The government’s Judicial Reform Council has compiled a draft report featuring two controversial recommendations: Cutting in half the duration of hearings in civil lawsuits and requiring that the party of litigation that loses in a civil case pays the lawyers’ fees, sources close to the council said.
Opinions on these two issues are still divided within the council, chaired by Kinki University professor Koji Sato, and heated debate is inevitable before the council can come up with a final report, scheduled for June 12.
The draft runs to 108 pages, including an introductory chapter that discusses the basic goals of judicial reform and the process of deliberations within the council on how to build a “judiciary system for the 21st century.”
The specific recommendations outlined in the draft report include a substantial increase in the number of judges, prosecutors and lawyers, the setting up of graduate faculties of law, similar to law schools in the United States, and the introduction of a jury system for criminal trials.
While most of these recommendations reflect previous positions adopted by the council, the panel failed to reach a consensus on the duration for hearings in civil lawsuits and on lawyers’ fees.
The council intends to make a case for these two issues in its final report, hoping to thrash out the differences during the final stages of the council’s term.
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