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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs    11 June 2012

First civil code in Laos being drafted

11 June 2012

Laos is drafting a civil code that will embody civic affairs in various laws, which will benefit the public by systematically categorising those laws that most affect them.

This will be the first code ever to be enacted in Laos to develop a complex set of laws to facilitate national socio-economic development and poverty reduction.

Minister of Justice Chaleun Yiapaoher made the comment last Friday at the first seminar on the drafting of the civil code, supported by JICA's legal project.

He said the enactment of the civil code would help to strengthen the Lao legal system, building legal understanding and raising public awareness of such matters.

“As you may be aware, the legal system is quite complex and relevant to all sectors. It is also essential to the security, stability and the strength of our state,” he said.

“I accept that this is our first experience in enacting the country's first code, which will create a model for other codes to be enacted in the future.”

Civil law has been in effect in Laos for more than 20 years, almost since the start of the development of the Lao legal system. Legal experts have found it necessary to embody civic affairs to help Laos integrate with the region as targeted in 2015.

Civil law is a branch of law that protects the interests of the public. Experts say the law is very closely connected to people and that by gaining greater understanding, they will be better placed to protect their assets and personal rights.

The sub-committee that is drafting the law is studying the laws of other countries including Vietnam and Japan to see what areas might be incorporated into the Lao context of the new civil code.

So far, more than 90 laws have been enacted in Laos. The National Assembly plans to approve another 92 in the next five years to meet the goal of creating a state that is governed by the rule of law.

In addition, the Resolution of the 9th Party Congress stipulates the need to improve legislation and the rule of law in Laos to ensure that all economic sectors are indeed equal before the law and can actively contribute to expanding production capacity and compete in the process of international integration.

Experts have said one of the most important things is to ensure greater public awareness of the Lao legal system so that the general public and law enforcement sectors fully understand the nation's laws, the law enforcement process, and the judicial system.

Experts also say that development of the legal system would enable Laos to achieve its poverty reduction goals by 2015 and graduate from least development country status by 2020.

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