National Assembly Debates Draft Of Civil Code

Source: Vientiane Times

National Assembly members began debating the latest draft of the Civil Code yesterday, the country’s first legal framework on civil relations.

The Ministry of Justice introduced the draft to sound out the general opinions of Assembly members before the draft was further developed by a subcommittee.

The drafting sub-committee, which comprises representatives from the ministry, the Supreme People’s Court, Office of Supreme People’s Prosecutor, the NA’s Law Committee, Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Law and Political Science Faculty of the National University of Laos,  began writing the draft in 2014 and formed an initial outline in 2015.

The draft has 615 articles, with most of the content derived from existing laws, decrees and decisions. Of the 615 articles, 252 are new, 251 are amended, and 112 remain the same as stated in existing laws and decrees.

Some of the expected debated content covers laws on the definition of the age of individuals who have the mental capacity to care for themselves, along with laws on possession, individual appearance, and servitude.

The initial canvasing of NA members on the draft will continue this morning. Yesterday’s debate covered a child’s ability to take part in civil relations and business operations, guardianship, and conditions for marriage permission.

Article No. 55 stipulates that a child can participate in civil relations under the permission of parents or guardians, while Article No. 56 says that a child who is permitted by parents to operate a business may do so.

NA member for Luang Namtha province, Mr Kongphet Buapha, said he wanted the drafting sub-committee to reconsider the drafting of articles that contradict the definitions of childhood age in other articles and laws.

Mr Kongphet also referred to articles 75 through 84, which discussed disappearances, proposing that the sub-committee assess the response related to disappearances, confirming that they had occurred in the past but that the role of the court and other agencies was not clear.

“Disappearances have occurred in ignorance in the past where years have passed and nobody knew if those involved had died or remained alive,” he said, adding that he wanted this law to be enforceable.
Mr Kongphet also wanted the stipulation on rewards to be more concrete so they would not generate loopholes for bribery.

NA member for Borikhamxay province, Lieutenant Colonel Khamsai Phandanouvong, said he supported the opinion of the NA member for Luang Namtha on the definition of childhood age, disappearances, and rewards.

He also asked that the responsibility of hotel and guesthouse owners concerning the property of their guests, along with child guardianship and the beneficiaries of wills be discussed.

NA President Ms Pany Yathotou, who chaired the debate yesterday, urged Assembly members to focus on issues related to family, the right to possession, contracts and torts, saying they were currently hot topics.

She also stressed that the law be created bearing in mind that it was necessary for the international community to have faith in Laos’ legal system.

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