The fundamental goal of civil trials is to solve disputes over private rights so as to protect these rights. Civil litigation is based on the adversary system. A presiding judge directs the proceedings and exercises the right of elucidation to allow the parties concerned to make proper and sufficient debates. Furthermore, the judge examines evidence in detail and makes fair decisions. Meanwhile, the court shall try, by all possible means, to expand the function of compromises and reconciliation to reduce the sources of litigation.
The court has a certain number of civil divisions that deal with civil cases related to disputes over private rights or specified in other special laws or ordinances, as well as non-contentious matters.
Cases involving controversies over marriage, parent-children relations, declaration of death, interdiction, and non-contentious matters including property management, inheritance, adoption, and acknowledgement of children, are handled by the Family Division.
Labor disputes are dealt with by the Labor Division; election and recall actions are tried by the Election Division. Special cases concerning international trade and maritime commerce, state compensation, and fair trade are tried by specialized divisions.
The court has a special emphasis on mediation and conciliation in civil procedures. In order to terminate disputes and to promote harmony between parties, the judges always do everything possible to have cases ended peacefully.
Layout of Civil Courts
Attorneys of plaintiff and defendant in civil trial are seated at the right and left position in front of the judge. They should stand up while speaking. A party should go to the front of the judges¡¦ seat while he or she is asked to answer questions. A witness speaks at the witness stand and goes back to his or her seat after finishing speaking.