7 Yukiko Hasebe
Civil Justice Reform:
Access, Cost, and Expedition.
The Japanese Perspective
1. INTRODUCTIONIn Japan the new Code of Civil Procedure was enacted in 1996 and came into
effect in January 1998. The 1996 Code (which I will refer to as 'the New Code')
replaced the former Code, which dated from 1926 (which I will refer to as 'the
Old Code'). The aim of the reforms was to offer ordinary citizens plain and
accessible civil justice.The main reforms of the New Code are as follows:
|1. ||the establishment of pre-trial procedures for identifying genuine issues;|
|2. ||the improvement of the method for obtaining evidence;|
|3. ||the introduction of a small claims procedure; and|
|4. ||the restriction of appeals to the Supreme Court.|
The overall objective is to achieve expeditious and efficient civil justice. This, in
itself, is no doubt desirable. However, if it sacrifices fairness in justice, we should
think it over again. What is justice? What are its most fundamental and essential
elements? And how should we seek to realize them? It is against the background
of these questions that I will describe the recent reforms and the present
situation in Japanese civil justice.
2. OUTLINE OF THE JAPANESE CIVIL JUSTICE SYSTEM
2.1. Historical background
The first Code of Civil Procedure in Japan was enacted in 1890. It was based on
German law. Most of the technical terms now current in Japanese procedural
law were created through translation of the corresponding German terms.____________________
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Civil Justice in Crisis:Comparative Perspectives of Civil Procedure.
Contributors: Adrian A. S. Zuckerman - Editor, Sergio Chiarloni - AssociateEditor, Peter Gottwald - AssociateEditor.
Publisher: Oxford University Press.
Place of publication: Oxford.
Publication year: 1999.
Page number: 235.
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