The Supreme Court rendered the 106-Tai-Jian-Shang-8 Civil Decision of March 22, 2017 (hereinafter, the “Decision”), holding that for a family law litigation matter to which the summary proceedings apply, if the claims are amended, added or if counter-claims are made during the second instance trial, this is not limited to the same type of litigation proceedings under Article 41 of the Family Law.
According to the facts underlying this Decision, Individual A asserted as follows. Her spouse had been deceased with the property at issue jointly inherited by Individual A and Individual B, the mother of Individual A’s spouse. Since the property at issue could not be divided by agreement, a complaint was filed to seek a judgment on such division. Individual B contented that both parties had agreed that Individual A would receive labor insurance benefits and cash, while the property at issue would belong to Individual B, and that no adjudication on the division should be sought. Since Individual A changed her mind and refused to perform the estate division agreement, a decision was sought to compel Individual A to register the transfer of the property at issue to Individual B pursuant to the estate division agreement. The second instance court rendered a decision in favor of Individual B. Individual A appealed on the ground that Individual B’s counterclaim procedure during the second instance trial was not lawful.
According to the Decision, family law litigation involves specially designed provisions to maintain peace and tranquility of families, avoid repetitive litigation by parties as a result of their family disputes, meet the principle of procedural economy, and avoid contradictions between different rulings. Therefore, Article 41 of the Family Law provides that for a family law litigation matter to which the summary proceedings apply, if the claims are amended, added or if counterclaims are made during the second instance trial, this is not subject to the restrictions under the proviso of Article 248 of the Code of Civil Procedure and is not limited to the same type of litigation proceedings.
It was further pointed out that although Individual A asserted in her appeal that Individual B’s appeal against the first instance summary judgment in this matter and her counterclaims during the second instance trial should be governed by the ordinary litigation proceedings, still the Family Law specifically provides that the counterclaims shall be allowed and did not violate the law. Hence, Individual A’s appeal was dismissed.