柔性司法: 民族地區民事習慣司法適用研究 — 以白族聚居區劍川縣司法案例為樣本

Soft Justice - A Study on the Judicial Application of Civil Customary in Multi-National Area --- Taking the Judicial Cases of Bai People in Jianchuan County As the Example

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

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Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Lei CHEN (Supervisor)
Award date13 Jan 2021

Abstract

本文的基本出发点是习惯的影响仍然存在。在司法实践过程中,它们无处不在的影子就像社会生活面向法律的一个观照,影响着社会生活的走向,而司法在面对法律和习惯中表现出的衡平与调适,也以其特有的方式和价值调整着法律的走向。

为此,本文带着对司法实现社会正义的关怀,以民事习惯特别是少数民族地区的民事习惯为切入点,通过对习惯司法适用过程(包括调解与判决)的深入研究,分析影响法官适用习惯的因素以及改善因素可能带来的理论和实践的贡献,并藉此探讨建立和完善司法实现正义的路径和模式。

本文还设想通过细致的观察与描述,力图展示这样的图景:制定法与习惯的实践运用绝对不是简单的“二元对立”,而是法律、社会、场域、文化、法官的司法技艺多种因素综合运用的结果。而这样的结果,正是由其中最大的变量--法院、法官所决定的;法院、法官本身的司法活动也在这些综合因素的作用下更加“柔性化”——这不仅仅是中国法院、法官的司法特色,也是中国法律体系的特色,更是中国正义体系的特色。如果无视这个特色,仅仅依靠来源于西方充满形式主义的法律传统,或是仅仅依靠中国文化中东方理想主义的传统,都不能阐释正在发生的现实,并对未来的走向进行预估。这样的“柔性化”不是简单意义上对东方人文、和谐思想的承接,亦是在一定程度上融合现代法治理念、规则体系、程序意识语境下的理念、规则的建立。

在本文写作过程中,形成了以下观点:

一是从习惯的活性到司法的柔性。面对习惯的田野,司法的理性选择体现在个案中可能仍然是不同的面向。但从整体面目来说,司法之于习惯的态度和策略是以柔性的面目出现的。当然,“柔性司法”并不是以否认司法的理性为前提,柔性面向的背后依然体现着制定法的刚性和权威,这样的柔性面向与中国司法整体上偏重于纠纷解决的价值观是一致的。与其经由立法使习惯固化乃至消亡,不如让习惯活在民间,活在司法中,在个案中得到调整即可。当然这应以司法者更好地掌握适用习惯与制定法的边界和尺度为前提。

二是保持有限的“法治化”。用立法固定习惯,使习惯成为法律,这是法律发现和发展的必经之路。但如果对存活于社会生活中的事实习惯都这样做的话,那可能习惯也就此死亡,社会也因此失去了弹性。特别在一些民族地区,还有保持民族个性和特色的问题。因此,在地方立法中可更侧重明确具体习惯的内容、范围,在国家立法中可更侧重建立尊重习惯的原则,如此推进的民事习惯立法的“法治化”可能是比较妥贴的。

三是“制度意义”的期许。很多被忽视的民间习惯往往具有某种“制度意义”。也许,纠纷解决在当下的中国正是检验民事习惯“制度意义”最重要的试验场。而法官如果能在其中运用司法的智慧,在司法适用中达至一个既尊重民事习惯又符合规则之治的理想状态,或可对习惯的保持并走向现代化,对民族地区的自治和社会的稳定,都大有裨益。

本文得出的结论是:法院和法官可能是最容易注意到纯粹的诉讼逻辑乃至法律逻辑并不能全然解决社会纠纷,法律也有其局限性,司法可以适当“柔性”。法院更加务实地关注于纠纷的解决,而不是机械的法律适用,更加重视社会综合治理手段的价值,而不是任由诉讼逻辑肆意扩张,似乎更能衡定纠纷,同时激发其他社会治理资源的活力。

本文期待,以更加多元的视角,正视司法的柔性价值,或将有助于正义体系、正义标准的形成。多元化纠纷解决机制在更为广泛的范围被接受。多元的法院体系可能成为解决纠纷更为有效的途径,也更有利于达到审判的目的--实现正义。

同时,经由柔性的司法,能促进不同法律关系、不同利益主体的对话和交融,实现减少争端、促进经济社会发展的正义效应。这个观察点可能由习惯的田野发端,并经由司法的实践运作和理性发酵,逐渐走向制度建构的顶端。
Customs are still influential, as suggested by the base tone in this paper. Being ubiquitous in the course of judicial practice, they mirror the law in and affect the trend of the social life. Meanwhile, the trend of law is adjusted in a special way by the particular value of judicial in its balance and adaptation between the law and custom.

