife's appeal by sending a written letter and acknowledged a procedural problem in how the case was handled.

"The Legislative Council members are expected to discuss such issues as whether to ensure an occasion for the family courts to hear opinions of people involved in cases that tend to involve disputes, such as inheritance-related ones.

"The central government is also likely to revise a separate law on noncontentious cases since that law has rarely been updated since being enacted in 1898."

By Yomiuri Shimbun (11/23/2008), Link to article (last visited 11/24/2008)

1 comment:

Baba said...

Wow, really old law. 1898, and very rarely updated until now. How the outcome of this law now? Is it better than before? I hope this law amendment can close the gaps that existed previously, and become more efficient as today. Most importantly, this law can provide protection and legal certainty for the parties concerned, and not become a means of making money for law enforcement. Shandra from bankruptcy forms.