Lawyers ‘lack quality training'
HA NOI — Vietnamese lawyers need more training to ensure they are professional and ethical, said president of the Viet Nam Bar Federation (VBF), Le Thuc Anh, at a three-day workshop which began in Ha Noi yesterday.
Graduates of HCM City Law University. The Prime Minister has ratified a strategy to increase the number of lawyers to about 20,000 to meet demand for quality legal services. — VNA/VNS Photo Phuong Vy
Continuing legal education aims at ensuring lawyers are competent and well aware of their professional and ethical responsibilities.
The workshop focuses on ways to develop successful professional training prog-rammes for lawyers in Viet Nam, Laos and Cambodia.
Neil Gold from the Canadian Bar Association said he hoped that ideas and comments collected from the workshop would be useful in developing regular legal training programmes for Viet Nam, Laos and Cambodia in the coming years.
The Prime Minister has ratified a strategy to develop the legal profession by 2020. The strategy sets goal to increase the number of lawyers to about 20,000 with 100 per cent of lawyers taking on regular continuing legal education by 2020 to meet the rising domestic demand for quality legal services.
According to Pham Hong Hai, vice president of VBF cum director of the Professional Training Centre, economic integration has driven the need for greater numbers of more professional lawyers.
There were 62 provincial bar associations with more than 7,000 lawyers and 3,000 intern lawyers, participating in about 3,000 legal practice organisations across the country, said Hai.
The role of lawyers has been becoming more and more important in the fields of civil law, criminal law and economic procedures as well as for legal consultancy.
However, legal education for lawyers in Viet Nam has received little attention, Hai added.
According to a VBF survey carried out in the five provincial bar associations of Ha Noi, HCM City, Phu Tho, Can Tho and Da Nang, more than 60 per cent of respondents have never taken any refresher professional training programmes. The rest said that most of the training courses they attended were for free.
Meanwhile, 60 per cent of them said that they were willing to pay to join quality courses.
The knowledge and skill of lawyers, especially novice lawyers, were still seen as limited due to a lack of experience and information on new legislation, he said.
According to the deputy director of the Judicial Academy, Nguyen Van Dung, education for lawyers needs to reach the standard of other countries in the region and across the world.
"Co-operation between universities of law, the Judicial Academy and VBF will play a significant role in improving the quality of education for lawyers," he added.
According to VBF's report, there is one lawyer for every 14,000 residents in Viet Nam. The rate is normal when compared with foreign countries such as Thailand, with a rate of 1/1,526, Singapore with 1/1,000 and the US with 1/250.
Lawyers have participated in only about 20 per cent of criminal cases and the rate is even lower, at 0.4 per cent, for international commercial disputes.
According to Hai, a standard training programme of a bachelor of law is scheduled to be completed by 2015. — VNS