UNDP sponsored a two-year, in-country project, conducted in conjunction with Boston University School of Law. Few well-trained legal experts had previously come out of the country’s education system. This project provided training in legislative problem-solving theory, methodology, and techniques, and arranged for assistance in three key areas (see below).
The project included a series of two-week workshops involving over 100 participants. Participants included Ministry of Justice personnel and Parliamentary staff, and other ministerial personnel with knowledge of Laotian circumstances. Eight Laotians also participated in the four-month Residence Program, including the deputy head of the Ministry of Justice training institute, and a member of Parliamentary staff responsible for assisting MPs to work with their constituents.
After the economic crisis of 1997-8, the Government had slowed the transition to a market economy, in part viewing the transition as a threat to stability. The project included legislation drafting to address these concerns.
A Ministry of Justice organizer, after earning an LL.M. and returning to Laos, gave leadership to two groups participating in the e-Learning course, Legislative Drafting for Democratic Social Change, in 2002. This organizer also oversaw former Residence Program participants as they facilitated further trainings.
UNDP financed the translation of the Manual for Drafters, which incorporated country-specific examples.
A Parliamentary staff person who attended the Residence Program introduced efforts to help MPs work more closely with their constituents, informing them about laws and asking for their feedback. The Deputy Director of Vientiane Law School participated with the group of Visiting Scholars in the Residence Program; he subsequently introduced legislative drafting courses at the Vientiane Law School.
An Ordinance on Lawmaking was passed, but did not address the required need for research to guide the legislative solution proposed. (A subsequent project addressed this problem; see below).
After the UNDP-sponsored two-year project to help Lao-PDR’s Ministry of Justice strengthen its drafting capacity, the 1998 financial crisis occurred. As a result, the Laotian government accepted a World Bank initiative to finance outside experts to draft new laws. Subsequently, a Laotian team participated in ICLAD’s e-Learning course, Legislative Drafting for Democratic Social Change, to draft a law on the lawmaking process and strengthen their local drafting capacity.
The second UNDP-sponsored in-country project aimed to review a Laotian team’s Manual for Drafters, written by Laotians in Laotian, and using Laotian examples, and also to review the draft Ordinance on Lawmaking. Three ICLAD Certified Trainers worked in Vientiane, Lao-PDR; one consulted with the Laotian team regarding their Manual for Drafters, while the other two reviewed the Ordinance on Lawmaking and clarified hierarchy-of-laws issues.
The project also equipped participants with legislative problem-solving theory, methodology, and techniques and enabled them to institutionalize an on-going process to produce growing numbers of well-qualified drafters. These new drafters would meet the drafting needs of the Lao Government ministries, parliamentary staff, and provincial and local governments.
University lecturers planned a legislative drafting clinic at the university to draft legislation on behalf of the municipal and provincial governments.
Dumping of Industrial Waste in Vientiane’s Water Supplies
Ordinance on Lawmaking (Amended, 2003)