62nd JFBA General Meeting -Resolution on Promotion of Civil Justice Reform and Improvement of Judicial Foundation-
Since 1990, the Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA) has consistently been advocating judicial reforms as part of its goal of achieving "justice for citizens," i.e., a "judicial system that is accessible, understandable, and reliable to the public." With this year marking the tenth anniversary of the 2001 issuance of the Recommendations calling for fundamental reforms by the Justice System Reform Council, the JFBA will review the fundamental standpoint of those reforms, and will propose and promote its "Secondary Judicial Reforms" from the viewpoints of citizens.
One of the most important pillars of the reforms lies in the area of civil justice, which is the most familiar area to citizens. Civil justice, mainly composed of civil and domestic affairs and administrative litigation, is an element of public infrastructure, which protects citizens’ rights, and extends the rule of law into virtually every sector of Japanese society. Civil justice is closely related to both economic activities and the daily lives of citizens, and the importance of its role in the public infrastructure thus carries more weight when compared with other areas of justice.
In order to fill the role of a system which is both accessible to and reliable for the public, civil justice should effectively guarantee the rights of all members of the public who are in need of assistance, including those in positions of relative weakness such as consumers, laborers, foreign nationals, handicapped people and the elderly. At the same time, civil justice should be able to accurately and appropriately deal with all the types of legal problems faced by various groups including individuals, corporations and other entities in the highly-developed and globalized economical society in which we live.
The JFBA will strive to tackle the following judicial reforms aiming to achieve civil justice in the manner stated above, and is determined to realize this goal both on behalf of and in cooperation with citizens.
- Regarding the wide variety of issues relating to reform of the civil justice system, including the following, the JFBA urges governmental ministries and agencies to actively and purposefully promote reforms, and also to ensure large increases in the judicial budgets required for conducting such reforms:
- Promotion of the improvement of those human resources working in the justice system, such as judges and court officials, enhancement of the court branches, and development of the material resources of the courts.
- Movement towards the aim of achieving a civil justice system which is familiar and easily accessible to people, the enhancement of civil legal aid, the lowering and fixing litigation fee levels, and the improvement of legal expenses insurance should all be carried out.
- In order to ensure that the civil justice system should guarantee civil rights and be reliable for all members of the public, the following should also be conducted: improvement of the procedures on collecting of information and evidence in the event of civil and administrative litigation, introduction of a class-action system which encourages large numbers of victims to exercise their rights, easing of requirements for appeal such as legal standing to sue, promotion of reform of the administrative litigation system including foundation of new litigation systems such as group litigation. Further, the reform of various systems to ensure the execution of judgments, the possibility of introducing simplified and more efficient litigation and court procedures, the possibility of citizen participation in trials, etc., and the improvement and reform of substantive civil laws such as legislation on liability for damages, should all be reviewed and promoted. In addition, enhancement and revitalization of the Alternative Dispute Resolution procedures (ADR) should be conducted.
- In order to promote the reform of the various issues stated above, the JFBA will earnestly review each issue under a new system, which is to be developed in the JFBA, incorporating outside opinions from a broad spectrum of local bar associations and citizens’ groups, etc., and will provide recommendations at an appropriate time in accordance with the progress of each issue.
- Further, in order to deal with the reforms of the civil justice system as stated above, the JFBA will strive to facilitate constructive changes in both the mentality of attorneys and in legal practice as a whole, and to improve the abilities of attorneys by providing a wide range of effective measures including suitable professional legal training and education.
Japan Federation of Bar Associations