Lao People's Democratic Republic

Activities and Results

 Since the introduction of the “New Thinking” (“Chin-Thanakaan-Mai”) policy back in 1986, Laos has continuously carried forward law reform activities for its transition into market economy, with the help of international organizations and other countries. Responding to the request from the Lao Government, Japan started training courses in Japan for Laotian personnel in the law and justice sector in 1998 implemented by the Ministry of Justice of Japan under the technical assistance framework of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA); and in 2003, an officer of the Ministry of Justice of Japan was dispatched to Vientiane as a long-term resident expert to commence the legal technical assistance activities as a JICA Project. Since then, this Project has continued up until today with one short interval for preparatory and research activities, transforming itself little by little in response to the changing needs of Laos. The Ministry of Justice of Japan has always exerted full cooperation to the Project such as dispatching government attorneys and other officials as long- and short-term experts and implementing training courses in Japan.
 The first Project entitled the “Legal Technical Assistance Project” which lasted from 2003 to 2008 focused on compiling reference materials such as handbooks for legal professionals which would help Laotian law and justice personnel including Ministry of Justice officers, judges and prosecutors to apply and enforce laws. The second Project, the “Project for Human Resource Development in the Legal Sector” which started, after an interval for the purpose of some researches, in 2010 involved four implementation agencies which were the Ministry of Justice, the People’s Supreme Court, the Office of the Supreme People’s Prosecutor and the Faculty of Law and Political Science of the National University of Laos and placed more importance on human capacity development of people working in the area of law and justice, including the education sector. This Project was repeated as Phase II from 2014 to 2018. Further, along with the capacity building activities of the Project, technical assistance for the drafting of the Civil Code which Laos was longing for was added to the activities in 2012. This Civil Code was finally enforced in 2020, becoming an important pillar of the Laotian legal system in the civil law area.
 Since 2018, the “Project for Promoting Development and Strengthening of the Rule of Law in the Legal Sector of Lao P.D.R.” is ongoing. Implementing agencies on the Laotian side are the same as the previous Project, but this Project digs deeper into the fundamental issues by setting the target at studying and establishing basic jurisprudence concerning basic laws of Laos, aiming at the development of rule of law in Laos by building a firm Laotian theory and thereupon implementing laws and regulations and fostering excellent human resources who shoulder the law and justice sector of Laos in the future.
 Furthermore, independent form the JICA Projects, the Research and Training Institute of the Ministry of Justice of Japan concluded a Memorandum of Cooperation on trainings in the law and justice sector with the National Institute of Justice[1] of Laos in December 2018. Based on this Memorandum, both institutions have strengthened cooperative relationships through concrete activities such as holding a joint seminar on penal law in October 2019.

[1] National Institute of Justice (NIJ) was established in 2015, integrating former law colleges and the legal judicial training institute, which was a training facility for the Ministry of Justice officials, as an institution with three main duties including: (1) Legal education for law college students, (2) Training for the Ministry of Justice officials, and (3) Unified training for future judges, prosecutors and lawyers.

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