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Better Access to Lawyers, Justice Services Expected

Decorative Scales of Justice

Lawmakers are drafting amendments to the Law on Lawyers, aiming to ensure people enjoy better access to legal services and receive justice – in a move which aims to further the government’s efforts to make Laos a society ruled by law.

The Lao Bar Association (LBA) has independence and freedom in carrying out its activities with a mandate to offer law-related services to society, according to the amended draft posted on the Lao Official Gazette’s website since August.

The draft amendment has mandated the LBA to provide effective and just services to a wide range of people in society in order to contribute to creating Laos as a society ruled by law.

Members of the public including scholars and lawmakers are welcome to contribute their opinions to the amended draft posted on the website.

A member of the Law Drafting Committee Mr. Inthapanya Kiewvongphachanh said the final draft will be submitted to the ordinary session of the National Assembly scheduled to take place later this month for debate and approval.

The drafted amendment demands a lawyer to hold at least a higher diploma in law and those wanting to offer law-related services to the public are required to be a member of the LBA’s provincial offices and have their own legal enterprise or be an employee of an enterprise with certain experience.

Lawyers are required to make appropriate financial contributions to create a Lawyer Promotion Fund according to the income they earn.

The law drafting committee said the draft-amended law defines the principles, regulations and measures to guide lawyers performing their role to provide just and effective services to the people in line with lawyers’ ethics. This aims to protect the legitimate rights and interests of the clients.

The drafting committee said the amended law seeks to create conditions enabling the people to access justice processes in order to create confidence among the people as well as domestic and foreign investors in the Lao justice system. The aim is to ensure a society which enjoys security, order and justice.

Mr. Inthapanya said some revisions have already been made to the draft after it was posted on the website in August and meetings have been held where lawmakers shared their views on the amendments.

Once approved and promulgated, the amended law will replace the old one, which was in use since 2011.

Offering legal services to the people is seen as of importance to enhance the justice system in Laos. The LBA reported last year that hundreds of people came to its annual legal aid clinics for consultations with the majority of them having court cases found in their favour.

 

Source: Vientiane Times