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Asia Foundation, Supreme Court Partner To Strengthen Legal Aid

Source: Vientiane Times

The Asia Foundation is continuing to support the Administrative Chambers of the People’s Supreme Court in helping to provide legal aid throughout the country and to improve the fairness of village mediation.

Speaking at a workshop for the People’s Supreme Court, Chief of the Party Legal Aid Support Programme, the Asia Foundation, Ms Sophia Cason, said the Foundation’s support aims to promote the rule of law through fairer, more consistent, and more transparent delivery of justice.

This will encourage compliance with the law and the greater inclusion of women, the poor and traditionally underserved populations.

The Asia Foundation is working with the Ministry of Justice to support legal aid offices in nine provinces and in Vientiane and also to support work to strengthen Village Mediation Units.

Ms Cason said the Foundation is trying to improve the representation of marginalised groups, including helping to increase the number of women in the justice sector and improve gender sensitivity in the treatment of women by the justice sector.

Co-chairing the meeting, Vice President of the People’s Supreme Court, Mr Bounkhouang Thavisack, and others in attendance approved important documents that are used in administrative proceedings including 40 documents relating to petitions, letters of invitation, appeal requests, cancellation requests, and judgments.

With the support of the United States through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the Ministry of Justice recently opened the first-ever Legal Aid Office.

The Legal Aid Office will provide Lao citizens with important legal services, including legal advice, documentation, and court representation.

The office will also support the Legal Aid Decree’s goal of increasing access to justice for all and ensuring equality before the law, with the aim of building a rule-of-law society.