Therefore with the concern of realization of social justice in judicial, the factors that influence the judge’s habits to use customs and the theoretical and practical contribution brought by improvement of these factors are discussed. What's more, the path and mode for establishing and perfecting the justice are accordingly explored in this paper based on the analysis of civil customs especially those in the minority area, through in-depth study of the process of customary judicial application (including mediation and judgement).

Through careful observation and description, this paper tries to show that the using of making law and practical application of customs are not simply a "binary opposition," but the results of comprehensive influence of multiple factors including the law, society, field, culture and the judicial skills of the judge. These results are determined by the court and judge, the biggest variable therein, whose judicial activities turn to be “softer” under the action of the said comprehensive factors - this is not only the judicial characteristics of Chinese court and judge, but also the characteristics of Chinese legal system and especially the Chinese justice system. The emerging reality cannot be explained and the future trend cannot be predicted by only the formalistic legal system of western origin, nor only by the oriental idealistic tradition in Chinese culture while ignoring such characteristics. This "softness" is not simply to inheritance of the oriental humanism and harmonious thoughts, but also to incorporate the establishment of modern concept, system of rule of law in the context of procedural consciousness.

The following views are formed in the process of writing this paper:

(1) From customary activity to soft judicature. Facing the field of custom, the rational choice of judicature may still be different in individual cases. But from the overall perspective, soft judicature is adopted against customary attitude and tactics. "Soft judicature" is certainly not subject to rejection of the rationality of judicature. The rigidity and authority of legislation are still embodied by the soft orientation, which is consistent with the Chinese judicature’s value of overall emphasising on disputes settlement. The customs should live in the folk, live in the judicature and be adjusted in individual cases rather than solidify and even die out through legislation. Provided that, of course, the judiciary should better master the boundary and scale between applicable customs and law making.

(2) Maintaining a limited "rule of law." Consolidating the customs via legislation and making the customs a law is an inevitable path for the discovery and development of law.

Nevertheless, treatment of facts and customs in social life may lead to the death of customs and inelasticity of society. Especially in some ethnic areas, the national individuality and characteristics need to be preserved. Therefore, it’s more appropriate to promote the “rule by law” through defining the content and scope of specific customs in local legislation and establishing the principles of respecting the civil customs in national legislation.

(3) Expectation of "institutional significance." Many neglected folk customs generally have certain "institutional significance." Perhaps disputes resolution is now the most important test ground to verify the "institutional significance" of civil customs in China. If the judge can apply judicial wisdom therein to achieve an ideal judicial application where the civil customs are respected and the rules are observed is of great benefit to the preservation and modernization of customs, the autonomy in ethnic areas and the social stability.

The following conclusion is drawn for this paper: the court and judge may most easily notice that it’s impossible to settle the social disputes once and for all purely with the litigant logic and even legal logic, and the law also has limitations, and the judicature can be appropriately "soft." The disputes can be better assessed and the vitality of other social governance resources stimulated when the court pays more practical attention to the settlement of disputes rather than mechanical application of the law, and more stresses the value of comprehensive social administration rather than allows the litigation logic to expand recklessly.

It’s expected that the value of judicial softness can be seriously viewed at a more diversified perspective, which may facilitate the formation of the justice system and norm. Diversified mechanisms of dispute resolution are more widely accepted. Disputes can be more effectively solved and the goal of trial - upholding justice can be more concretely achieved through the formation of a diversified court system.

Meanwhile, soft judicature can promote the dialogue and integration among different legal relations and interest subjects, and realize the justice effect of eliminating disputes and promoting socioeconomic development. This observation point may start from the field of customs, and gradually ascends to the top of system construction through judicial practical application and rational fermentation.

    Research areas

  • Soft judicial, Civil Custom, Judicial application