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The Lao PDR was established on the 2nd December 1975, then the legal system of the Lao PDR emerged and gradually developed by combination of the fundamental civil law system, the significance of the socialist legal system and the tradition of the Lao people’s ethnic groups.  However, certain significant judgments become precedents by guidance of the President of the Supreme Court. In 1986, the State adopted and proclaimed the new economic mechanism policy which is a milestone history for changing and opening the country to the world. Therefore, it is not only the foreign direct investment, but also the connectivity with other sectors that have been increasing year after year.  In order to guarantee that the Government has managed the State and Society by the law, the first constitution was adopted by the Supreme People’s Assembly[1] and promulgated by the President of the State on 15th August 1991[2]. However, as the intention and inspiration of the Government, the Lao PDR was proclaimed to be a rule of law State.

According to the court organization law, the current people’s court system is composed of the Supreme Court, the local Court and the Military Court. The local people’s Court is composed of the People’s Zone Court[3] which has limited jurisdiction, the People’s Provincial Court,[4] the High Court and the Supreme Court.[5] Unlike other countries, the Lao PDR does not have specific court, but similarly in order  to deal with the specific cases, the  Lao PDR has six chambers such as the Criminal Chamber, the Civil Chamber, the Commercial Chamber, the Family Chamber, the Juvenile Chamber and the Labor Chamber.[6] However the People’s zone Court does not have  juvenile and commercial chambers meaning that the juvenile and commercial cases can be filed at the Provincial Court as the Court of First Instance.

The People Court’s has sought to improve case handling efficiency and effectiveness by increasing the number of courts in order to provide more access to justice; provide training courses for judges to exchange experiences in handling their cases effectively; improving technical management in order to guarantee that all laws are applied in the same way consistently and with uniformity… etc. Regarding mediation, there are three kinds of mediation such as the mediation unit at the village, the office of the economic dispute resolution which is under the Ministry of Justice and the mediation process is also handled by judges at the courts.[7]

In terms of human rights protection, it is guaranteed by the law which recognizes international standards of human rights. Therefore, the criminal justice process prioritizes the principle of human rights protection in all proceedings.


[1] The Supreme People’s Assembly was renamed to be The National Assembly in 1996

[2] The constitution was amended twice in 2003 and in 2005

[3] The People’s Zone Court is the court of first instance.

[4] The People’s Provincial Court is the court of first instance and appeal instance

[5] The High Court and the Supreme Court are the court of appeal instance and cassation instance

[6]  The Lao PDR does not have constitutional court and administrative court

[7] The mediation at these three offices has different enforcement result.

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