The judicial process of the Vietnam Court system and the United State Court system has an number of similarities and differences. These are mainly epitomized in the structural organization of the court systems, the reconciliation process, administration of justice, and criminal investigation and prosecution. This is also elaborated in the sources and interpretation of the law. The Vietnam court system comprises district people’s court, the provincial people’s court and the supreme people’s court. This goes hand in hand with the United States Court system. Latter includes the United States District Courts, United States Court of Appeal and highest level being the Supreme Court of the United State. There are also other specific courts in both systems such as military courts, economic courts and the United State courts of international trade.
The similitude of these two judicial systems is well evidenced in the process of employment of judges and their terms in office. In the Vietnam court system, judges are approved by the assembly and appointed by the head of state. These judges then have a term of five years in office like the government which appoints them to work. This is similar to the United States court system where the Supreme Court, the court of appeal and the district court judges are assigned to the office by the United States President with the Senate approval. Mostly, the judges are always members of the ruling party; hence, their term in office is four years just as the time of the government that puts them into the jobs.
Duties of the Vietnam court system and the United States court system are also similar. This is mainly exemplified in the District People Court in the Vietnam system and the District Federal court system of the United States of America. The District People’s Court is made up of one professional judge and two lay assessors when adjudicating the normal cases in the society, and two professional judges and one assessor when addressing a more serious criminal case. The principal cases resolved by this body are domestic offences and criminal offences. On this basis, it shares same roles with the United States district court whose main jurisdiction is to settle civil and criminal offences. The other valuable similarity is observed in the duties addressed by the provincial People’s Court in the Vietnam Court system and the United States court of Appeal. Both categories have judges that are appointed to the office by the head of state, on the recommendation of the national assembly or approval from the Senate house. In both cases, district courts are appealed at this level. Most of the cases are civil and criminal. The highest courts of jurisdiction in both judicial processing are the Supreme People’s Court of Vietnam and the Supreme Court of the United State of America. Both are headed by the Chief justice who is an appointee of the head of state upon approval of the National Assembly or the Senate. Supreme courts in both judicial systems are instituted by the constitution with the Congress in the United States and the National Assembly in Vietnam.
It is critical to note that as much as there are similarities in the two court systems and the judicial processes, there are also enormous differences that are evident. To begin with, structural organization of the judicial system in these two court systems varies considerably. In the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, the court system is organized in several levels. It starts with preliminary level with the initial system of the judicial process being a local reconciliation groups. These solve informal disputes and are mainly mediated upon by the village elders and virtuous men. This is in contrast to the United States federal state courts, which majorly solve local cases, such as divorce, inheritance issues and low grade criminal cases. Unlike in the Vietnam, this level is undertaken by judges. The existence of the informal system of the judicial process is thus favored in the Vietnam.
The organization of the court system is a strident difference in the two judicial processes. In the District Peoples Court of the Vietnam court system; the jurisdiction is mainly exhibited by one judge and two assessors who have no legal training. The case resolution needs the vote of the majority in hearing with the presiding judge casting the last vote. While in the United States, the Federal District Courts act as the trial courts with professional judges and people selected to help deciding cases. They are limited by the Congress and the constitution and they preside over all categories of federal cases. They lay emphasis on civil and criminal matters. These courts have branches that deal with other matters, such as bankruptcy in the bankrupt courts and international trade affairs. They are also organized into twelve regional circuits. Therefore, unlike the Vietnam court system, the district courts can promptly decide on cases and make final verdicts. This shows that they have authority and discretion in performing their duty.
