Lao People's Democratic Republic

Activities and Results

  Since 1986, through promotion of economic liberalization with the introduction of the “New Economic Mechanism” or “New Thinking (Chin-Thanakaan-Mai)” policy, the government of Lao P.D.R. has pursued reforms for opening up its economy and shifting to a market economy. After its accession to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 1997, it joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2013. During this period, and in the course of making improvements towards a legal system which would promote a market economy, the country encountered the problem of insufficient basic laws. In addition, some existing laws were not systematically organized. Furthermore, the legislative procedure was quite inefficient, and there was no unified or expeditious legal operation. One of the noted underlying causes of these problems was Laos suffering from a lack of capable individuals in the legal and judicial field.
 Against this background, and under the framework of its technical assistance project from 2003 to 2008, JICA provided assistance in drafting: 1) Textbooks of the Civil Code and Commercial Code; and 2) A Civil Judgment Manual and a Prosecutor’s Manual. The International Cooperation Department (ICD) assisted by dispatching long-term and short-term experts to Laos, etc.
 After that, the ICD worked with JICA, Nagoya University and others to continue field surveys in order to determine the need for support in Laos. Based on this, four related organizations (the Ministry of Justice, the Supreme People's Court, the Supreme People's Prosecutor’s Office and the National University of Laos) from July 2010 to 2014 were the implementing agencies aiming to improve human and organizational capacity to improve legal education and practice in Laos. JICA’s project to strengthen the cultivation of legal human resources (phase 1) was implemented, and achieved results such as building the foundation of human resources development through the preparation of reference materials for the Laotian Civil Code, Code of Civil Procedure and Criminal Procedure Law. From July 2014, phase 2 (four years) of the project was launched. In phase 2, based on the achievements of phase 1, the four agencies were the implementing agencies, and activities were carried out with the aim of improving the abilities of the four agencies and their staffs in (1) drafting laws and regulations, (2) applying and enforcing laws and regulations, (3) improving legal education, legal profession training and continuous practical training, and (4) promoting the dissemination and understanding of laws. From July 2018, a new JICA project for promoting development and strengthening the rule of law in the legal sector for Lao P.D.R. was implemented working with the four organizations. In this project, the core human resources of the legal and judicial sector are acquiring the ability to study legal theories, to implement and enforce basic laws based on legal theories and to improve laws and practices, share outcomes of the study with relevant officials of the sector and plan sustainable structures to continue these activities by themselves, and the trainers and lecturers of legal education and training sector are acquiring the ability to train legal practitioners of high quality. For these purposes, the project is implementing varies activities such as the study of basic legal theories and approaches to the dissemination, creation of reference materials and preparation of curriculum, etc.
 The ICD, besides dispatching instructors locally as long-term and short-term experts for the above-mentioned projects, is supporting the project by agreeing to conduct training programs for officials from Laos in Japan.