Arbitration procedures and practice in Vietnam: overview

This article is our publication from Global Guide 2014/15 – ARBITRATION by Practice Law (A Thomson  Reuters Legal Solution). This section is written by Dr. Le Net –  Partner of LNT & Partners

A Q&A guide to arbitration law and practice in Vietnam

The country-specific Q&A guide provides a structured overview of the key practical issues concerning arbitration in this jurisdiction, including any mandatory provisions and default rules applicable under local law, confidentiality, local courts’ willingness to assist arbitration, enforcement of awards and the available remedies, both final and interim.


Use of arbitration and recent trends

1. How is commercial arbitration used in your jurisdiction and what are the recent trends?

In recent years arbitration in Vietnam has gained momentum and is becoming an increasingly attractive method of resolving domestic and international disputes. Parties tend to prefer the private nature of the proceedings and the ability to decide on important issues, including the arbitrators, choice of law, venue and language. Relevant statistics for 2013 revealed that 4% of all disputes In Vietnam were resolved by arbitration.

An overwhelming majority of the cases involve the sale of goods (60%), relying on data from the largest and most commonly used local arbitration administrator in Vietnam, the Vietnam International Arbitration Centre (VIAC). However, a growing number of claims relate to other economic sectors such as banking and finance, construction, distribution, investments, outsourcing and services.

Recent trends

Foreign companies have used arbitration for quite some time, but recent statistics show that local companies are increasingly relying on arbitration as the preferred choice for dispute resolution. A leading indicator is the 55% increase year-on-year in cases settled by VIAC in 2013. The VIAC handled 99 cases in 2013 and 124 cases in 2014 (an increase of 25%). The majority of cases are settled in Ho Chi Minh City. Domestic arbitrations count for 58.9% while international arbitrations count for 41.1%. On average, an arbitration lasts for 167 days, with the shortest case taking 81 days and the longest case extending 251 days. Out of 124 cases, the following statistics demonstrate that the VIAC arbitration is now becoming increasingly recognised internationally:

  • Cases that apply applicable foreign laws: four.

  • Cases that apply foreign languages: 25.

  • Cases where arbitrators send dissenting or separate opinions: five.

  • Cases that have the involvement of lawyers: 66 out of 124.

  • Cases that request for courts to apply interim measures: 14.

  • Cases that request for the tribunal to apply interim measures: two.

Arbitration clauses are now becoming a necessity in virtually all contracts.

Another positive trend is the increased involvement of local Vietnamese attorneys acting as arbitrators. The valuable experience local attorneys gain from representing clients in arbitral disputes have translated into a larger pool of qualified local attorneys who can credibly act as arbitrators in both complex cross-border and domestic arbitration proceedings. This will help bolster and continue to elevate arbitration as the preferred dispute resolution mechanism in Vietnam.


There are many advantages to using arbitration over court litigation. In addition to the near universal advantages experienced in other jurisdictions (for example, final resolution on the merits, privacy, quicker resolution, and ability to select the language and venue).

One key advantage arbitration offers is the ability for parties to preselect the lex causae (that is, the law governing the merits of the dispute). This is unless the underlying dispute is wholly a domestic affair. In contrast, litigants in Vietnamese courts must exclusively rely on Vietnamese law. Testimony on foreign law in Vietnamese court proceedings is currently not allowed. The ability to choose the substantive law allows the parties to better manage their risks, selecting and applying laws that cover potential issues specific to their commercial relationship.

Another key advantage is the ability to select qualified and impartial arbitrators. Vietnam’s corruption rankings are among the worst in the world and judicial bribery remains a major concern.

Finally, because Vietnam is a signatory to the New York Convention, arbitral awards are recognised and enforceable in more countries, including Vietnam, compared to court judgments, which are recognised on a reciprocal basis making the enforcement of foreign judgments more difficult.

While arbitration offers many benefits, the enforcement of arbitral awards in Vietnam remains challenging. The grounds for setting aside awards can be interpreted broadly when compared to the arbitration enforcement laws and practices of other countries.

Use of commercial arbitration

Legislative framework

Applicable legislation

2. What legislation applies to arbitration? To what extent has your jurisdiction adopted the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration 1985 (UNCITRAL Model Law)?

The Law on Commercial Arbitration No. 54/2010/QH12 dated 17 June 2010 (LCA) governs arbitrations conducted in Vietnam. Resolution No. 01/2014/NQ-HDTP (Resolution No.01), issued by the Supreme Court of Vietnam, provides further guidance on the implementation of certain provisions of the LCA.

The LCA refers significantly to the UNCITRAL Model Law and incorporates many important legal concepts, including a:

  • Tribunal’s ability to summon witnesses.

  • Party’s right to request, and a tribunal’s corresponding ability to grant, interim relief.

The Law on Enforcement of Civil Judgments (LECJ) controls the enforcement of arbitral awards and the Civil Procedure Code 2004 (CPC) governs the recognition and enforcement of foreign awards in Vietnam.