It is also vital to show the distinguishable structural features between the Provincial People’s Court of Vietnam and the United States court of appeal. The former court can be composed of different number of professional judges depending on the weight and the severity of the case. Under the normal civil and criminal matters, the jury is composed of one judge and two lay assessors. In case of cases that are critical or involve foreigners, three professional judges take over. Cases that are suspected to incur capital punishment are presided over by two judges, and three lay assessors. The cases in the provincial courts can be referred to the Supreme Court. On the same level as Provincial People’s Court of Vietnam, is the court of Appeal in the United States, which is organized to preside over cases appealed from the district courts. It is in the same level and with more functions. Each court has a circuit of twelve District courts (David & Stephen 2012). The court also carries out jurisdiction appeals from the federal administration, patent laws, cases from international trade and federal claims. Cases mainly presided by the circuit judges, and the system is organized from the federal circuit to the twelfth circuit. Among the courts of appeal, one that is most peculiar is the Federal circuit court of appeal. This court has jurisdiction based on the subject matter rather than geographical location. It takes care of appeal cases from all United State District Courts. It also handles cases of administrative agencies. Moreover, its panel can sit anywhere, and the decisions it makes on patent cases are binding and can be used as precedents. Thus, it is the most important in the circuits.
The Supreme People’s Court of appeal is the highest level of Vietnam Court system. Its head is the Chief Justice of the National Assembly. It is him who is also responsible for the National Assembly. Other judges in the Supreme People’s Court of appeal are appointed by the President following suggestion of the Central selection council. Supreme courts in the Vietnam Court system also contain lay assessors. These are hired and fired by the standing committee of the National Assembly. To be considered for the posts of lay assessor, candidates need approval from Fatherland Front. The Supreme Court is organized into the following structures, criminal and economic departments, a judicial council, a civil department and a judicial committee. There are also three departments of appeal. Cases received on this court are acted upon or are sent back to the Provincial People’s Court. Decisions made by the appeal departments take effect immediately; otherwise it is overruled by the judicial council. It is also the responsibility of the supreme courts to summarize certain judgment on the yearly bulletin. Similarly, the highest court in the judicial process of the United States is the Supreme Court of the United States. it is headed by the chief justice and five other chiefs. These are appointed by the President and approved by the Senate. Judges enjoy security of tenure and once being appointed they are on jobs for lifetime. The Supreme Court is made up of judges who are appointed by the President with the approval of the Senate. The Supreme Court is the highest court in the United States court system. Its performance can be ranked together among the best court systems in the world. The functions of the Supreme Court are classified into two categories. There are the original jurisdictions which mainly involve cases that are directly handled by the Supreme Court (Penelope, 2007). These are the cases that mainly involve the federal government and the state, two states or an ambassador or the consul, also cases involving individual and the state where he is not a resident. Secondly, the Supreme Court of the United States handles appellate cases. These are mainly cases of appeal or the certiorari. The appeal cases arise when the state court rulings are non-constitutional. These prompt the parties that are not satisfied to appeal. Certioraris are cases from lower courts reviewed in the Supreme Court.
Moreover, other court systems tend to exist in both the United States court system and the Vietnam court system in the administration of the judicial process. These are the courts, which deal with unique areas. In the Vietnam Court system, these courts include The Economic Courts, Labor courts and Administrative courts. The establishment of the Economic court system in the Supreme People’s Court and the provincial Peoples’ Court was made to ensure satisfactory resolution of the economic cases. They were initially handled by the inexperienced arbitrators. The economic cases in the Supreme Court are comprised of the Chief Justice, deputy Chief Justice, judges and Clerks, while the Provincial Economic courts comprises two judges and a lay assessor. The district courts do not have economic court, but they tend to have a judge who has been trained on the arbitration of such cases. Scarcity of personnel is experienced in this setting.
Secondly, there are labor courts. They mainly settle disputes between the employees and employers on the matters pertaining to the employment issues. Most labor disputes tend to be solved by reconciliation. However, Court system sets in when no agreement is reached. District Court arbitrates solve most of the domestic labor cases. Labor cases involving foreigners are handled in the Provincial Labor courts. The Administrative courts also tend to arbitrate on the numerous legal cases within the Vietnam judicial process (David & Henry, 2010). The administrative courts are found in both the Supreme people’s courts and the provincial People’s court where they arbitrate on legal administrative cases and disputes. The District People’s courts do not have administrative courts, but have judges trained on the administrative processes. Finally, in the category of the special courts system there are military courts that mainly deal with cases involving the armed officers.
