Nguyen Hung Quang and Kerstin Steiner, Chapter 9 in John Gillespie and Pip Nicholson (eds), ‘Asian Socialism and Legal Change: The Dynamics of Vietnamese and Chinese Reform’, Asia Pacific Press, Canberra, 2005
This chapter seeks to analyse how individual lawyers and their organisations can be strengthened and consolidated as part of Vietnam’s legal reform. In order to address this issue, the chapter will first explore the history of lawyers in Vietnam. It examines the different points of view and attitudes of governmental organisations and judicial organs towards legal practitioners. It then continues with a case study of the Nam Cam case—the largest and most infamous criminal case in Vietnamese legal history – to illustrate the shortcomings of the current legal reforms. The chapter concludes by arguing for further changes to secure the role of lawyers in judicial reform.
This chapter provides a summary of the history of lawyers in Vietnam, the attitude of current state and public towards lawyers in practice. The authors used a criminal case “Nam Cam” to illustrate legal profession in the courtroom in Vietnam. The chapter concluded that in order for judicial reforms to be more effective, significant changes in the judicial system are necessary; not only the position of lawyers but all parts of the judicial system need to be strengthened. This would enhance the effectiveness of judicial activities and reduce the phenomenon of may moc, don thuan, vo chinh tri (‘mechanical and simple legalism, non politics’) in the judiciary. The motive behind such improvements is not only internal as Vietnam is preparing for accession to the WTO. Lawyers are especially equipped to inspire and strengthen judicial reforms and contribute to an independent and transparent justice system.
Suggested citation: Nguyen Hung Quang & Kerstin Steiner, ‘Ideology and Professionalism: The Resurgence of the Vietnamese Bar’ in John Gillespie and Pip Nicholson (eds), ‘Asian Socialism and Legal Change: The Dynamics of Vietnamese and Chinese Reform’, Asia Pacific Press, Canberra, 2005.
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