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Understanding Cassation in the Indonesian Legal System


In the quest for justice, decisions made by judges play a pivotal role. However, errors in decision making are not uncommon. To rectify such errors and uphold justice, the Indonesian judicial system allows for the re-examination of court rulings through legal remedies. One such remedy is cassation, which holds significance in ensuring the integrity of judicial decisions. In contrast to a retrial, where the evidence is reassessed, cassation focuses on scrutinizing the legal flaws in the High Court decision, ensuring that the scales of justice remain balanced. This article aims to provide a concise yet comprehensive understanding of cassation within the Indonesian legal framework.

What is Cassation?

At its core, cassation serves as a cornerstone of the legal system, offering litigants an opportunity to challenge decisions of the appellate court. Enshrined in Article 30 para. (1) of Law Number 5 of 004, cassation empowers the Supreme Court to review judgments in all judicial domains. Unlike trial proceedings, cassation does not involve a re-examination of the merits of the case but focuses on assessing whether the lower court’s decision adheres to legal principles and statutory requirements. Grounds of cassation include instances where the lower court exceeds its authority, misapplies the law, or fails to fulfill legal prerequisites.


Read more: Differences Between Criminal Law and Civil Law

Application of Cassation

Cassation is an ordinary legal remedy available in various court systems, including civil, criminal, state administrative, and religious courts. It allows parties dissatisfied with a high court’s decision to challenge it before the Supreme Court.

Cassation in Criminal Law

In the criminal justice system, either the defendant or the public prosecutor can file a cassation appeal if they disagree with the decisionissued by the High Court. The process is regulated in Chapter XVII of the Criminal Procedure Code, specifically Articles 244 to 258.

Here are the main steps in submitting a cassation:

  1. The applicant must file a cassation application to the clerk within 14 (fourteen) days after receiving notification of the court decision. The clerk then formalizes the application. Failure to meet the deadline renders the cassation application inadmissible, prompting the clerk to notify the district court chairman.
  2. Within 14 (fourteen) days of filing the cassation application, the applicant must submit the cassation memorandum and any supplementary memorandum. The clerk issues a receipt for these documents.
  3. If the applicant lacks legal understanding, the clerk must inquire about the reasons for filing the cassation application and document them.
  4. The clerk provides the opposing party with a copy of the cassation memorandum and issues a receipt.
  5. The respondent may submit a counter cassation memorandum, with the clerk providing a receipt. Non-submission or delayed submission of the cassation memorandum results in the case file not being sent to the Supreme Court. The head of the district court shall issue a certificate to the applicant of the cassation, and the Supreme Court.
  6. Certain criminal cases and pretrial decisions cannot be submitted for cassation
  7. A cassation application meeting formal requirements will be sent to the Supreme Court within 14 (fourteen) days after the expiry of the cassation memorandum filing period.
  8. If a cassation application is filed while the defendant is in detention, the district court must promptly report it to the Supreme Court.
  9. The applicantmay revoke the cassation application before the Supreme Court makes a decision. If the revocation is carried out by the defendant’s legal representative, it requires prior approval from the defendant.
  10. Upon revocation, the court clerk prepares a deed signed by the parties and the head of the district court, and then sends it to the Supreme Court.
  11. For application by defendants in detention, the clerk attaches the detention order to the case file.
  12. After the Supreme Court decides on the case, a copy of the judgment is sent to the district court for notification to the defendant and the public prosecutor.
  13. All activities related to the cassation case and judgment execution must be meticulously recorded by the the clerk.


Read More: Civil Law in Indonesia

Cassation in Civil Law

Pursuant to Law Number 5 of 2004 concerning Amendments to Law Number 14 of 1985 concerning the Supreme Court (“Law 5/2004”), Cassation in civil law is limited only on 3 (three) permissible grounds:

  1. Lack of Jurisdiction: The court that issues the decision lacks the authority to hear the case.
  2. Misapplication of Law: The court makes an error in applying, or violates, the relevant laws.
  3. Procedural Violations: The court fails to adhere to all mandatory legal procedures, potentially invalidating the decision.

The process for filing a civil cassation l is regulated in Articles 46-48 of Law 5//2004. The following is the simplified overview:

  1. Filing: The entitled party submits a written or oral request to the clerk and pays the cassation fee.
  2. Registration: The court registers the request and creates a record attached to the case file.
  3. Notification: The court notifies the opposing party within 7 (seven) days.
  4. Memorandum: The applicant submits a cassation memorandum stating specific reasons for the cassation, within 14 (fourteen) days of filing.
  5. Response: The defendant receives a copy of the memorandum and may submit a counter-memorandum within 14 (fourteen) days.
  6. Transmission: The clerk sends all case files to the Supreme Court within 30 (thirty) days of receiving the memorandum.

n conclusion, cassation serves as a vital mechanism within the Indonesian legal system, allowing for the review of court decisions to ensure adherence to legal principles and statutory requirements. By providing litigants with the opportunity to challenge appellate court rulings, cassation plays a crucial role in upholding justice and maintaining the integrity of judicial decisions. To learn more about cassation and its implications, or to seek legal advice, feel free to contact us at ADCO Law.


About ADCO Law:

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Disclaimer: This article has been prepared for scientific reading and marketing purposes only from ADCO Law. Accordingly, all the writings contained herein do not constitute the formal legal opinion of ADCO Law. Therefore, ADCO Law should be held harmless of and/or cannot be held responsible for anything performed by entities who use this writing outside the purposes of ADCO Law.