Rule of law
Having a functioning legal system is essential for developing economies to attract much needed foreign investment – particularly for countries emerging from civil war or periods of major political change.
A growing area of our work is in partnering with governments and the legal profession in countries that want to strengthen their justice systems, build capacity and skills, and develop their understanding of certain areas of law.
Currently we are working in Myanmar, a country in which six decades of military dictatorship have left the rule of law diminished and badly undermined. Alongside opening our office there in 2013, we have made a long-term commitment to develop the rule of law in Myanmar, engaging with key legal players and ministries to help modernise the legal system.
We have so far provided the Attorney General’s office with training modules on joint ventures, M&A, investment treaties and project financing, and have been working with the Supreme Court on issues relating to international arbitration. We’ve also worked closely with the ministries of National Planning and Electric Power and run courses at two universities.
In addition, we have helped to set up the Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business – alongside the Institute for Human Rights and Business – which is working with foreign investors and Myanmar companies to make sure existing and new investments in the country meet international human rights standards and best practices.
This builds on our success with a five-year programme to rebuild the legal system in Rwanda, which was almost entirely wiped out during the genocide of 1994.
Rwanda has since followed a remarkable path of development in creating a unique legal system that draws on civil, common and local legal traditions. A&O has contributed to this by working closely with the Rwandan justice sector to develop tailor-made training courses for Rwandan lawyers and judges and to build capacity in the new legal system. A key objective for the programme was sustainability – focusing on knowledge transfer to Rwandan institutions so that local resources were strengthened and training capacity increased.
With a long-term commitment, holistic approach and contributions from highly experienced lawyers, A&O makes a stand-out contribution. Working with the whole justice sector assures sustainability of the programme. It is an example we encourage others to follow.
H.E. Ernest Rwamucyo, Rwanda High Commissioner to the UK