Understanding system of Vietnam Legislative document

What is a Legislative documents?

Legal documents are documents that contain legal regulations and the promulgation of State management agencies, central, state power agencies, state management agencies at local level promulgate according to their competence.

Legal documents must not contravene the Constitution, laws, ordinances, resolutions of the National Assembly, Standing Committee of the National Assembly and legal documents of superiors. Normative regulations  in these documents are called regulations to distinguish them from Normative regulations in legal documents to clearly state the legal value of by-law document.

Normative regulations are general rules of conduct, commonly binding, and applied repeatedly to agencies, organizations and individuals nationwide or within a certain administrative division, promulgated by the regulatory agencies and competent persons in this Law, and the implementation of which is ensured by the State.

Thus, whether all acts are right or wrong is regulated by the law. Promulgated Laws and legal documents  always include a mandatory sanction. If you violate the law, you will be handled in accordance with the law.

Which documents are Legislative Documents?

Pursuant to Article 4 of the  Law on Promulgation of Legislative Documents No. 80/2015/QH13 dated June 22, 2015 as amended by Clause 1, Article 1 of the Law on Promulgation of Legal Documents No. 63/2020/QH14 dated June 18 in June 2020, The system of legislative documents follows:

1. The Constitution.

2. Codes and Laws (hereinafter referred to as Laws), Resolutions of the National Assembly

3. Ordinances, Resolutions of the Standing Committee of the National Assembly; Joint Resolutions between the Standing Committee of the National Assembly and the Management Board of Central Committee of Vietnamese Fatherland Front; Joint Resolutions between the Standing Committee of the National Assembly, the Government, the Management Board of Central Committee of Vietnamese Fatherland Front.”

4. Orders, Decisions of the President.

5. Decrees of the Government; Joint Resolutions between the Government and Management Board of Central Committee of Vietnamese Fatherland Front

6. Decision of the Prime Minister.

7. Resolutions of Judge Council of the People’s Supreme Court.

8. Circulars of the Executive Judge of the People’s Supreme Court; Circulars of the Chief Procurator of the Supreme People’s Procuracy; Circulars of Ministers, Heads of ministerial agencies; Decisions of the State Auditor General

8a. Joint Circulars between the Executive Judge of the People’s Supreme Court, the Chief Procurator of the Supreme People’s Procuracy, the State Auditor General, Ministers, Heads of ministerial agencies. Joint Circulars between Ministers and Heads of ministerial agencies shall not be promulgated.

9. Resolutions of the People’s Councils of central-affiliated cities and provinces (hereinafter referred to as provinces).

10. Decisions of the People’s Committees of provinces.

11. Legislative documents of local governments in administrative – economic units.

12. Resolutions of the People’s Councils of districts, towns and cities within provinces (hereinafter referred to as districts).

13. Decisions of the People’s Committees of districts.

14. Resolutions of the People’s Councils of communes, wards and towns within districts (hereinafter referred to as communes).

15. Decisions of the People’s Committees of communes. 

The above documents are legal documents, which are legally obligatory. In addition to the system of documents mentioned above, other documents are not legal documents.

Merged text/Consolidating document

The Merged text/Consolidating document is not a legal document. A document has been issued by a competent authority, Due to the impact of many socio-economic factors, some regulations are no longer appropriate, so this agency has issued another document to amend and supplement some articles of the current text. There are documents that have been modified and added not only once.

Thus, if a legal document is not amended or supplemented, we only have to read one document, if there are amendments or supplement, we must read many documents at the same time, the first issued, the revised one, the second revised one… That makes it difficult for people to look up and use. Thus, The Law on Promulgation of Legal Documents has been required: the legal documents must be merged with the amended and supplemented legal documents in order to ensure a simple, clear, easy-to-use legal system and improve enforcement efficiency of law.

However, the consolidated document is officially used in the application and enforcement of the law, this is stipulated in the Ordinance No: 01/2012/UBTVQH13 dated March 22, 2012 of the National Assembly Standing Committee. . Therefore, the consolidated text is also legal.

