22 October 2019

Vietnam Prime Minister backs legal profession

Vietnam's prime minster lends support to improving the country's legal profession.

Prime minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has highlighted the role of the Vietnam Lawyers Association (VLA) and rolled out a number of areas, including legislative and diplomatic work, where the VLA is to work more closely with a range of government agencies.

Legislative role

The prime minster gave support to a recently issued document on intensifying the implementation of solutions to promote the role of lawyers in state processes. Launching Directive 21/CT-TTg, seen as a follow-up document of Directive 08 of 2013 on solutions to improve operational quality and effectiveness of VLA, the prime minister asked ministries, sectors and localities government bodies to implement Directive 08. Specifically they are to support and create conditions for the VLA to consolidate their organizational structure and develop their membership, and enhance professional standards and ethics. These changes form the basis for closer engagement with government bodies. To promote the role of lawyers in legislative work, the Prime Minister said the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) is to engage more closely with the VLA in  the law and policy-making process. The MOJ is to allow the VLA to participate in the formulation and appraisal of legal documents, provide policy consultancy and criticism, and organize seminars, talks and discussions on improvements in institution, policy and law.

Broader roles

The MOJ is also to consider measures which will effectively use the pool of VLA law rapporteurs and conciliators at grassroot levels, including focusing on compiling materials and providing pro bono legal counselling.  The ministry is to seek ways of facilitating the VLA’s oversight of the implementation of laws and settlement of legal disputes. The state’s watchdog, the Government Inspectorate, is also to propose and implement measures to promote the position and role of VLA members in citizen engagement and dispute settlement. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will take measures to enhance the diplomatic role of the VLA and raise its profile within the ASEAN Law Association (ALA), International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), Confederation of Lawyers of Asia and the Pacific (COLAP), and other legal organizations.