In the same manner, the United State Court system has special courts that handle specific cases. These include claim courts, tax courts, and international trade courts. The tax court is composed of nineteen judges; it mainly deals with cases of income taxes, estate taxes and gifts. The claim courts also exist in the judicial system; they are established by the Congress. The claim courts are mainly drawn in to the money judgments involving the United States such as taking property, refunds from income tax and contract obligation. These courts can also charge on copyright infringement and patent. Court of International Trade with jurisdiction over claims import transactions and custom duties. There are also Military courts of appeal; this court has three civilian judges and rulings are based with the certiorari review by the supreme courts.
Judicial process in the two court systems varies considerably in its administration. Administration can be categorized into the following groups: economic based judicial processes, civil procedures, criminal procedures, law interpretations, rehabilitation processes and sources of laws. These judicial administrative processes are in two court systems, but with different mechanisms of administrations. In Vietnam Court system, civil procedures mainly involve the district courts on the first handling. These are domestic cases that may involve disputes concerning ownership rights, labor disputes, family disputes, and patents’ rights. In case, there is an element of foreigner’s involvement, these disputes are handled at the Provincial People’s court in their first instance. To handle these cases, civic procedure code has been drafted. Cases involving intellectual property rights are under the ruling of district courts. In a given setting, Provincial People’s court may take over the cases and Supreme People’s court may take over under peculiar circumstances. The decision from the district people’s court can be appealed at the Provincial people’s court, which in turn the appellate can be finalized in the Supreme people’s Court. The hearing of the cases is public, and the Constitution allows the defendant to defend himself or by having a lawyer. There are notable similarities between the United States’ judicial process of civil procedure and the Vietnam’s one. As for the Vietnam court system, there is pretrial discovery, which majorly depends on the testimony of the defendant and the accuser. It is the jury which handles the case depending on the laws and rule of the given state. It is a form of settlement or summary judgment. Under these rules, both parties involved to the case pay attorney’s fees.
Another salient feature worth noting is the criminal procedure and law enforcement in both of the judicial processes. The basic criminal procedure includes investigation, prosecution, adjudication and execution. In the Vietnam court system, these are contained in the criminal procedure code and a person is considered not guilty until proven guilty at the prosecution. There is no use of capital punishment and accused can decide to defend himself or appoint someone to defend him in the court system. Judges, procurators and experts are not permitted to participate in courts that they are suspected to have a hand. The procures also controls the processes of the lower courts. Investigation and prosecution is a vital feature in the criminal procedure, and it involves the police arresting the suspect or summoning them. This is the time the counsel are allowed to participate in the case. In Vietnam, more than thirty percent of the cases are thought to be represented by counsel at this stage. The investigating authority must issue an arrest warrant before an arrest is undertaken. Individuals who have been arrested urgently can be kept in the police custody for a period of no more than three days. The arrested suspect may need to be detained; this follows the decision of the procurator. The suspect may be detained in case of committing a serious offense which might warrant a sentence of more than five years or when criminal is suspected can jeopardize investigation or interfere with the process. The procurator determines the detention which is expected to be not more than two months if it is not a serious case. After full investigation, the case is then referred to the procurator who makes the verdict whether the individual goes for trial or whether the case is returned for further investigation. From prosecution and investigation the suspect is the ready for trial. As discussed in the court structures above, in Vietnam, the criminal process trial take place on either of the three court levels present. Most of the cases are handled at the district people’s court. It is composed of one judge, and two lay assessors. It mostly deals with cases that are not complex and that involve the inhabitants of the Vietnam. Hefty cases are appealed at the provincial people’s court. The court process entails the judges, Father Fronts, women group organization and youth groups. The whole panels listen to the case which is also open to the public and the final verdict on the majority of the members of the jury.
