UN supports Lawyers Association to improve access to justice for all

Sep 29, 2006

Ha NoiThe UN Development Programme (UNDP) will work with the Viet Nam Lawyers Association (VLA) to improve its ability to advocate for legal reforms and equal access to justice, including establishing mobile legal clinics to reach the poorest and most remote populations.

“Viet Nam recognizes the importance of equal access to legal services for all citizens," said United Nations Resident Coordinator John Hendra. "Access to legal services is a fundamental element of legal and judicial reforms based on the rule of law."

Hendra, speaking at the project signing, went on to emphasize the linkages between equal access to justice, the rule of law and the promotion of human rights. “The rule of law can only contribute to the realization of human rights if it is applied impartially and universally. UNDP supports the continued development of a capable and healthy legal profession.  Organizations like the Viet Nam Lawyer’s Association can play a key role in ensuring that judges, lawyers and prosecutors adhere to the highest ethical standards for the benefit of all people.”

The overall objective of this three-year project, jointly funded by UNDP and the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) is to strengthen the capacity of the VLA to play an active role in the ongoing legal and judicial reform process in Viet Nam and to represent the needs and interests of its membership.

“In response to the important tasks in the country’s current industrialization, modernization and international integration process -- especially related to the building of a state under the socialist Rule of Law -- the VLA still has many weaknesses and constraints,” said VLA President Pham Quoc Anh. “It is now the most fundamental and urgent task for the VLA to improve the capacity of its network from the central to local levels.”

Specifically, the project will help improve the organizational capacity of the VLA, improve the professional knowledge and skills of VLA members so they can better participate in legal and judicial reform activities and lastly the VLA’s existing legal aid centres will be strengthened, including establishing mobile legal aid clinics to reach those in poor and remote areas.

The VLA is a professional association under the Viet Nam Union of Science and Technology Associations (VUSTA). It has 32,000 members, including judges, lawyers, prosecutors, government lawyers, notaries, and law professors.

Contact informationMs. Nguyen Viet Lan, Tel: (84-4) 942-1495 x186 
email: nguyen.viet.lan@undp.org
Mr. Michael Coleman, Tel: (84-4) 942-1495 x161
email: michael.coleman@undp.org