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Showing posts from January, 2017

A personal tribute to U Ko Ni

This was first published at New Mandala, 31 January 2017 . On Sunday, prominent Muslim lawyer, and legal adviser to Aung San Suu Kyi, U Ko Ni, was fatally shot by an alleged assassin . Melissa Crouch reflects on the life and legacy of Myanmar’s legal voice of conscience. This week people in Myanmar were forced to confront the kind of country that it is becoming. On 29 January 2017, U Ko Ni, a prominent lawyer and legal advisor, was tragically assassinated at Yangon International Airport. He was returning from a trip to Indonesia with the Information Minister U Pe Myint. U Ko Ni was outspoken in his advocacy for law reform and was also a well-known Muslim in majority-Buddhist Myanmar. His untimely death is an unspeakable loss for the country. Ko Ni was born near Katha in Saigang Division in 1953, and was the son of a Muslim father and a Burmese Buddhist mother. This was not unusual for the time. In the early 1900s, his father came to Burma through his work with the British

AMCDP tribute to U Ko Ni

Media release by the Australia Myanmar Constitutional Democracy Project The assassination of U Ko Ni, at Yangon airport on 29 January, is devastating, tragic, news. His death will distress all who knew him and all who knew the service he gave his country. U Ko Ni was a distinguished lawyer, a legal adviser to Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy,  a Muslim, and a tireless advocate of the principles of a tolerant and peaceful democratic society under the rule of law. We feel first of all for his family, but also for all those who share hopes that Myanmar might soon become a peaceful, flourishing and tolerant constitutional democracy  - the goal to which this fine, brave and dedicated man devoted his life, and for which he has now sacrificed it. Among his many public services, U Ko Ni was a deeply generous friend and supporter of the Australia-Myanmar Constitutional Democracy Project, which is directed from the Faculty of Law at UNSW, and has since 2013 sought to

Judicial Independence and Selection Processes in Indonesia

On 30 January 2017, a focus group discussion on " Judicial Independence and Selection Processes in Indonesia " was held in Jakarta. The session was run by Dr Fritz Siregar of the University of Indonesia and Dr Melissa Crouch of UNSW. The discussion was attended by judges of the Indonesian Supreme Court, lawyers from the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation, Indonesian Corruption Watch, and members of the Judicial Commission. The issue of review of judicial appointments has become an increasingly significant issue. In countries that have undergone a transition from authoritarian to democratic rule, judicial reform is a key part to enhancing judicial independence. One aspect that affects judicial independence is the process and procedures for judicial appointment, as well as the review processes of decisions to appoint judges. There is no commonly accepted practice to review the decision to appoint a judge, especially in systems where the executive has large discretion to appoint

Professional Legal Education Program in Corporate and Commercial Law for Myanmar Lawyers

From May to July 2017, an exciting new professional legal education program will be run for commercial and corporate lawyers in Myanmar by the University of New South Wales Law Faculty and the Asian Development Bank.  The course will focus on core skills and areas of practice directly relevant to commercial and corporate law. It will include seminars on essential skills for corporate and commercial lawyers, company law, contracts, and an overview of key commercial transactions. The course will aim to equip lawyers with skills and knowledge vital for a successful commercial legal practice. We encourage applications from lawyers with no more than 3 years’ experience in commercial and corporate law (regardless of other legal experience such as litigation). We may also accept applications from final year law students who have already undertaken a law internship in a commercial law firm.  Participants will be selected on the basis of merit and demonstrated career aspiration t

Law and Society in Southeast Asia

From 5-12 January 2017, the annual Institute for Global Law and Public Policy (IGLP ), an initiative of Harvard Law School, forum converged on Thailand. The forum brings together young scholars and faculty from around the world for an intensive week of discussion and debate. As part of the week, Melissa Crouch along with Dr Vanja Hamzic (SOAS, London) and Arm Tungnirun ( Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok) convened a stream on ‘Law and Society in Southeast Asia’. The stream content was based on classic works by Professor MB Hooker on Southeast Asian Law texts and David Engel on Legal Consciousness in Thailand, as well as recent research by Vanja on 'Selfhood and Archipelago' in Indonesia and the Monogamy Law and the family in Myanmar by Melissa. This provided a basis from which to reflect and engage with critical themes in the study of law and society in Southeast Asia: legal pluralism, law and religion; Buddhism and law, legal consciousness, concepts of selfhood, sexual