In the field of import and export, we often encounter consolidated documents, all of which are validity

Language in legal documents.

Pursuant to Article 4 of the Law on promulgation of legal documents No. 80/2015/QH13 guided by Article 18 of Resolution No. 351/2017/UBTVQH14 as follows:

  • The language used in the document is Vietnamese; Expression must be precise, clear and easy to understand.
  • Foreign words can only be used when there are no corresponding Vietnamese words to replace them and must be transliterated into Vietnamese or can be used directly if they are common and popular words.
  • In a document containing technical words that need to be clarified, those words must be explained.
  • Abbreviated words are used only in cases where it is absolutely necessary and the content of such words must be explained at the first use in the text.

For texts that use multiple acronyms, a separate clause that explains all of the acronyms in the text may be specified.

  • Words used in the text must accurately represent the content to be conveyed, without giving rise to many interpretations; In case the word used can be understood in more than one sense, the meaning used in the text must be clearly explained.
  • Words indicating the same content must be used uniformly throughout the text.
  • Capital letters in the document are used in accordance with Vietnamese spelling rules and according to the instructions in the Appendix issued with this Resolution.

When we read and understand a legal document, we need to ensure objectivity when implementing; In many cases, when implementing these regulations, the enforcer speculates in his favor. This falsifies the original intention of the text. However, when a legal dispute arises, these speculations are not accepted but only “regulate” or “not regulate”, so it is necessary to utilize correctly.

Prohibited acts.

Pursuant to Article 14 of the Law on Promulgation of Legal Documents No. 80/2015/QH13, as amended and supplemented in Clause 4, Article 1 of the Law on Promulgation of Legal Documents No. 63/2020/QH14 dated June 16 In 2020, the prohibited acts are as follows:

1.Promulgating legislative documents against the Constitution or legislative documents promulgated by superior regulatory agencies.

2. Promulgate documents other than those in the system of legislative documents prescribed in Article 4 of this Law but containing normative regulations

3. Promulgating legislative documents against regulations on authority, manner, and procedures of this Law.

4.Impose administrative procedures in circulars, joint circulars, decisions of the State Auditor General, resolutions of the People’s Councils of provinces, decisions of the People’s Committees, legislative documents of local governments of administrative – economic units, unless assigned by the National Assembly in laws or resolutions or necessary to impose administrative procedures in resolutions of the People’s Councils of provinces as prescribed in Clause 4 Article 27 of this Law.”.

In fact, although the law on promulgation of legal documents clearly stipulates prohibited acts, many documents are still promulgated in contravention of the law because it is not part of the above-mentioned system of legislative documents but it is still legal. We need to recognize these documents to avoid legal risks.

The order of application of legal documents.

Pursuant to Article 156 of the Law on Promulgation of Legal Documents No. 80/2015/QH13, the order of application of legal documents is as follows:

1. Legislative documents are applicable from their effective date.

Legislative documents shall be applied to the acts committed at the time such documents are effective, except for those that have retrospective effect.

2. If various legislative documents contain different regulations on the same issue, the superior document shall apply.

3. If various legislative documents promulgated by the same agency contain different regulations on the same issue, the one that is promulgated later shall apply.

4. If the new legislative document does not contain legal liability or impose a less serious legal liability on the acts committed before the effective date of the document, the new document shall apply.

5. Application of Vietnam’s legislative documents must not obstruct the implementation of the international agreements to which the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is a signatory. In case a Vietnam’s legislative documents other than the Constitution and an international agreement to which the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is a signatory contain different regulations on the same issue, the international agreement shall apply.

Mastering the regulations is never superfluous, applying the right legal documents always helps us avoid unnecessary disputes. In order to properly refer to and properly apply each situation, we need to master the order of application of legal documents.

Example: if the violation arose during the transfer of new and old regulatory documents, we must know the rule in litigant’s favor  to apply which document does not provide for legality or lighter legal provisions.

Source: Pham Thanh Nam

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