Mandatory legislative provisions

3. Are there any mandatory legislative provisions? What is their effect?

Most provisions in the Law on Commercial Arbitration No. 54/2010/QH12 dated 17 June 2010 (LCA) are not mandatory. The LCA allows the parties to freely decide many critical issues that govern the arbitral proceedings. However, there are some mandatory legislative requirements, including:

  • The arbitral award is final and binding.

  • The arbitration agreements must be in writing.

  • The subject matter of the arbitration must involve at least one party engaged in commercial activity (commercial is defined as a profit-making activity, for example, the sale of goods, services, investments and trade promotion) and cannot belong in the exclusive jurisdiction of court litigation.

  • Vietnamese laws apply when the underlying dispute does not involve any foreign element.

  • The arbitral tribunal must, as a threshold, decide its jurisdiction by determining the validity and subject matter of an arbitration agreement.

  • Arbitrators must be independent, objective, impartial and observe the law.

The cumulative effect of the mandatory provisions is a strong legal system generally in favour of arbitration. This reduces the “bottleneck” effect caused by threshold issues that typically plague other jurisdictions, that is, the validity and scope of arbitration provisions.


4. Does the law of limitation apply to arbitration proceedings?

The statute of limitations to institute arbitration proceedings is typically two years from the date that a claimant has the right to take legal action. This is with the following two exceptions:

  • The statute of limitations for insurance contracts is three years from when the dispute arises (Article 30, Law on Insurance Business 2000).

  • The statute of limitations for damages with respect to cargo is one year from the date on which the cargo is delivered or should have been delivered to the consignee (Article 97, Vietnam Maritime Code).

The statute of limitations to enforce a foreign arbitral award is one year from the date the award becomes final.

Arbitration organisations

5. Which arbitration organisations are commonly used to resolve large commercial disputes in your jurisdiction?

The Vietnam International Arbitration Centre (VIAC) is the largest arbitration organisation in Vietnam. However, there are a number of arbitration centres, including:

  • The Asean International Commercial Arbitration Centre (ACIAC).

  • The Financial and Commercial Centre for Arbitration (FCCA).

  • The Pacific International Arbitration Centre (PIAC).

See box, Main arbitration organisations.

Arbitration agreements

Validity requirements

6. What are the requirements for an arbitration agreement to be enforceable?

Substantive/formal requirements

The Law on Commercial Arbitration No. 54/2010/QH12 dated 17 June 2010 (LCA) only requires that an arbitration agreement be in writing and contain language that establishes the mutual consent of the parties to resolve their dispute by arbitration. The written requirement can be satisfied in different ways and can take various forms, including the following:

  • An agreement made through communications between the parties via telegram, fax, telex, email or other forms prescribed by law.

  • An agreement made through the exchange of written information between the parties.

  • An agreement recorded in writing by a lawyer, notary public, or competent institution at the request of the parties.

  • A document such as a contract, company charter or other similar document, which contains an arbitration agreement, and referenced by the parties during the course of their transaction.

  • An agreement made through an exchange of statements of claims and defences that reflect the existence of an agreement proposed by a party and not denied by the other party.

Separate arbitration agreement

An arbitration agreement can be made in the form of an arbitration clause contained in a contract or in the form of a separate agreement.

Unilateral or optional clauses

7. Are unilateral or optional clauses, where one party has the right to choose arbitration, enforceable?

The Law on Commercial Arbitration No. 54/2010/QH12 dated 17 June 2010 (LCA) does not address unilateral or optional clauses. However, in theory if one party confers another party the right to arbitrate this may be sufficient to establish an agreement to arbitration.

In the context of consumer services and goods, arbitration cannot be unilaterally imposed through the provider’s general terms and conditions. Consumers can elect to litigate in court or arbitrate the dispute.


8. Does the applicable law recognise the separability of arbitration agreements?

An arbitration agreement is entirely independent of the contract where it is contained. Any modification, extension, cancellation, invalidation or non-performance of the underlying contract will not invalidate the arbitration agreement.

Breach of an arbitration agreement

9. What remedies are available where a party starts court proceedings in breach of an arbitration agreement or initiates arbitration in breach of a valid jurisdiction clause?

Court proceedings in breach of an arbitration agreement

A court will refuse to accept a case involving a dispute that is subject to a valid arbitration agreement. A party’s participation in a court proceeding does not act as a waiver of the party’s right to arbitrate the matter.

Arbitration in breach of a valid jurisdiction clause

If the parties did not agree to arbitrate, but instead agreed to resolve all disputes in court under a valid jurisdiction clause, the arbitration cannot proceed. If the scope of the jurisdiction clause is limited to certain matters, the parties can theoretically either waive the jurisdiction clause or agree to arbitrate matters not within the scope of the jurisdiction clause.

10. Will the local courts grant an injunction to restrain proceedings started overseas in breach of an arbitration agreement?

There are no regulations that specifically allow a local court to grant an injunction restraining judicial proceedings initiated overseas in breach of a valid arbitration agreement. The Law on Commercial Arbitration No. 54/2010/QH12 dated 17 June 2010 (LCA) simply directs a court to refuse to accept cases that are subject to arbitration and allows a court to decide whether a matter is subject to arbitration.

