Source of the case: Precedent No.15/2017/AL (“Precedent 15“) passed by the Council of Judges of the Supreme Court on December 14, 2017 and published under Decision No. 299/QD-CA on December 28, 2017.

Precedent 15 is based on final arbitration No. 394/2012/DS-GDT issued by the Council of Judges of the Supreme Court dated August 23, 2012 regarding “The dispute of land exchange agreement” (“Final Arbitration”) in Ha Noi city between the plantiff – Ms. Trinh Thi C and the defendant – Mr. Nguyen Minh T; the persons with related interests and obligations include Ms. Vu Thi P., Mr. Nguyen Minh Tr., Ms. Bui Thanh H., Ms. Truong Thi X., Mr. Truong Sy K., Ms. Truong Hong T., Ms. Truong Thi H1., Mr. Truong Anh T, Ms. Truong Thuy N, Mr. Truong Quang K and Ms. Truong Thi H2.

Material Pacts: According to the content of Precedent 15, the exchange of land between the parties was on a voluntary basis for agricultural purposes. After exchanging the land plots, both parties registered the area of land in the cadastral records book, directly cultivated and continuously used it since 1992 until now. During the process of using the land, Mr. Nguyen Minh T. had reclaimed the land by relocating the on-site graves, and renovating the fishpond.

Further, in actual fact, the exchange of land had been performed since February, 1992. In the evidence files, the parties completed their registration at the local authorities as well as other procedures such as tax declaration and land use right (“LUR”) certificate since 1994. In this case, the Court must recognize the land exchange and the LUR of the parties based on reality. However, the First-Instance Court and the Appeal Court had agreed to Ms. Trinh Thi C.’s affidavit to identify litigants who exchanged the land temporarily, and then ruled that the land exchange was illegal and rescinded the land exchange transaction. Both parties were forced to return the houses and land. This court decision was inaccurate, causing unnecessary disturbance for the involved parties.

Judges’ Reasoning and Legal Application: Precedent 15 was created based on the resolution of the Final Arbitration. Accordingly,  in case the involved parties (i) had an oral agreement voluntarily on exchange of agricultural land use rights before October 15, 1993 (the effective date of the Law on Land No.24-L/CTN dated July 14, 1993); (ii) registered, declared area of land recorded in cadastral book; and (iii) directly cultivated, stably and continuously used for long term, the Court must recognize the oral agreement of those parties on the exchange of agricultural LURs.


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