To achieve SDG16, Viet Nam has committed to reforming its judicial system. For the first time, adversarial principles were introduced in the 2013 Constitution. Then in 2015, Viet Nam adopted the revised Criminal Procedure Code with more rights for lawyers and the accused.

Ever since 2016, UNDP has partnered with two leading law universities in Viet Nam to raise awareness and support lawyers from bar associations across the country in giving effect to these new provisions, with funding from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement. A practical skills handbook was developed to help strengthen adversarial skills for lawyers and law students. UNDP and partner in Ho Chi Minh City also piloted a meaningful program to provide legal aid for prisoners and the recently released in the southern provinces.



1. Improve access to effective legal representation for the criminally accused by ensuring the legal profession fulfills its role in upholding the rule of law.

2. Create a strong network of criminal defense lawyers to share best practices, and provide practical guidance in criminal legal practice for law students.

1. Strengthen the implementation of the provisions related to adversarial principles in the 2013 Constitution and the 2015 Criminal Procedure Code

2. Increase capacity of criminal defense lawyers and law students in adversarial skills to better represent their clients and give full effect to new changes in law.



Law Students Guide Prisoners Back into the Community

More than 1200 prisoners in southern provinces received needed advice to overcome complex legal and social barriers to their full reintegration into society. More than 100 law students were trained in how to provide legal advice to prisoners and build their practical legal skills. Students adopt entertaining and interactive methods to inform prisoners of their rights... Read more

Criminal Lawyers Exchange Knowledge and Skills to Protect Human Rights in Viet Nam

“If you want to travel fast use the old roads”, this Vietnamese proverb truly describes how criminal lawyers, old and young, from across the South of Viet Nam share knowledge to adapt to changes in the law concerning criminal legal representation... Read more



Ms. Catherine Phuong

  • Assistant Resident Representative, UNDP Vietnam
  • Head of Governance and Participation Unit
  • Email:

Mr. Seán O’Connell

  • Human Rights and Rule of Law Officer
  • UNDP Governance and Participation Unit
  • E-mail:

Ms. Nguyen Thu Thao

  • Communications Officer
  • UNDP Governance and Participation Unit
  • E-mail:



Icon of SDG 16

UNDP Around the world

You are at UNDP Viet Nam 
Go to UNDP Global