However, the LCA does allow a tribunal the power to prohibit or force a party from taking any action that may adversely affect the arbitral proceedings.

Joinder of third parties

11. In what circumstances can a third party be joined to an arbitration or otherwise be bound by an arbitration award?

The Law on Commercial Arbitration No. 54/2010/QH12 dated 17 June 2010 (LCA) does not contain any provision allowing the involuntary joinder of non-signatory third parties to an arbitration proceeding. However, a third party (with the consent of all parties) may theoretically voluntarily join the arbitration as a co-applicant or co-respondent.

A third party may nevertheless be bound by an arbitral award if the party is a party to another contract whose validity or enforceability is dependent on the contract that is subject to arbitration. For example, an award from a loan agreement containing a valid arbitration agreement can affect the guarantor of the loan. Similarly, an agent can theoretically bind the non-signatory principal.


Number and qualifications/characteristics

12. Are there any legal requirements relating to the number and qualifications/characteristics of arbitrators?

An arbitral tribunal can be composed of one or more arbitrators as agreed by the parties.

Under the Law on Commercial Arbitration No. 54/2010/QH12 dated 17 June 2010 (LCA) a person who satisfies all the following criteria can act as an arbitrator:

  • Has the legal capacity to act under the Civil Code.

  • Possess a university degree and at least five years’ of work experience in the discipline studied.

  • In special cases, an expert who has highly specialised skills or qualifications can also be selected as arbitrator even if he does not have the requisite education and work experience.

The following cannot act as arbitrators:

  • Incumbent judges, procurators, investigators, enforcement officers or civil servants of the people’s courts, people’s procuracy, investigative agencies or judgment enforcement agencies.

  • Persons serving criminal sentences or whose criminal records have not yet been cleared even though they have served their sentences.


13. Are there any requirements relating to arbitrators’ independence and/or impartiality?

An arbitrator must be independent and impartial, with the ability to quickly and promptly settle disputes.


14. Does the law contain default provisions relating to the appointment and/or removal of arbitrators?

Appointment of arbitrators

Under Article 40 of the Law on Commercial Arbitration No. 54/2010/QH12 dated 17 June 2010 (LCA) the parties are free to agree on the procedure for the appointment of the arbitrator(s). In cases where the parties agree that their dispute will be settled by a sole arbitrator, the claimant must state the name and address of the person whom the claimant selects as arbitrator. Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, within 30 days after receiving the claimant’s statement of claims, the parties must agree on the selection of a sole arbitrator or request the Arbitration Centre to appoint a sole arbitrator, within 30 days after receiving the claimant’s statement of claims (unless otherwise agreed by the parties). A competent court can, at the request of any party, designate a sole arbitrator.

Removal of arbitrators

An arbitrator is disqualified and can be removed in the following circumstances (Article 42.1, LCA):

  • The arbitrator is a relative or representative of one party.

  • The arbitrator has an interest related to the dispute.

  • There are clear grounds to conclude that the arbitrator is not impartial or objective.

  • The arbitrator was a conciliator, representative, or lawyer of one party before the dispute was brought to arbitration for settlement (unless the parties consented in writing to waive such a potential conflict).


Commencement of arbitral proceedings

15. Does the law provide default rules governing the commencement of arbitral proceedings?

There are no laws that provide default rules governing the commencement of arbitral proceedings. When a dispute is settled by an arbitration centre, the time of commencement of arbitral proceedings is the time the arbitration centre receives the claimant’s statement of claims (unless otherwise agreed to by the parties)

In contrast, when a dispute is settled by ad hoc arbitration, the time of commencement of arbitral proceedings is the time the defendant receives the claimant’s statement of claims (unless otherwise agreed to by the parties).

Applicable rules

16. What procedural rules are arbitrators likely to follow? Can the parties determine the procedural rules that apply? Does the law provide any default rules governing procedure?

Applicable procedural rules

The parties are free to decide the applicable procedural rules. Arbitrators must respect the agreement of the parties if the procedural rules do not contravene any legal prohibitions or social ethics. If the parties do not specify procedural rules for the arbitrators to follow, arbitrators are likely to resort to the rules of the arbitration centre administering the arbitration.

Default rules

If the parties cannot agree on the governing procedure, the tribunal will decide the procedures, subject to the rules of the arbitration centre administering the case.

Arbitrator’s powers

17. What procedural powers does the arbitrator have under the applicable law? If there is no express agreement, can the arbitrator order disclosure of documents and attendance of witnesses (factual or expert)?

Under Article 49 of the Law on Commercial Arbitration No. 54/2010/QH12 dated 17 June 2010 (LCA) a tribunal has the right to apply interim injunctive relief based on a party’s request. The Civil Judgment Enforcement Authority will assist in carrying out the orders of a tribunal.

In addition, under Article 46 and Article 47 of the LCA, an arbitrator has the right to request that other organisations or individuals provide evidence or witness statements. However, in the case of non-cooperation, the tribunal can only request assistance from a competent court.


18. What documents must the parties disclose to the other parties and/or the arbitrator? How, in practice, does the scope of disclosure compare with disclosure in litigation? Can the parties determine the rules on disclosure?

