Laos - Curriculum Development on Legal Education takes off in the Lao PDR
Lao People's Democratic Republic (PDR) is a sovereign country which adopted its first Constitution in 1991. Several constitutional amendments were introduced thereafter which fostered big improvements in the LAO PDR’s fledgling legal system, particularly in the rule of law, prominent of which is the crafting of the Legal Sector Master Plan (LSMP), the framework for developing effective institutions in the legal sector of the Lao PDR as a foundation for rule of law.
The new Constitution also gave birth to the Lao PDR National Assembly (NA), which has evolved into a great institution of government in shaping laws. To comply with the mandates provided in the LSMP, the NA played a critical role in introducing legislations to promote the rule of law. Notwithstanding significant institutional structures set up by the NA, numerous areas on legal development for the promotion of rule of law must still take the centre stage.
According to the 2015 UNDP Public Justice Survey Report, implementation of law is still seen as being weak. Different stakeholders observed that the lack of budget for enforcement, apathy in non-enforcement and a lack of knowledge on laws, contribute to the weak implementation of laws. Moreover, customary law rather than the formal law is still followed in many cases.
Indeed, among the legal profession, the necessary expertise for laws, legal concepts and judicial processes need to be consolidated and strengthened from the base. There is insufficient number of law professions with adequate expertise. Training opportunities are rare, mostly conceived on an ad hoc basis and not adapted for law professionals. They also tend to focus on specific technical areas identified by donors according to a global thematic agenda. The lack of tailored projects has prevented until now the badly needed implementation of general basic legal training.
It is in this light that LAO/031, a Laos-Luxembourg cooperation project under the auspices of the Luxembourg Development Cooperation Agency (LuxDev), and a follow up to its predecessor LAO/023, was initiated. Its purpose: “The Support Project to Legal Teaching and Training and to the Promotion of the Rule of Law Concept in Lao PDR”.
To attain this, LAO/031 gives priority attention to the improvement of the curriculum in legal education in Lao PDR to come up with the current global trends and ASEAN standards.
Thus in March 2018, the project formally kicked off to formulate various strategies and processes that would pave the way for the improvement of the law curriculum in the two law schools in Laos: the Faculty of Law and Political Science (FLP) of the National University of Laos (NUoL); and the Faculty of Law and Administration (FLA) of Champassak University.
In the Faculty of Law and Political Science, LAO/031 launched its curriculum development through a three-day seminar-workshop, from March 15-17, 2018. LuxDev Chief Technical Advisor (CTA) Reginald Pastrana delivered significant lectures on the various core subjects in law among ASEAN universities. He also conducted important discourses on several procedural steps, procedures and strategic initiatives for taking the various ways on curriculum development in legal education.
In addition, project LAO/031 was even extended to the southern part of Laos: to the Champassak University. During the courtesy visit of the Dean of the FLP of NUoL and the CTA of LAO/031 in March 2018, the Acting President and the Dean of the FLA of Champassak University were very delighted for this support. Indeed, the Champassak University was willing to receive such support and to lend their hands for the success of project LAO/031.
It must be pointed out that promoting the rule of law through legal education should not be underrated, for the need to support legal education is always a highly relevant rule-of-law project. Project LAO/031, through its vital component of improving the legal curriculum in Lao PDR, is a significant step towards realising the promotion of rule of law in this country.↑ To the top