The Inter-University Cooperation Project organised its first Hybrid “Law Winter School” from 15-17 December 2020, in Vang Vieng as the previous Law Summer School in 2019. 12 candidates were selected based on their interest in improving their legal knowledge and level of English for an intensive 3-day seminar entirely in English. This edition included 9 lecturers from the FLP and 3 practitioners (one judge, one prosecutor and one lawyer).
Our Winter School was dedicated to “Rule of law principles”. It focused in particular on the principle of legality, with sessions on legal certainty, non-retroactivity and application of law in time, and access to justice and fair trial, with sessions on judicial independence and presumption of innocence. The main speakers were Dr. Lawrence Siry and Dr. Perrine Simon, with Pr. Stefan Braum joining for some discussion sessions. Each session included a theoretical part, followed by a practical part during which candidates had to work in groups on case studies.
Some sessions included pre-recorded videos or live sessions via Zoom, whereas the practical part was led by Perrine (physically present). All participants actively engaged in discussions on the meaning of Rule of law in the Lao context, the power of interpretation of judges, difficult access to judgements, judges’ ethics, and the rights of the defence. The contribution of the practitioners was extremely relevant to shed some light on some provisions of the Lao laws and on how they apply in practice.