Scope of disclosure

Parties have the obligation to provide documents in support of their claims and establish facts relevant to the issues under dispute (Article 46, Law on Commercial Arbitration No. 54/2010/QH12 dated 17 June 2010 (LCA)). However, there are no specific laws obliging the parties to provide any documents. In the event a party does not disclose supporting documents, there is no administrative or criminal sanction, but the party’s arguments can be severely undermined and not accepted by the tribunal.

There is no difference between disclosure in arbitration and litigation. Vietnam does not have any laws permitting party discovery. A tribunal can request the parties to provide evidence, but parties must make any request for evidence through a court or tribunal. There is no guarantee that a court or tribunal will accept a request. If a party refuses to provide evidence, there is nothing a tribunal can do. A party can seek court intervention, but the outcome is not predictable.

Parties’ choice

There are no provisions under the LCA that allow or disallow the parties to agree to what documents or information will be disclosed by either side.


19. Is arbitration confidential?

Arbitration proceedings are confidential under the Article 4 and 21 of the Law on Commercial Arbitration No. 54/2010/QH12 dated 17 June 2010 (LCA).

Courts and arbitration

20. Will the local courts intervene to assist arbitration proceedings?

Any competent court in Vietnam can intervene, at a party’s request, to assist arbitration proceedings. A competent court has the powers to order any of the following:

  • Appoint an arbitrator in an ad-hoc arbitration.

  • Replace an arbitrator in an ad-hoc arbitration.

  • Decide the validity and scope of arbitration agreements.

  • Assist in the collection of evidence.

  • Apply interim injunctive relief.

  • Summon witnesses.

21. What is the risk of a local court intervening to frustrate the arbitration? Can a party delay proceedings by frequent court applications?

Risk of court intervention

A party can frustrate or delay the arbitration proceedings with frequent court applications. However, any request for court intervention must comply with relevant laws. For example, a party can dispute the validity and scope of an arbitration agreement. If the party fails, the party can later challenge the appointment of an arbitrator, the mode of collecting evidence or later request an arbitral award be cancelled on applicable grounds. If there is a legal basis for the request, a party cannot be prevented from seeking judicial intervention.

Delaying proceedings

The Law on Commercial Arbitration No. 54/2010/QH12 dated 17 June 2010 (LCA) prohibits the parties from delaying the proceedings (that is, providing claims and defences, disclosing supporting documents and witnesses in an untimely manner). In the event a party seeks judicial intervention, the arbitral proceedings will continue until and unless a court issues a decision that requires the arbitration to cease temporarily or permanently.

22. What remedies are available where one party denies that the tribunal has jurisdiction to determine the dispute(s)? Does your jurisdiction recognise the concept of kompetenz-kompetenz? Does the tribunal or the local court determine issues of jurisdiction?

A party can raise the lack of jurisdiction argument with the tribunal or a competent court under the Law on Commercial Arbitration No. 54/2010/QH12 dated 17 June 2010 (LCA). Vietnam laws recognise the concept of competence-competence, even requiring the tribunal to first decide its jurisdiction. This power is not exclusive and can be reviewed by a competent court, whose decision is final and binding on the parties and the tribunal.

The arbitral proceedings continue until the court decides that there is no valid arbitration agreement or limits the subject matter subject to arbitration.


23. What interim remedies are available from the tribunal?


The tribunal can award security, resorting to the rules of the administering body (if applicable) (Article 34, Law on Commercial Arbitration No. 54/2010/QH12 dated 17 June 2010 (LCA)).

Other interim measures

The tribunal can order the following interim measures or interim injunctive relief (Article 49, LCA):

  • Prohibit any change in the status of assets under dispute.

  • Prohibit or force a party to take action that would prevent the proceedings from being adversely affected.

  • Seize assets under dispute.

  • Order the preservation, storage, sale or disposal of any asset under dispute.

  • Request temporary monetary payment between the parties.

  • Prohibit the transfer of assets under dispute.

24. What final remedies are available from the tribunal?

The tribunal has broad powers to award appropriate remedies, such as damages, injunctions, declarations, costs and interest. However, the remedies must have been specifically requested by a party and not be contrary to the fundamental principles of Vietnamese law. Remedies that are immoral, illegal or manifestly unreasonable, including excessive punitive or exemplary damages, may be deemed to contravene fundamental principles of Vietnamese law.


25. Can arbitration proceedings and awards be appealed or challenged in the local courts? What are the grounds and procedure? Can the parties effectively exclude any rights of appeal?

Rights of appeal/challenge

The parties in an arbitration proceeding have the right to challenge and cancel an unfavourable award by lodging a petition with a local competent court (setting aside the award). An award cannot be appealed, that is, the merits of the underlying dispute cannot be re-adjudicated.

Grounds and procedure

A party must lodge a request to cancel an adverse award with a competent court within 30 days of receipt of the award. The merits of the dispute cannot be re-litigated. The aggrieved party can only request the court to review and cancel the award on the following grounds:

  • Whether there exists a valid arbitration agreement.

  • Whether the subject matter decided by arbitration falls within the jurisdiction of the arbitral tribunal.

