Judicial system of Vietnam

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The Vietnamese judicial system is based upon Socialist legality. The country's highest judicial organ is the Supreme People's Court (SPC). The composition of the SCP includes the Chief Justice, Deputy Chief Judge, jurors and court secretaries.


The apex of the judiciary of Vietnam is the Supreme People’s Court of Vietnam (SPC), which is the highest court for appeal and review. The SPC reports to the National Assembly of Vietnam, which controls the judiciary’s budget and confirms the president’s nominees to the SPC and the Supreme People’s Procuracy of Vietnam. The Supreme People’s Procuracy issues arrest warrants, sometimes retroactively. Below the SPC are district and provincial people’s courts, military tribunals, and administrative, economic, and labor courts. The people’s courts are the courts of first instance.

Military tribunals[edit]

The Ministry of Defense (MOD) has military tribunals, which have the same rules as civil courts. Military judges and assessors are selected by the MOD and SPC, but the SPC has supervisory responsibility.


Although the constitution provides for independent judges and lay assessors (who lack administrative training), the U.S. Department of State maintains that Vietnam lacks an independent judiciary, in part because the Vietnamese Communist Party (VCP) selects judges and vets them for political reliability. Moreover, the party seeks to influence the outcome of cases involving perceived threats to the state or the party’s dominant position. In an effort to increase judicial independence, the government transferred local courts from the Ministry of Justice to the SPC in September 2002. However, the Department of State saw no evidence that the move actually achieved the stated goal. Vietnam’s judiciary also is hampered by a shortage of lawyers and rudimentary trial procedures.

Death penalty[edit]

The death penalty often is imposed in cases of corruption and drug trafficking. As of February 2014, the death penalty remains a punishment that can be applied to those who have been found guilty of criminal activity. In January 2014, a court in northern Vietnam sentenced 30 Vietnamese citizens to death after they were found guilty of heroin trafficking—the largest number of defendants sentenced to death in a single trial in the country’s court history. At the same time, there are around 700 people awaiting the death penalty on death row in Vietnam. The January 2014 decision received condemnation from numerous international organizations, such as the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty.[1]


  1. ^ "UN urged to act on Vietnam over death penalty". The Washington Post. 12 February 2014. Retrieved 12 February 2014.