Vietnamese Legal System

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Table of Contents in the Asian Legal Encyclopedia

Vietnamese Legal System in Asia

Vietnam (official name: Socialist Republic of Vietnam or Cộng hòa Xã hội chủ nghĩa Việt Nam), is situated in the east of the Indochina Peninsula (Southeast Asia). The legal system of Vietnam is based on the Civil law system. The Vietnamese Civil Code of 2005 reflects a European-style Civil law Code.

Legal Research in Vietnam: a Guide for Lawyers

In a globalized world, lawyers outside Vietnam may come into contact with Vietnamese law, Vietnamese lawyers or Vietnamese clients, and the last would be better served when their lawyers have an understanding of the essential characteristics and aspects of the Vietnamese legal system. Likewise, in researching Vietnamese law, it is important for non-Vietnamese lawyers not to limit their inquiry to their country sources. In addition, instead of looking for precedents, in Vietnam lawyers browse first the provisions of the corresponding legislation for an appropriate legal principle applied to the case or Vietnamese law problem.

Any serious legal issue involving Vietnam must require consultation with a lawyer trained and licensed in Vietnam. International materials and resources, like this Encyclopedia, however, may provide some familiarity with the basic concepts of the Vietnamese law, a solid starting point and new perspectives and solutions that are not apparent, sometimes, from within a non-Vietnamese legal tradition. Their study may help the non-Vietnamese lawyer to determine the general nature of a problem, and can facilitate a better understanding with the Vietnamese colleague who may be called in to assist.

Where to Start

General Information about Vietnam and their Legal Tradition

Vietnam and their People

Read about Vietnam and their People here.

Historical Background of Vietnam

Overview of the history of Vietnam.

Legal Education

Offering a summary of the legal education, including law schools , in Vietnam.

Development of Vietnamese Law

Report on the development of the law in Vietnam.

Structures of Vietnamese Law

It offers a description of the structures of the law in Vietnam.

Sources of the Vietnamese Law

Summary of the sources of Law in Vietnam.

Historical Background

More about the history of the Vietnamese law here.

Enacted Law in Vietnam

Read more about the legislation in Vietnam.

  • The Vietnamese Constitution

Learn more about the Constitution of Vietnam.

  • Vietnam Codes and Statutes

Survey of Vietnamese Codes and Statutes.

  • Vietnam Statutory Decrees

Outline of the Vietnam Statutory Decrees.

  • Vietnam Regulations

Scope of the Regulations enacted in Vietnam.

  • Vietnam By-Laws

Observation about the By-Laws in existence in Vietnam.

Customary Law

Learn more about the customary law of Vietnam.

Case Law as a Source of Law

Analysis of the Case Law in Vietnam.

Precedents in Vietnam

Evaluation of the role of Precedents in the Vietnamese legal system.

Doctrine in Vietnam

Review of the legal Doctrine in Vietnam.

International sources of law

See more about the international sources of law in Vietnam and Asia, including International Treaties.

The Vietnamese Government System

Study of the Government system in existence in Vietnam.

Vietnamese Constitutional Structure

Overview of the Constitutional Structure in Vietnam.

Historical Background

Read more about the history of the Government System of the country.

General Characteristics of the Constitution

Constitution of Vietnam: the main features.

Human Rights in Vietnam

Scope of the Civil and Human rights in the country.

Legislative Branch

The legislative branch proposes laws. Find a description of the Legislative Power in Vietnam here.

Structure of the Vietnamese Legislative Branch

Observation of the structure of the legislative power in Vietnam.

Functions and Powers

See more about the role of the legislative power in Vietnam here.

Legislative Process

Read how the Vietnamese legislative procedures work here.

Supervision of the Executive

Learn how the legislative branch supervises the executive branch.

Executive Branch

The executive power proposes laws. Read more.

Head of State in Vietnam

The head of state of Vietnam is the formal head of the executive, legislature and judiciary of Vietnam.

Head of Government in Vietnam

The head of government in Vietnam is the Prime Minister of Vietnam, the political leader of the government of Vietnam.

Vietnamese Council of Ministers

See information about the Cabinet Ministers of Vietnam here.

Vietnamese Local Governments

Review of the local government powers in Vietnam. See the definition of local rule here.

Local Organizations of Central Administration

The central administration consists of a number of ministries and other organizations, including local ones. Various departments, offices and divisions are established in each ministry in Vietnam. See the definition of centralization here.

Vietnamese Municipalities

Outlook of the cities, towns, villages and other communities, including municipal courts (when applicable), and their legal authority in Vietnam.