Just as in the Vietnam court system, criminal processing in the United States court system also take into account the four basic structures that include an investigation, prosecution, adjudication and execution. As much as the step seems to be similar, there are limited variations in the two processes. In the United States, each has its own statutes of criminal investigation. The initial step in the criminal investigation in United States, judicial involves the state giving charging instrument, which entails two processes. This can be exercised through direct accusation of the suspect on the information bar or through taking the evidences to the grand jury. The grand jury functions to determine whether the presented facts are strong enough to proceed for prosecution. In case the evidence is strong enough, the suspect is the indicted. When the charges have been confirmed in grand jury, the case then moves to petit jury. Petit jury is composed of either twelve members or one judge who presides over the trial. Prosecution and defense are responsible for the selection of the petit jury. After receiving information from the judge, the jury goes to a private delegation to discuss the case. This is then followed by the prosecution and defense, where the prosecutor presents the case and gives evidences why the defendant is guilty; this is also the time the witnesses give their information concerning the crime. After this, the defendant presents his defense and need to come out strongly to oppose and mostly they claim lack of evidence. From the fifth amendment of the United State constitution, the defendant cannot be his own witness. Unlike in the Vietnam court system, the United States proof of burden is a requirement before verdict can be passed on the defendant. The prosecution has to prove beyond doubt that the defendant committed the crime. The defendant needs not to argue to defend himself so much. After the trial, the judge gives the case to the jury for deliberation until the jury reach agreement of which the verdict is read in the court. At the same time, the jury can also fail to agree. Then the judge reads the verdict in the court room of which he can overrule the verdict or accept it depending on its legality. On the verdict, if the defendant is found guilty then he faces punishment, mainly sentence. He can also file appeal.
Another significant feature of the judicial system is the source of the judicial law and its interpretation. This also depicts reasonable comparison between the United States and the Vietnam court system in the judicial process. In the Vietnam court system, the supreme source of law is the Constitution that is followed by the Vietnamese codes and laws. Other sources of the judicial laws include government and state agencies, sub laws from the outstanding committee of the National Assembly. Moreover, Vietnam has international treaties. These laws from the international treaties also act as the source of the judicial laws, resolutions enacted by the judges of the Supreme People’s Court. Legal laws and work of the legal scholars also serve as a source of the law. The United States court system also has the judicial laws from various sources. The ultimate source of these laws is the United States Constitution. Other sources of the laws are federal statutes, federal administrative regulation and federal court precedence. Moreover, state court precedents, statutes, administrative regulations and local codes and ordinances contribute to judicial laws within the United States.
The Vietnam court system and the United States court system share salient feature and can also be distinguished based on many other features. Another important factor is the punishment administration. In both court systems, a person guilty of committing a crime is to be sentenced depending on the nature of the crime. For instance, individuals who have committed grave crimes are given stiffer punitive measures as compared to minor offenders. Indeed, this is the principle of any justice system in ensuring that offenders are punished depending on the nature of their offenses. In addition, criminals are punished depending on the frequency of their commission of the offenses. In fact, while first time offenders may be allowed to stay at home and only appear in the court for court proceedings, repeat offenders are supposed to be locked up in the cells for the entire period. This is the international principle and, therefore, it is certainly featured in both systems. The legislators and judges determine the punishment. It is the duty of the legislator to identify the range of punishment which a given court may impose on giving its verdict. The punishment for the crimes is also listed in the federal laws, state laws and the local laws. It is the duty of the court to choose precisely the punishment that best fits the given crime. On the other hand, in the Vietnam court system, the degree of punishment to the guilty is a role of the judges and procures. There is pre-trial detention of the criminals which is four months.
In conclusion, the similitude of these two judicial systems is well evidenced in the process of employment of judges and their terms in office. In the Vietnam court system, the judges are approved by the Assembly and appointed by the head of state. It is critical to note that as much as there are similarities in the two court systems in the judicial processes, there are also enormous differences that are evident. First, structural organization of these two court system varies considerably. In the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, the court systems are organized in several levels and include preliminary level with the initial system of the judicial process being a local reconciliation groups. They usually solve informal disputes and are mainly mediated upon by the village elders and virtuous men. Another important feature of the judicial system is the source of the judicial law and its interpretation. This also depicts reasonable comparison between the United States and the Vietnam court system in the judicial process. In the Vietnam court system, the supreme source of law is the Constitution that is followed by the Vietnamese codes and laws. Essentially, the differences are based on the nature of the social settings, but still retain certain similarities.