  • Whether the arbitral tribunal was properly convened and whether the arbitration proceedings followed applicable procedures.

  • Whether the evidence was properly submitted.

  • Whether the arbitral tribunal was objective and impartial.

  • Whether the award contravenes fundamental principles of Vietnam law.

Recently there is an alarming trend of awards being set aside. Some of the awards are set aside on the grounds that there was no arbitration agreement, or that pre-arbitration negotiations were not exhausted. Some awards are set aside because it is contrary to the fundamental principles of Vietnam law, such as the principle of pacta sunt servanda (or the principle of objectivity).

This trend is a growing concern because court decisions setting aside arbitral awards are not usually subject to revision or appeal. There is a possibility that the Law on Commercial Arbitration No. 54/2010/QH12 dated 17 June 2010 (LCA) may be amended to address this shortcoming and allow court decisions to be appealed and/or revised.

Excluding rights of appeal

There is no right to appeal arbitral awards. However, the grounds to set aside an award can be considered waived if not properly reserved. Under Article 13 of the LCA, one party waives its rights to protest violations of the LCA, if during the arbitration proceedings the perceived violations were not properly raised. However, this Article does not apply if the award contravenes fundamental principles of Vietnamese law.

26. What legal fee structures can be used? Are fees fixed by law?

There are no prohibitions on the type of fee structures that can be charged by lawyers representing parties in arbitration proceedings.

27. Does the unsuccessful party have to pay the successful party’s costs? How does the tribunal usually calculate any costs award and what factors does it consider?

Cost allocation

The unsuccessful party must pay the arbitration costs (not lawyer fees) unless otherwise agreed to by the parties or ordered by the tribunal (Article 34, Law on Commercial Arbitration No. 54/2010/QH12 dated 17 June 2010 (LCA)).

Cost calculation

The LCA defines arbitration costs as the:

  • Remuneration paid to the arbitrators.

  • Travel and other expenses incurred by the arbitrators.

  • Consultation of expert witnesses or other assistance requested by the arbitrators.

  • Cost of administering the arbitration and other services provided by the arbitration centre.

The costs usually correspond with the amount of dispute, and not with the time spent by the arbitrators.

Factors considered

The LCA allows the tribunal to allocate the costs between the parties, but in general the losing party bears the costs.

Enforcement of an award

Domestic awards

28. To what extent is an arbitration award made in your jurisdiction enforceable in the local courts?

A domestic arbitration award is fully enforceable, unless there are grounds for cancellation. The award creditor can request the provincial civil judgment enforcement authority where the award was issued to execute the award. In the case of an ad hoc arbitration award, the award creditor must first register the award with a competent court before requesting the civil judgment enforcement authority to carry out the award.

29. Is your jurisdiction party to international treaties relating to recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitration awards, such as the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards 1958 (New York Convention)?

Vietnam has been a member of the New York Convention since 1995. Vietnam made four reservations at the time of agreement:

  • The New York Convention applies to contracting states.

  • The New York Convention applies to non-contracting states on the basis of reciprocity.

  • The New York Convention will be applied only to commercial disputes as determined under the laws of Vietnam.

  • The interpretation of the New York Convention before Vietnamese courts or competent authorities must be in accordance with the Constitution and the law of Vietnam.

30. To what extent is a foreign arbitration award enforceable in your jurisdiction?

To enforce a foreign award in Vietnam (including from the UK and the US) a party must first file a petition with the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) in the country’s capital, Hanoi (along with the award and relevant documents). The MOJ reviews the documents for compliance with procedural requirements and then transfers the documents to a competent court. The competent court then notifies the award debtor and the public prosecutor before considering the petition.

The grounds for refusing recognition and enforcement are those set out in Article V of the New York Convention and Article 370 of Vietnam’s Civil Procedure Code.

Length of enforcement proceedings

31. How long do enforcement proceedings in the local court take, from the date of filing the application to the date when the court makes its final order? Is there an expedited procedure?

The award debtor has 30 days after compliance is required to satisfy the award. If the award is not satisfied, the award creditor can request a competent enforcement agency to enforce the award after it has become final.

In contrast, the procedure for the recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards is more time consuming. It can take one to two years from the date of submission to receive a final order. This is despite the approximate timeline of five months provided in the Civil Procedure Code 2004 (CPC) from the time the petition is first lodged with the Ministry of Justice until a final decision is rendered by the Supreme Court.


2. Are any changes to the law currently under consideration or being proposed?

Amendments to the Law on Commercial Arbitration No. 54/2010/QH12 dated 17 June 2010 (LCA) are currently under consideration to reduce the risk of awards being set aside. The discussions are very preliminary and no changes are expected in the coming year.

The Supreme Court has issued a Resolution and an Official Letter that clarify the grounds to set aside foreign arbitral awards. Resolution 01 was made effective on 01 July 2014. In addition to clarifying the grounds to cancel foreign arbitration awards, Resolution 01 reaffirms the jurisdiction of Vietnamese courts to issue interim injunctive relief. Official Letter No. 246/TANDTC-KT was sent to all provincial level courts in Vietnam, providing guidance on the application of the New York Convention with respect to foreign arbitral awards. Specifically, the Letter reminds the lower courts to apply the substantive laws and arbitration rules selected by the parties and not the Vietnamese Civil Procedure Code.


