NA Debates Additions to Legal Procedures

The National Assembly yesterday took up debate on additions to legal procedures, approving five of 10 chapters of a draft law dealing with matters that do not result in lawsuits.

Though the laws were adopted handily with the support of CPP lawmakers, opposition SRP lawmakers said they would abstain, complaining of ambiguities in the text or possible abuses of the new statutes.

Speaking in the Assembly chamber, Justice Minister Ang Vong Vathana explained that the draft law’s provisions, which are intended to fill gaps in the code of civil procedures adopted by the Assembly in 2007, would concern matters in which there are no plaintiffs or complaints.

“The law is created for the cases in which there is no disputing party,” Mr Vong Vathana said. He cited the example of a person mandated by a court to act on behalf of a person debilitated by mental illness.

CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap also told the Assembly the law would allow courts to decide surrogacy matters for orphaned minors.

“For instance, I have a child of only 16 and then both I and my wife pass away…. So who will be the heir?” Mr Yeap said. “So the prosecutor can petition to bring the inheritances to my child.”

SRP lawmaker Son Chhay said the draft was a low priority as a civil code had already been adopted and could be amended if necessary.

“It could create complications,” he said, referring to potential decisions as to whether to observe the civil procedures code or the new non-litigation civil procedures code.

The new law would also give substantial new powers to prosecutors and create new opportunities for extortion, he said.

However, Mr Vong Vathana said measures existed to prevent this.

“This law is very important to implement our civil code,” he said, adding that a disciplinary committee existed with the Supreme Council of the Magistracy to address any misconduct by court officers.

Consideration of the draft law was to continue today.


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