Saturday, July 10, 2010

Inheritance Rights of Illegitimate Children

"A civil lawsuit over the constitutionality of a law that halves the inheritances of illegitimate children has been referred to the Grand Bench of the Supreme Court, raising the possibility that a judicial precedent which favors the law could be revised.

"The Third Petty Branch of the Supreme Court referred the case to the court's Grand Bench, which is composed of all 15 justices, on July 7. The move raises the possibility that a precedent set in 1995 by a Grand Bench ruling in favor of the Civil Code stipulation could be revised.

"Article 900 of the Civil Code stipulates that the inheritance of a child who is born out of wedlock stands at half that of a legitimate child. In the ruling in 1995, just five of the 15 justices were opposed to the stipulation, stating that it was unconstitutional.

"Since then, five subsequent rulings by petty benches of the Supreme Court have favored the stipulation, but opinions have been split. In a ruling by the Second Petty Bench in September last year, one of four justices opposed the stipulation, and one who ruled that it was constitutional gave the opinion that the law should be changed.

"The latest case arose after a woman from Wakayama Prefecture, who is a legitimate child, applied for her inheritance to be split with her younger brother, who was born out of wedlock, and both the Wakayama Family Court and Osaka High Court set the younger brother's inheritance at half that of his sister. This prompted the younger brother to launch a special appeal.

"If the Grand Bench rules that the Civil Code stipulation is unconstitutional, then the decision could greatly influence the current legal system's attitude to legal marriages.

"The Court Organization Law and Supreme Court regulations state that cases should be referred to the Grand Bench when new constitutional decisions are made or if there is a need to change judicial precedents. Cases at Supreme Court petty benches in which the opinions of justices are evenly split are also forwarded to the Grand Bench."

By Mainichi Shimbun (7/10/2010), Link to article (last visited 7/10/2010)


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winrold said...

I'm also a illegitimate child and applying my right but why is that I will only get 3 percent of the total