The revocation of a lawsuit is not regulated in the HIR or RBG. However, a reliable legal guideline is needed so that the rights and interests of the parties, especially the defendant’s interests, are not violated. Therefore, the legal basis guidelines that are considered valid for the revocation of a lawsuit are:
1) Article 271 and Article 272 Rv based on the principle of Process Doelmatigheid
Although Rv is no longer applicable, in certain cases it still becomes guidance in accordance with the principle of the process of doelmatigheid (the interests of the proceeding) or the order of proceeding, if not regulated in the HIR and RBG.
The use of Articles 271 and 272 Rv as guidelines is also stated in Book II of the Guidelines for the Implementation of Judicial Tasks and Administration. In the book, the Supreme Court implicitly invites the court to use Articles 271 and 272 Rv as a reference for solving the revocation of a lawsuit.
The following is an excerpt from Article 271 Rv and Article 272 Rv:
Article 271 Rv
“The plaintiff can withdraw the lawsuit (revoke the case) as long as it is done before an answer is given. After there is an answer, the revocation of lawsuit can only occur with the approval of the opposing party.”
Article 272 Rv
“The revocation of a lawsuit can be carried out in a court hearing if all parties are present in person or their attorneys have a power of attorney for that, or with the same power of attorney notified by a simple deed by the attorney of one party to the attorney of the opposing party.”
The revocation of a lawsuit can be accepted in the same manner. Revocation of a lawsuit brings legal consequences to:
- All parties are returned to the situation before the lawsuit was filed,
- The party who revokes the lawsuit is obliged to pay the court fee which must be based on the chairman’s order letter written according to the estimated cost. This order letter can be carried out immediately”.
2) Court Precedents
Even though Indonesia does not adopt a precedent system, judges can also use precedents as a guide and reference.
The revocation of a lawsuit can be done when the defendant has not submitted an answer or after the answer has been submitted. Below we will discuss the differences between the two.
1. Before the defendant submits the answer
The plaintiff’s purest and absolute right to revoke a lawsuit occurs when it is only at the stage of registration and distribution to the panel of judges, and the process has not continued at the summoning stage. However, based on Article 271 Rv and court practice, the extension of these rights can increase to a stage where the defendant has not submitted an answer. This is also confirmed by one of the Supreme Court decisions which states:
- As long as the examination of the case in the hearing has not yet taken place, the plaintiff has the right to revoke the lawsuit without the defendant’s approval,
- After the examination process takes place, the revocation can still be carried out, with the condition that the defendant must agree.
Below is the procedure for revoking a lawsuit before the defendant submits the answer:
1. Revocation is done by letter
- Addressed and submitted to the Head of District Court
- Contains confirmation of the revocation of a lawsuit. In principle, a revocation carried out orally is invalid and must be rejected. However, it can also be justified in the following conditions.
- Revocation is carried out in front of the Head of District Court or court clerk
- The deed of revocation was signed by the plaintiff and the Head of District Court or the court clerk
2. The Head of District Court completes Judicial Administration for Revocation
If a court summons has been delivered to the defendant, the judicial administrative actions that must be completed by the Head of District Court or the panel of judges are:
- Orders the bailiff to convey the notice of revocation to the defendant;
- Notice of revocation can be delivered on the specified hearing day;
- Orders the court clerk to delete the case from the register book.
2. After the defendant submits the answer
Article 271 Rv states that after there is an answer, the revocation of a lawsuit can only happen with the approval of the opposing party. If there is no time limit to revoke a lawsuit, the plaintiff may act arbitrarily to the defendant. Therefore, this provision is actually intended to protect the interests of the defendant.
Procedure for revoking a lawsuit after the defendant submits an answer:
1) Revocation is carried out at the hearing
The revocation is carried out at a hearing attended by the defendant
2) Request approval from the defendant
The process that must be taken by the panel of judges to complete it is as follows:
a) The panel of judges asks the defendant’s opinion
Asking the defendant’s opinion cannot be postponed and must be immediate at that time. But the defendant’s opinion does not have to be given at that time.
b) Defendant refuses the revocation
- The court or panel of judges must obey the refusal
- The panel of judges conveys a statement at the hearing to proceed with the examination in accordance with the applicable provisions.
- Order the court clerk to record the refusal in the minutes of the hearing, as authentic evidence of the refusal. Refusal of revocation does not need to be stated in the form of a stipulation or interlocutory decision.
c) The Defendant approves the revocation
- The panel of judges shall issue a decision or stipulation of revocation. The approval of the revocation granted by the defendant, besides being recorded in the minutes, is also stated in the form of a decision or stipulation. As a result, the settlement of the lawsuit (case) becomes:
- Final, in the sense that the dispute between the plaintiff and the defendant ends.
- The final nature of the settlement of the case is based on the agreement before the court hearing so that the revocation is a law for the parties based on Article 1338 of the Indonesian Civil Code.
- Orders the deletion of the case from the register on the grounds of revocation.
Revocation of a lawsuit has legal consequences stipulated in Article 272 Rv, namely:
a. Revocation ends the case
The revocation of a lawsuit is final as it ends the dispute. It does not matter whether the revocation is carried out against a lawsuit that has not yet been examined.
b. Closes all legal efforts for the parties
A decision to revoke a lawsuit is binding, similar to a decision that has permanent legal force. Therefore, the right of the parties to submit all forms of legal remedies is closed.
c. The parties return to their original state
By law, the parties return to their original state before the lawsuit was filed as if there had never been a dispute between them.
d. Court fees are charged to the plaintiff.
Hope this is useful.
FREDRIK J. PINAKUNARY LAW OFFICES