The Supreme Court rendered the 107-Tai-Shang-Zi-1690 Civil Decision (hereinafter, the “Decision”), holding that a material defect in the first instance litigation procedure shall mean that there is a causal relationship between the violation of the litigation procedure and the contents of a court decision or that since the litigation procedure violates relevant requirements, it is not appropriate to serve as the basis for second instance’s arguments and the trial level system be maintained. In such situation,a second instance may reverse the judgement of a first instance and remand the case..
According to the facts underlying this Decision, the Appellee requested in the first instance trial that the Appellant shall demolish, remove and shave the grave or facility at issue, restore the occupied land into its original state for return, and pay the unjust enrichment equivalent to the rents for the occupied period. However, the first instance court rejected the Appellee’s complaint on the ground that it was not an appropriate party to file the complaint since the Appellant did not have any disposal right over the grave or facility at issue. The second instance court held that the litigation procedure was obviously materially flawed for the failure of the first instance court to perform its elucidation obligation. However, the Appellee also disagreed that the second instance court could render a substantive adjudication on its own by electing to render a decision to reverse and remand the first instance decision without oral argument in order to maintain the trial level benefits of the parties. Dissatisfied, the Appellant filed this appeal.
According to this Decision, in case of any material defect in the first instance litigation procedure, the second instance court can reverse and remand the original decision. However, the so-called “material defect” in the first instance litigation procedure shall mean that there is a causal relationship between the violation of the litigation procedure and the contents of a court decision or that since the litigation procedure violates relevant requirements, it is not appropriate to serve as the basis for second instance’s arguments and a second instance remand decision under Article 451, Paragraph 1 of the Code of Civil Procedure requires that the trial level system be maintained.
It was further pointed out that the Appellee had been instructed by the first instance court in this matter to supplement a statement without any specific response from the Appellee. Therefore, it would seem that the progressions of the Appellee’s first instance trial as well as the Appellee’s benefits in the trial level were not undermined. The second instance court, which is also a trial court, should certainly handle this matter pursuant to the appeal procedure and shall investigate evidence and conduct oral arguments before rendering a decision on its own, except when the appeal is illegal. There was no need to reverse this matter to the first instance court. The second instance court failed to realize this and reversed and remanded the first instance decision to the first instance court without going through oral argument. This is certainly legally inappropriate. Therefore, the Supreme Court reversed and remanded the original decision to the second instance court.