Law Summer School, 18-20 May 2022

The Inter-University Cooperation Project organised its 3rd Law Summer School from May 18-to 20th 2022 in Vang Vieng. Seventeen candidates were selected based on their interest in improving their legal knowledge and English skills for an intensive 3-day seminar. This edition included 11 law lecturers from the Faculty of Law and Political Science, two law lecturers from the Faculty of Law and Administrative, Champassak University, and four practitioners (two judges and two lawyers). The participation of the two lecturers from the Faculty of Law and Administrative of Champassak University was made possible with the financial support of the LuxDev Project LAO/031.

The Law Summer School was dedicated to “Rule of Law Principles”, in particular to the principle of Legality, which is extremely relevant for the application of the law. We focused on Legal Certainty (“Lex  Certa“), meaning that the law must be precise and certain, and on the interpretation of the law. We were pleased to welcome Dr. Lasse Schuldt, Assistant Professor at Thammasat University in Bangkok, Thailand, specialised in Criminal law.

This Law Summer School aims to provide participants with both theoretical and practical knowledge. Each session included practical exercises connecting the theory with hypothetical legal problems.

Day 1 of the Summer School was dedicated to defining the scope of this universal principle and its international (ICCPR, art. 15) and domestic sources (art. 4 of the Lao Penal Code). Participants looked in particular at standards for legal clarity and the need to find a balance between flexibility and reliability of legal provisions. During group exercises, participants had to identify and evaluate indeterminate and unclear legal terms in existing selected Lao provisions of the Penal Code. They actively discussed whether vague terms could be understood through specific methods of interpretation or whether they were simply too vague and should be clarified/amended by the legislator.

Day 2 was dedicated to Lex Certa in the application of law. Participants learned about interpretation techniques. In the afternoon, the participants were divided into four groups to solve hypothetical legal problems provided by the instructors. The restitution was done in the form of role play involving pleading and as the prosecutor or the defendant.

            Day 3 was dedicated to Lex Certa in law-making. Participants looked at what makes good legislation in relation to legal certainty. In the afternoon, participants were asked to draft a “Fake News” offence.

All participants showed enthusiasm and motivation during the event and they energetically interacted with the guest speaker and with each other. They learned to understand the importance of respecting the principle of legality in all branches of law. All participants were provided a reading list to go further with learning support material such as explanatory textbook chapters, reference to Thai case-law, abstracts of different Southeast Asian Penal Codes to strengthen their knowledge.