The Civil Code 2005 and 2015 both have provisions on restarting statute of limitations for civil lawsuits. Accordingly, statute of limitations for civil lawsuits will be restarted in the following cases: a) The obligor has admitted part or the whole of its obligations to the petitioner; b) the obligor acknowledges or partially done its obligations to the petitioner; c) the parties have reconciled with each other. Let us see how the Court apply this provision in practice.
THE OBLIGOR HAS ADMITTED PART OF ITS OBLIGATIONS TO THE PETITIONER
- The obligor has a written response to the plaintiff’s written request for performance of the obligations. In a verdict, the Court commented as follows: On November 19, 2014, Company X issued Official Letter 863 / XD4 in response to the request for debt payment of Company S on “Van Giang commercial and service urban area” which includes the construction and erection of box culverts and works related to the RD01 box culvert line. Pursuant to Article 162 of the 2005 Civil Code, Company X’s written response to Company S on the debt payment is considered a partial admission of the obligation to Company S. Therefore, the statute of limitations of civil lawsuit shall be restarted from the day following the date of the defendant’s admission on debt, ie November 20, 2014. On March 10, 2016, Company S filed a lawsuit against Company X and sent it to the People’s Court of District D1 to request payment of the debt under the contract. Thus, the lawsuit of Company S remains under statute of limitation, and acceptance and resolution of the case of the People’s Court of District 1 is in accordance with the law.
- The obligor agrees to have paid part of the obligation in the course of resolving the case. Verdict No. 05/2018 / DSST dated March 6, 2018 on a property loan contract: Although the statute of limitations for lawsuit has expired, in the process of resolving the case, Ms. K has agreed to pay Ms. H 50 million VND thus has admitted of her obligations towards the plaintiff, the statute of limitations of lawsuit shall be restarted under Point a, Clause 1, Article 157 of the Civil Code.
THE OBLIGOR HAD PERFORMED A PART OF ITS OBLIGATIONS TO THE PETITIONER
- Having completed a part of the obligation by paying payment. Verdict No. 13/2018 / KDTM-PT dated November 30, 2018 on credit contract disputes:  considering the defendant’s appeal that the borrowing and unpaid interest until now has expired, thus the defendant does not agree to pay interest to the plaintiff. The trial panel found that: according to the payment note (Record No.280) showed the content that Mr. Nguyen Van Th1 paid the amount of VND 964,747,378 to the loan for Dung Q private enterprise. In addition, in the working minutes dated September 27, 2017, the plaintiff and the defendant have an agreement on the principal and interest debt, and the defendant has agreed on all handling measures of the plaintiff (Record No. 03). According to Article 157 of the 2015 Civil Code, “1.The statute of limitations for restarting a civil lawsuit shall restart in the following cases: b) the obligor acknowledges or completes part of its obligations over the petitioner”. The defendant is the owner of Dung Q private enterprise signed a credit contract and admitted that he still owes the plaintiff an interest amount of 700,715,181 dong, so the defendant must be obliged to pay.
- Verdict No. 43/2017 / DS-ST dated August 23, 2017 on civil disputes for property claims: The date of Ms. K’s next repayment is on February 23, 2017, and the date of defendant has also admitted her obligations to the plaintiff is date on which re-start the statute of limitations for lawsuits under Article 157 of the 2015 Civil Code.
THE OBLIGOR HAS ADMITED ENTIRE OBLIGATIONS TO THE PETITIONER
- The obligor acknowledges all obligations in the debt comparison. In Verdict No. 04/2018/KDTM-PT of February 6, 2018: At Point a, Clause 1, Clause 2, Article 157 of the Civil Code 2015, the statute of limitation for civil lawsuits re-start in cases where the obligor has admitted part or all of its obligations to the petitioner. The time for statute of limitation for civil lawsuits shall re-start from the next day after the date of the events specified in Clause 1 of this Article. In the minutes of debt comparison on June 30, 2013, Company D has acknowledged all its obligations to the Corporation. After the debt comparison, the Corporation sent many documents requesting company D to repay the debt, but company D did not perform.
- The obligor acknowledges all obligations in the documents issued by itself. In Verdict 57/2018/DS-ST of 01/08/2018 on disputes over land pledge contracts and property: on September 15, 2017, Mr. H confirmed to Ms. O that Mr. H owed loans and interests, gold for land pledge and rice buying with totaling of VND 174,000,000, as shown in the “application for confirmation on September 15, 2017” (Record No. 04), which are recognized by the involved parties. Thus, based on the incited Law and the “application for confirmation on September 15, 2017” recognized by the parties, the statute of limitation for re-starting civil lawsuit over the interest rate claim in this case remains. Therefore, Ms. O’s request to force Mr. H to pay interest on the loan amount of VND 10,000,000 from the time of the loan to date at the interest rate prescribed by the State is in accordance with the provisions of law and be accepted.
- The obligor acknowledges the entire obligation although it has not yet been determined exactly the extent to which it must be performed. In Verdict No. 70/2018/KDTM-PT: Pursuant to Article 157 of the Civil Code, the statute of limitation for civil lawsuits re-start in cases where the obligor has admitted part or all of its obligations to petitioner. Therefore, the time when the Defendants issue Dispatch No. 151 to the Plaintiffs is determined as the time of re-starting civil lawsuits. As of the date the Plaintiff submits the lawsuit petition (the third time) at the First Instance Court on November 7, 2016, it is still within the 2-year legal time period as prescribed by law. The first-instance courts have decided to suspend the adjudicating of the cases due to the expiration of the statute of limitation of lawsuits are not in accordance with the provisions of law. September 3, 2015, The Defendant has issued Official Letter No. 151/KTTC-TN signed by Ms. Vu Thi Thu H- General Director- on debt reconciliation and given respond to official letter ATIM15CV068, where on page 3 stated that the Defendant does not deny debts to the Plaintiff and will fully pay the Plaintiff after the two parties compare to determine the exact debt of each economic contract. Thus, the Defendant has confirmed the debt to the Plaintiff even though the parties have not yet compared to determine the specific debt.
It is noted that in the judgment practice if the defendant only does not admit the interest, the statute of limitation of the civil lawsuit on the interest shall be not re-started. Specifically, in a judgment, the Court said that: Based on the provisions of law on the statute of limitation of re-starting a lawsuit as cited above, statute of limitation of re-starting a lawsuit over the interest portion in this case is 03 years from the date the CD Corporation knows or must know its legitimate rights and interests to be infringed, that is from July 1, 2013 and until July 1, 2017 (03 years). On May 11, 2017, the CD Corporation have just made a lawsuit that is in the case when the statute of limitations has expired. Company D has requested to apply the statute of limitations to initiate a lawsuit before the first instance Court issued a judgment. The first-instance trial panel must apply Point e, Clause 1, Article 217 and Point b, Clause 2, Article 266 of the Civil Procedure Code to suspend the lawsuit petition for late payment interest requested by the plaintiff. However, the first-instance trial panel shall decide not to accept the request and force the plaintiff to bear court fees for the unacceptable part, which is not in accordance with the provisions of law, affecting the legitimate rights and interests of the involved party. Therefore, the appellate trial panel finds that this part of the first-instance judgment should be amended towards suspending the plaintiff’s request for late payment interest of VND 3,480,627,000.
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