Main arbitration organisations

Vietnam International Arbitration Centre (VIAC)

Main activities. The VIAC is responsible for resolving commercial, construction and financial disputes

The Financial and Commercial Centre for Arbitration (FCCA)

Main activities. The FCCA is responsible for resolving financial, construction and investment disputes

The Asean International Commercial Arbitration Centre (ACIAC)

Main activities. The ACIAC resolves commercial disputes

The Pacific International Arbitration Centre (PIAC)

Main activities. The PIAC resolves commercial disputes


 Online resources

Office of National Assembly


Description: The website is provided by the Office of National Assembly. It provides Vietnamese versions of soft copies of the constitution, laws, ordinances, decrees, circulars and other sub-law documents.


Description: The website is unofficial, but the largest provider of English-language translation of Vietnamese laws.


Description. This is a legal blog run by LNT & Partners that has insight reviews and connects between the facts and the laws (including arbitration).


Description. This is a law blog run by Allens Linklaters, which provides a subscription database of Vietnam law in English.


Contributor profiles

Le Net, Partner, VIAC Arbitrator

LNT & Partners

T + 84 83 8212 357
F + 84 80 9103733

Professional qualifications. Vietnam, Attorney at Law.

Areas of practice. Infrastructure; financial services; dispute resolutions.

Non-professional qualifications. Lecturer, Ho Chi Minh City University of Law.

Recent transactions

  • Acting for the employer in a US$150 million ICC construction arbitration on the Saigon River Tunnel and East West Highway.
  • Advising the employer on the US$2.7 billion Metro Line No 2 Ho Chi Minh City
  • Advising the lenders in a US$345 million oil and gas project finance.

Languages. English, Vietnamese, Polish, French.

Professional associations/memberships. Vietnam International Arbitration Centre, Arbitrator. Drafting Committee, Principles of Asian Contract Law.


  • Vietnam Contract Law, International Encyclopaedia of Laws, Kluwer Law International, Boston (1ST Edition, 1999, 2ND Ed 2012, 3RD Ed 2014).
  • Vietnam Corporate and Partnership Law, International Encyclopaedia of Laws (co-author), Kluwer Law International, Boston (1ST Ed 2012, 2ND Ed 2014).
  • Vietnam Intellectual Property Law, International Encyclopaedia of Laws (co-author), Kluwer Law International, Boston (1ST Ed 2012, 2ND Ed 2014).

Please refer for PDF by clicking the link HERE or HERE.

By Vietnam Law Insight (LNT & Partners)

Disclaimer: This article is for information purposes only. Its contents do not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as detailed advice in individual cases. For more information, please contact the author Net Le at ( or visit the website: Http://

South Korea – Vietnam: Bilateral Free Trade Agreement

South Korea and Vietnam have recently engaged in developing their political and economic ties; the zenith of which was reached with the signing of a bilateral Free Trade Agreement  (“FTA”) between the two countries on May 5th, 2015 in Hanoi.  The FTA is expected to bring exponential surges in the bilateral trade between the two countries, in which the Vietnamese government has agreed to remove tariffs on 89.9% of products imported from South Korea over a period of 15 years. Likewise, South Korea is planning to revoke tariffs on 95.4% of all products imported from Vietnam. The two partners are currently ratifying the agreement before it is due to take effect late this year.

The both countries anticipate further growth in the volume of bilateral trade, which has reached a record high of US$30 billion in 2014. Additionally, with the agreement in place, Vietnam foresees substantial inward investment growth from South Korea which stood at approximately US$5.8 billion in November 2014.

By Vietnam Law Insight (LNT & Partners)

Disclaimer: This Briefing is for information purposes only. Its contents do not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as detailed advice in individual cases. For more information, please contact us or visit the website: Http://

New Law on Investment Effective on 1st July

The new Law on Investment (LOI) has become effective as of 1st July. The final draft Governmental Decree implementing the LOI, as well as the draft Circular implementing the Decree is now being prepared by the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) for issuance.

CV 4326 BKHDT-DTNN huong dan tam thoi 30-6-2015

Meanwhile the MPI has issued Official Letter 4326 /BKHĐT-ĐTNN (OL 4326) for ad hoc guidance to implement the new LOI, as well as the forms to be used from 1 July 2015 to obtain the Investment Registration Certificate (IRC) and its amendments; they key points are:

  1. Online application for IRC: investors can file IRC application online at the National Investment Portal [NIP], and submit a paper dossier within 15 days from the online filing. In the event that the dossier is accepted, the investors will be given a temporary account to check the application status. Any incorrect or incomplete application must be notified within 3 days from receipt by the licensing authority.
  2. Project Code: the project code is a 10 digit code to be issued to the applied project (Project) during its operation.
  3. Forms issued: among the forms submitted, please noted that CPC Code and VSIC Code (for business line) is still required when submitting to obtain the IRC. Separate forms are also available for amendments to the project.
  4. M&A approval: the form for M&A approval is on form I.6 attached to OL 4326. This form is simplified, and the explanation to satisfy conditions for M&A is rather brief and must strictly follow the WTO Commitment. It is unclear how other restrictions under local laws could be satisfied or would need to be satisfied (e.g. ENT for distribution companies).
  5. Forms of decisions and IRCs: OL 4326 also provides new forms of IRCs, Principle Approvals and other decisions for authorities to use.

