The Inter-University Cooperation Project organised its 4th Law Winter School from October 18th to 21th 2022 in Vang Vieng. Sixteen candidates were selected based on their interest in improving their legal knowledge for an intensive 3-day seminar. This edition included thirteen law lecturers from the Faculty of Law and Political Science and three practitioners (one former judge, one prosecutor, and one legal officer).
The Law Winter School was dedicated to “Rule of Law Principles,” particularly the principle of legality, which is highly relevant for interpreting and implementing laws. The Winter School also dealt with the legal principles of proportionality, fair trial and the right to property. This Winter School was taught in English by Prof. Stefan Braum (University of Luxembourg) and Andrii HUBAI (PhD, Uni.lu), Melina ANASTASOPOULOU, (PhD, Uni.lu), Anna MORAITI (PhD, Uni. lu) and Dr. Perrine Simon (Liaison Officer of University of Luxembourg in Laos).
This Law Winter School aims to provide participants with both theoretical and practical knowledge, as well create a dialogue on Rule of law principles among participants. Each session included practical exercises connecting the theory with hypothetical legal problems. Selected lecturers also presented their understanding of Rule of law principles such as legality and proportionality in the Lao context, while other presented their research projects connected to the fundamental right to property.
Day 1 of the Winter School started by defining the role and function of legal principles with a presentation from Pr. Braum, and then identifying which legal principles Rule of law implies with a presentation from Andrii Hubai. Participants actively discussed the difference between “Law” and “principles” as well as “Rule of law” and “Rule by law.” In the afternoon, the focus was on the principle of legality with a lecture followed by an exercise on legal interpretation with hypothetical legal problems.
Day 2 was dedicated to the principles of fair trial and presumption of innocence (presentation by Melina Anastasopoulou) as well as the principle of proportionality (presentation by Anna Moraiti). Ass. Prof. Viengvilay Thiengchanhxay, the Dean of the FLP also joined the sessions opening discussions on law drafting.
In the afternoon, participants had to work and plead on a hypothetical case involving the application of Rule of Law principles. They were divided into three groups – judge, prosecutor, and defendant – to perform pleadings. These small moot exercises where concluded by Prof. Stefan Braum’s feedback on how to enhance the correct application of Rule of law principles in solving concrete cases.
Day 3 was dedicated to the fundamental right to property, starting with a presentation from Andrii Hubai. Participants then discussed in groups small hypotheticals involving violations of the right to property. Lathdavanh and Khamphiew then presented their research topic on compensation issues in Laos and the property of spouses insisting on the relevance of the right to property in their topic. This Law Winter School ended with a round-table reflection, which allowed participants to discuss how to enhance the teaching and research of Rule of law principles.
All participants showed enthusiasm and motivation during the event and energetically interacted with the guest speaker and each other. They learned to understand the importance of the rule of law principles. All participants were provided a reading list to go further with learning support materials to strengthen their knowledge.
For the next Law Summer School, it is foreseen to deepen discussions on the principle of legality by focusing on legal certainty, interpretation and law drafting.