Judiciary Branch

The judiciary power interprets and applies laws. Find here a review of the Judicial System in Vietnam.

Main Features of the Judiciary

Read the most important characteristics of the Judiciary system in Vietnam here.

Vietnam Judicial Structure

Report of the Court Organization and Jurisdiction in Vietnam.
The Courts in Vietnam may be divided into:

  • High Courts

Description of the functioning of high courts in Vietnam.

  • Lower Courts

Summary of the roles of courts of lesser rank.


Information about rules that influence sentencing in Vietnam.

Participants in the Administration of Justice

Survey about the players in the Administration of Justice in Vietnam and other countries.


Information about the impartial administration of justice, the independence and status of the judiciary and other issues related to Judges in Vietnam.

Public Prosecutors

The role of those government officials who represent, in Vietnam, legal authorities (often prosecuting criminal actions in Vietnam and Asia).

The practice of law

More about the practice of law in Vietnam and Asia.

The legal professions

Outline of the legal professions in Vietnam and Asia.

Practitioners (Lawyers and others)

Learn about the legal role of practitioners, specially lawyers.

Notary-Public in Vietnam

Overview about Public Notaries practising in Vietnam.

Court reporter – Clerks

Overview of Court reporters and Clerks in Vietnamese and Asian courthouses.

Civil Law Procedure

Outlook of the main features of the Vietnamese civil process, including:

Pretrial Proceedings in Vietnam

Information about what pretrial proceedings consist of.

The Trial in Vietnam

Review of the judicial examinations in civil or criminal actions in Vietnam.

Civil Litigation

Overview of the steps of litigation in Vietnam, the litigator’s role and the types of civil litigation in the country here.


Evidence law outline in Vietnam.

The Judgment

Outlook of the tribunal decisions in Vietnam. For Judgments which are of significance as legal precedents on points of law in Vietnam, see precedents.

The Effect of the Judgment

Overview of effects and recognition of a valid judgment delivered by a court of competent jurisdiction in Vietnam.

Legal Remedies in Vietnam

Enforcement of a legal right ordered by the court. See also the Judicial Relief definition.

Appeals – Judicial Review

Description of the Appeals process and the Judicial Review process of challenging the lawfulness of decisions in Vietnam.

Criminal Law Procedure

Observation of the Criminal Process.

The Investigation of Crime

Scope of the investigation of crimes:

The Prosecution of Crime

Crime Prosecution.

Criminal Trials in Vietnam

Laws and rules of the administration of justice when a person has been accused of a crime.

Appeals – Judicial Review

When a party files an appeal, asking to review the case:

Alternative Dispute Resolution in Vietnam

Method of resolving disputes out-of-court (ADR).

Private Law

Family Law in Vietnam

Guide to Marriage Law, Succession Law and other Family Law topics in Vietnam.

Contract Law in Vietnam

Contracts Law outline in Vietnam.

Tort Law in Vietnam

Regulating claims by civil wrongs that result in an injury or harm.

Property Law in Vietnam

Real property and Personal property law in Vietnam.

Copyright and Industrial Property

Survey of industrial and intellectual property laws in Vietnam.

Foreign Trade

Regulation of Foreign Trade in Vietnam and Asia.

Business Law in Vietnam

Besides commercial law and the law of corporations and other entities, this guide provides comprehensive information about:

Criminal Law in Vietnam

Penal law involves prosecution for a crime in Vietnam and Asia. Find out more.

Family Law in Vietnam

Family legal issues including:

  • Divorce and separation
  • Child protection, custody, support and access
  • Adoptions
  • Property Division

Public Law

More about Public Law here.

Administrative Law

Report of the branches of the Administrative law, including Environmental law.

Administrative Processes

Administrative Processing in Vietnam and Asia.


Taxation in Vietnam explained.

Labor Law

Overview of the labor law and social security in Vietnam.

Asia Legal Systems

Further Resources

History of the Vietnamese Legal System

The Vietnamese legal tradition has been shaped by many different influences, domestic as well as foreign. More than one different legal system has coexisted in Vietnam at various points in the long country history. The Portal of Vietnamese law provides introductory entries about the background and history of the law of the country.

Vietnam Law Portal

The Vietnam Law Portal provides an introductory overview of the history of legal development in Vietnam, major legal concepts, the structure of Vietnamese government, the Vietnamese judicial and court system, and peculiar characteristic of the response of the Vietnamese legal system to development in Vietnam.

