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Civil Code Draft Nears Completion

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The development of a draft of a civil code for the country is close to its completion with the expectation of submission for government and National Assembly consideration next year.

Under the financial and technical support from the Japanese people and government, the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) began development of the country’s first-ever civil code in 2012.

The Third Law Forum to continue discussion on the draft took place yesterday in Vientiane among Lao and Japanese legal experts.

The draft of the civil code has nine parts, which divides into 600 articles, their content covering 18 promulgated private laws dealing with business and negligent lawsuits and practices.

In his opening remarks at the forum, Deputy Minister of Justice Professor Ket Kiattisak said the ministry had planned to submit the draft to the government for consideration this year, however, the workload that has burdened the country’s administrative and legislature bodies will postpone that submission until next year.

According to the minister, the ministry had begun dissemination of the draft last month by posting it on the governmental website, www.aoofficialgazette.gov.la.

As a milestone in the development of a legal system and a fundament to strengthening a rule-based state and social management, the country had approved and announced the promulgation of its first ever constitution in 1991.

MOJ’s Department of Planning and Cooperation Director General Mr. Nalonglith Norasing said despite the country having 18 laws for dealing with business and negligent lawsuits and practices, some of the principles in the laws were not complied and harmonised with each other, which led to confusion in practice.

He noted the development of the civil code (substantive law) was an amendment of the existing laws to be compliant, systematical and clearer, as well as to resolve loopholes through the building of consent understanding on predictable and transparent judicial implementation.

The first part of the still-developing civil code is general provision, the second is about individual and legal entity, the third talks about family, the fourth is about asset and property, the fifth about general principles of contract and specific contracts, the sixth talks about general principles on tort, the seventh is about contract implementation guarantees, the eighth about heritage, and the ninth part is the final provisions.

According to Mr. Nalonglith, after all 600 articles of the substantive law have passed the revision by the experts group; the draft will be brought to sound out broadened public opinions, business groups, and other organisations.

Professor Matsuo Hiroshi from Keio University in Japan advised that in order to compile a civil code of Laos, which he said is most appropriate to the country, a careful arrangement of the provisions is necessary to edit rules from various sources, including Roman law, rules developed in other countries, international standards and indigenous rules by taking into consideration the current economic, political and social situation of the country.

Source: Vientiane Times