Access to justice in Viet Nam - Survey from a people’s perspective

02 May 2004

The purpose of this report is to provide new information regarding the role of existing legal institutions and mechanisms for access to justice in Viet Nam; and how they are perceived and assessed from a people’s perspective. The report is based on a two-part study.  The first part is a desk review of the legal and institutional framework for access to justice. The second is a survey exploring the opinions of one thousand ordinary Vietnamese living in different parts of the country, on various aspects of the legal and institutional framework and how it affects access to justice in their daily lives.

The first part of the report explores the Constitution and key legal normative documents and a range of judicial, administrative and supporting institutions and mechanisms in place for people’s access to justice.  The report shows that fundamental human rights are provided for by the Constitution and necessary institutions are in place for people to exercise their rights and access justice.

The second part of the report is structured around three key elements forming part of access to justice as conceptualised in the study: awareness, access and confidence.

The third part of the report concludes that the findings of the survey point to a number of issues that would be useful for the Government of Viet Nam and the international donor community to address in further efforts to improve access to justice in Viet Nam. While further development of the existing legal and judicial institutions is important, strengthening people’s access to justice is crucial. This includes increasing the level of legal awareness, as well as the level of access to and confidence in legal institutions in place. The survey suggests a need for increased outreach of legal institutions at the grass-roots level for a higher level of utilization, especially by the poor and people living in remote areas.

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