The Vietnam Portal presents the main areas of its legal system and the wider aspects of how law is made and reformed. The entries of the Vietnam Law Portal include consideration of the primary features of the Vietnamese legal system, including the Vietnamese legal history, Vietnamese judicial structure and operation, the Vietnamese Constitution and the legislative and administrative structure and process. The contents of the Vietnam Portal also include discussion of Vietnamese legal actors (including Vietnamese lawyers), legal education, judges and other participants in the Vietnamese legal landscape.

The Portal introduces legal professionals, students and the general reader to terms and concepts necessary for understanding the Vietnamese legal system, the jurisdiction, organization and authority of courts in Vietnam, and the Vietnamese judicial interpretation and decision-making. The substantive areas of law such as public law, torts and product liability, property (including intellectual property rights and copyright infringements), and family law are also covered. The Portal also treats the law governing the main business legal topics: contracts, business regulation, companies and taxation. It also examines the civil, criminal and administrative processes, the procedural rights, main court opinions and the various modes of alternative dispute resolution available in Vietnam.

Useful to the reader of the Encyclopedia as a reference, the Portal provides a table of cases, indices provides even greater detail, a glossary of selected legal terms and many entries provide bibliographies for further reading.

Comparative Law and Legal Systems in Asia

One of the goals of the comparative law is to wrap up the similarities and differences among countries, including Vietnam. the different legal traditions in Asia and could be able thereby better to understand the Vietnamese law. to the reception of legal systems in Vietnam and other countries of Asia, with special reference to the reception of foreign law (specially English law and Islamic law) by these countries.

The Asian Encyclopedia of Law provides a survey of the legal systems of almost all the Asian jurisdictions. Being the Encyclopedia a work in progress, the length of the entries may vary considerably. Each country section includes a description of their major subject areas of law, notes on the main compilations (or official codifications), a detailed listing of legislation covering specific topics and resources for enacted laws and judicial decisions (including references to further online sources).

Conclusion about the Legal System of Vietnam

A good comprehension of the Vietnamese legal system requires knowledge and skill in a number of disciplines. The Vietnamese system itself is the result of developments in law, economy, politics, sociological change and the theories which feed all these bodies of knowledge. The law or Vietnam may be relevant in a foreign jurisdiction court proceeding involving international transactions. The Knowledge of the Vietnamese traditions and its legal institutions allows a good understanding of the Vietnamese law, its institutions and processes and sets the Vietnamese law and system in a social context.

This guide introduces some of the main procedural and substantive Vietnamese principles, with a more detailed treatment of resources in the major subject areas of the Vietnamese law, with access to primary materials.

The general reader and students may learn some basic legal concepts and principles of the Vietnamese law, to explain how the Vietnamese legal system operates, and to provide a sense of how the systems within Vietnam have evolved historically in Vietnam from its origins.

A globally focused guide like this site, including the legal concepts and principles of Asia, cannot
avoid taking many culture-specific elements into account.

About the Author

Salvador Trinxet Llorca is a law writer, professor and lawyer specialized in comparative and international law.

See Also

References and Further Reading

  • Comparative law in a global context: the legal systems of Asia and Africa, Werner Menski
  • Asian legal systems: law, society, and pluralism in East Asia, Poh-Ling Tan
  • Philanthropy and law in Asia: a comparative study of the nonprofit legal systems in ten Asia Pacific societies, Thomas Silk
  • Law and legal institutions of Asia: traditions, adaptations and innovations, E Ann Black; Gary F Bell
  • Law, capitalism and power in Asia: the rule of law and legal institutions, Kanishka Jayasuriya
  • Asia-Pacific legal development, Douglas M Johnston and Gerry A Ferguson
  • Modern legal systems cyclopedia, Kenneth R Redden and William Emerson Brock
  • Constitutionalism in Asia: Asian views of the American influence, Lawrence Ward Beer
  • The judicialization of politics in Asia, Björn Dressel
  • East Asian Law: Universal Norms and Local Cultures
  • Law, Capitalism and Power in Asia : The Rule of Law and Legal Institutions
  • Doing Business in Asia (updated regularly)
  • Copyright Law and the Information Society in Asia
  • Insolvency Law in East Asia
  • Intellectual Property Law in Asia
  • A Legal Guide to Doing Business in the Asia-Pacific


  • Asia-Pacific Development Journal
  • Asia-Pacific Journal on Human Rights and the Law
  • Asian Law Journal
  • Australian Journal of Asian Law
  • Columbia Journal of Asian Law


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