While it is a progressive move forward, there are issues still to be clarified (as noted in our previous alert on OL 4211). Any questions are encouraged to be addressed to the Foreign Investment Agency (FIA) for guidance.

By Vietnam Law Insight (LNT & Partners)

For more information about this article, please contact the author: Dr. Le Net, LNT & Partners, at the email:

Disclaimer: This Briefing is for information purposes only. Its contents do not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as detailed advice in individual cases. For more information, please contact us or visit the website: Http://

Vietnam Opening the Doors for Portfolio Foreign Investment

Following the relaxation of the foreign investment procedure under the new Law on Investment (LOI) and the Law on Enterprise (LOE), the Government has now also relaxed the room for portfolio foreign investment as well as the equitization of state owned enterprise (SOEs).

Furthermore, the Decree provides for the equitization of state owned enterprises (SOEs), and this action is expected to attract more share acquisition in stock markets as well as private equity soon. Currently, a foreign investor may purchase up to 49% of total shares of public joint stock company (JSC) or a listed company.  From 1 September 2015, this general restriction will be removed under Decree 60/2015/NĐ-CP dated 26 June 2015 (Decree 60).

Click here to downloa Decree 60 – Open Doors for Portfolio Foreign Investment

Instead, the new restriction will be subject to the WTO commitments or other specific domestic law (e.g., the 30% cap in the banking sector). If there is a specific restriction under domestic law that has yet to be specified, then the rule of thumb is 49%.

When there is no restriction under domestic law (e.g., for production companies, or distribution companies), then there is no limit for the foreign shareholding ratio. This rule also applies to equitized SOEs, with the aim of attracting more foreign investment in the privatization program.

As for securities companies (or investment banking), those who are eligible to establish 100% foreign owned securities companies are allowed to buy up to 100% equity of local securities companies. Those who are not eligible can acquire up to 51% total shares.

Decree 60 also lifts all restrictions to foreign investors to invest in bonds. With respect to share certificates or derivative products of stocks of JSCs, the restriction will be relaxed as mentioned above. For this purpose, open funds or securities funds that have foreign shareholding more than 51% equity will be deemed as foreign investors.

In addition, Decree 60 addresses the following changes:

  1. Private placement of public companies
  2. Share swap of public companies
  3. Public offering of shares in public companies for swapping shares in non-public companies, or equity in limited liability companies
  4. Private placement filing at the State Securities Commission (SSC) for public companies
  5. Public offering process, use of escrow account for public offering proceeds
  6. Public offering of investment certificates or shares abroad
  7. Redeem shares
  8. Tender offers
  9. Sale of treasury shares
  10. Listing of merged or amalgamated companies
  11. Upcom transaction registration and listing
  12. Real estate capital valuation and contribution to real estate investment fund

While opening the door to, and creating more options for foreign portfolio investment, as along with the deregulation of various procedures at SSC are certainly attractive to foreign investors, it is unclear how other restrictions under different ministries, such as Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Industry and Trade may impact on the intention of the Government to open up the market.

Note that Art 74.3 LOI allows for the “non-compliant” restriction of business to be valid until 1 July 2016, suggesting there could be some more grounds of clarification and explanation to come.

By Vietnam Law Insight (LNT & Partners)

For more information about this article, please contact the author: Dr. Le Net, LNT & Partners, at the email:

Disclaimer: This Briefing is for information purposes only. Its contents do not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as detailed advice in individual cases. For more information, please contact us or visit the website: Http://

Regular Dialogues with Vietnamese Citizens

Vietnamese Prime Minister, Nguyen Tan Dung, has opined a simplification of administrative procedures and issued a new decree to allow ministers, heads of ministerial-level agencies and the chairmen of cities’ and provinces’ People’s Committee to hold regular dialogues with Vietnamese citizens. This dialogue is to take place every 6 months and through it, Vietnamese government and its citizens will be able to communicate on a regular basis. The dialogues will serve as a means to streamline and simplify the administrative procedures, which, in turn, will lead to easier entries into Vietnamese market for foreign invested enterprises.

Government to hold regular public discussions:

베트남 수상 Nguyen Tan Dung은 행정절차의 간소화를 주창하며 모든 정부부서의 장관, 시, 구의 People’s Committee회장이 정기적으로 베트남 시민들과 대화를 나눌 수 있도록 새로운 법령을 냈다. 이러한 대화는 6개월마다 정기적으로 열릴 예정이며 이를 통해 시민과 정부부처의 소통이 원활하게 이루어 질 것으로 기대된다. 이 대화를 통해 행정절차의 어려움을 해소하고 절차의 간소화를 이루어 낼 것으로 전망되어 이후 외투기업의 베트남진출이 보다 쉬워질 것으로 예상된다.

