Lao EconomyRules and Law

Laos To Establish Administrative Courts

Source: Vientiane Times

Laos is preparing to establish administrative courts to better address administrative disputes between executive agencies and the general public.

The move will allow members of the public to file a lawsuit against government officials and their organisations for alleged mistreatment or inappropriate exercise of power and for carelessness or negligence in their roles serving the people.

Deputy Minister of Justice Prof. Ket Kiettisak told Vientiane Times on Monday that the administrative courts are designed to protect rights and interests of citizens as well as the State.

“It’s necessary for our country to institute administrative courts with all legal frameworks in place to protect the interests of Lao people,” he said.

Mr Ket said cases had been noted over past years which resulted in people having been affected or mistreated leading to legal disputes but no lawsuits were made against government officials or organisations due to lack of administrative courts and relevant laws.

These included issues related to land use, hospital treatment, taxation, environmental issues, public payments and other State services.

An administrative court is a type of court specialising in administrative law, mainly disputes concerning the exercise of public power.

Their role is to ascertain that official acts are consistent with the law.

Mr Ket said there would be provincial/capital-level administrative courts up until the supreme court level but would not be extended down to the district-level.

A series of meetings have been held to discuss the draft National Assembly (NA) Standing Committee’s Resolution on Administrative Case Procedure.

Last week, the People’s Supreme Court and Institute for Legal Support and Technical Assistance (ILSTA) met in Vientiane Province, bringing together some 30 senior legal experts from all relevant sectors to finalise the draft resolution before being submitted for debate during the next session of the NA.

Work on the resolution has involved several previous consultations as well as study tours to Vietnam, Thailand and France.

During the workshop funded by the Luxembourg Ministry of Finance, participants learned of European experiences and perspectives on administrative procedure cases and administrative law, as well as looking at the experience from neighbouring countries.

The draft resolution, if adopted, will lead to the establishment of the administrative courts in the future.

The courts will provide a means for addressing disputes between administrative agencies and the general public; between state organisations themselves; and between administrative agencies and civil servants as well as other non-state organisations.

“The Resolution is a milestone in the development of the legal sector in Laos. This resolution will be a significant tool to protect the rights and interests of all citizens and the State. Our Party’s policy states that all powers belong to the people, by the people and for the interests of the people,” Mr Ket said.

“The 10th Party Congress’ Resolution also determines that Laos is striving to achieve the Rule of Law goals and that Administrative Courts should be established within the People’s Court system.”