VLA2 Project: ADDA Team Visits Dien Bien Legal Consulting Center

During its tour to introduce the CEMI project, the ADDA team also took the opportunity to visit the Dien Bien Legal Consulting Centre set up in 2007 in the first phase of the Legal Aid to the Rural Population Project in which ADDA cooperates with the Vietnam Lawyers’ Association. The Vice-Chair of the LCC, Barrister, Luong Mai Sao, hosted the meeting. After discussion of the structure of the LCC and its role, the meeting turned how the efforts of the LCC in training and legal consulting services and, in particular, the conduct of Legal Aid Clinics for the rural poor could be sustained when the second phase of the Project finishes at the end of 2014. There was concern amongst the LCC staff that they would then have to charge service fees, however small to people requiring assistance. It was also noted that the Government of Vietnam operates centers at local level as an alternative source of support, but that the LCC approach was more participatory than this. It was also learnt that under a Decision #1133 and the associated Decree passed by the Government of Vietnam in 2013 there was scope for the VLA to contribute to effort for the socialization of the legal system in the rural areas and it may be that the model developed under the VLA-ADDA cooperation could be integrated into this effort. Provinces are expected to prepare pilot projects for funding. 

Meeting with Members of Legal Consulting Centre, Dien Bien Province

Harvey Demaine