By Vietnam Law Insight.

Disclaimer: This Briefing is for information purposes only. Its contents do not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as detailed advice in individual cases. For more information, please contact us or visit the website: Http://

IPBA 2015: Recap of Day 1: “CEO/GC” and “About the Firms” Panels

by Dr Net Le, Partner, LNT Partners, Vietnam

Below is LNT Partners report from last week’s 2015 IPBA 25th Annual Conference in Hong Kong (May 5 – 10).

Day 1 – Summary of Plenary Sessions

Part 1: from CEO/General Counsel (GC)

  • IPBA vision for the future: increased role of lawyers in KYC banking & finance. Or the rise of rule of law in general.
  • While Justice Ma talked emphatically about Magna Carta and the Rule of Law, other CEOs don’t like over-regulation. Globalisation, labour protection, customer protection, anti trust, anti corruption.
  • dreamstime_l_27792085Right now US is dictating the way laws should be drafted or interpreted. Speakers excited to see how China might change this. For ASEAN countries who fall into this — it’s hard to find the right way to interpret the law.
  • Although global law firms play important role in serving clients, MNEs are starting to use more local law firms because local regulations and local market need local knowledge.
  • For the future, China will impose rule of law to the market and make the interpretation of the law more clear. So it is the future for ASEAN countries.
  • The special feature about China (or Vietnam) is that the law is policy driven and therefore should be predictable if we try to understand the policy and not just the Rule of law as an abstract concept with liberal interpretation.
  • China was praised for having “effective” government. Rule of law is the way in all countries but at the same time people become more reasonable with mediation and arbitration instead of court settlements .
  • As for China silk road, it is a counter action with US TPP. Not sure about this assessment but I think TPP is more transparent and free-trade driven. Another major China initiative is AIIB. This is a challenge to ADB.
  • The challenge now is to understand the client’s needs. Clients must understand their host governments and consumers. They need local knowledge.
  • Another trend is legal training for clients so the clients are responsive to the government action and build long term relationships.
  • In short: Not only lawyers need a business mindset but also business people need to have a legal mindset.

Part 2: From Firms

  • Reaction from law firms to CEO vision of the future:  Establish closer relationships with corporate counsel. Law firms should be more efficient as clients save cost as they build internal legal departments. Lawyers can learn from accounting firms to survive.
  • While trying to become efficient, law firms make their products less bespoke but more  a commodity. This must be offset by legal training and client care.
  • With Globalisation, big firms will get bigger but boutique firms can do well.  Each firm should have a strategy to either go global or go boutique. This thinking is not what I saw in previous sessions. I think even when clients go global their needs are local. Local firms are important for tax, employment and litigation — at least .
  • Speakers said every firm, whether global or local, would need to be proactive . They need to have customer and legal insight rather than just being global or big.
  • Technology will restructure the legal market, including legal fees. Clients expect fix fees/capped fees in most transactions, except disputes.
  • Market will become more fragmented . Law firms must be more technology-efficient. Clients want cost control.
  • At the same time, the challenge for global firms is that partners and associates demand more and more each year. That might urge them to employ less and cooperate with local firms to save cost and pick the best lawyers.
  • More big firms are using the salary partner model to grow. The role of MP will become more important than consensus. So vision, strategy and delegation are watch words.
  • Client GC wants: “Make me look good”.  It all comes down to communication.

For more information:  Dr. Net Le’s Profile and LNT & Partners website is located at:

This was also published by Asia Law Portal

A New Law Blog Has Been Launched in Vietnam

A new law blog called Vietnam Law Insight has been launched this month by LNT & Partners, a Vietnam-based law firm with offices in Ho Chi Minh City, Ha Noi, Hong Kong and San Francisco.

As the firms’ LinkedIn page outlines, “the firm is among Vietnam’s most prominent, representing a wide range of multinational and domestic clients, including Fortune Global 500 companies as well as well-known Vietnamese listed companies on a variety of business and investment matters.”

At a time when foreign direct investment in Vietnam is booming and law firm clients are increasingly turning to the internet for news and information, LNT & Partners’ launch of Vietnam Law Insight blog could not have been more timely.

A blog dedicated to “Law in Motion”

As Dr. Net Le, a partner in the firm told me about the new blog: “LNT & Partners are very happy to launch Vietnam Law Insight, a law blog that is dedicated to law in motion, with real case studies and practical views on Vietnam.  Not many countries can enjoy a strategic location, a young population and sizeable market like Vietnam does. But foreign investors often see a paradox that how Vietnam’s achievement is still far from its potential. They found that there are gaps between law in the book and law in action.  The blog is an attempt to fill these gaps. It needs your contribution, and it serves your business.”

A “Gateway to Vietnam’s Legal Environment”

Ms. DANG Phuong Trang,  Business Development Executive with the firm outlined that:  “Vietnam Law Insight blog is a gateway to Vietnam’s legal environment. This blog will give you comprehensive legal and business updates. We hope it will become a platform for lawyers, in-house counsels – and everyone – to discuss and share their knowledge on legal issues.”

By @JohnGrimley
Editor & Publisher of Asia Law Portal