Justice through knowledge: A new vision for public legal education in Vietnam

Shot entirely in Vietnam, this documentary follows a delegation of Canadian and Vietnamese experts as they apply a model for developing public legal education. Viewers are invited into conversations about legal rights and obligations with women, farmers, and local community leaders and learn how public legal education can lead to justice through knowledge.

The film, made by Canadian lawyer and videographer Stephen Herman was screened in Vancouver in March 2012 in celebration of International Women’s Day to illustrate a positive example of a women and justice project. The event, called ‘International Development: Doing things right while doing the right things – stories from the field’ was organised by the Justice Education Society (JES) and Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and included a panel and discussion on effective aid and empowering women.

This project was developed in 2011 as part of the Canadian Justice Education Society’s Judicial Development and Grassroots Engagement project.

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Judicial Development and Grassroots Engagement Project (JUDGE)

Funded by International Development Agency (CIDA) and the Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, this five year project run by Agriteam Ltd aims to develop capacity ‘so that the rights of Vietnamese citizens can be respected, promoted and protected in a more efficient, effective and equitable manner.

Justice Education Society assisted Agriteam Ltd. with the third component of their project, ‘Civil Society Engagement and Community-Level Access’. Evelyn Neaman, International Programmes Manager for the Justice Education Society provided technical assistance to Vietnam’s Ministry of Justice on developing a strategy for the development of public legal education resources. The Ministry is now testing the Canadian model for developing public legal education resources for farmers with land disputes and for women on marriage and divorce.

The Justice Education Society helped to provide technical support in the production of clear, easily-understood legal information for marginalized groups in Vietnam. Local communities were fully involved in the creation of a new handbook. As a result, ‘they have developed the type of ownership that helps assure the relevance and effectiveness of the resources.

Evelyn Neaman, travelled to Vietnam to lead the evaluation of PLE materials. A series of seminars for the Ministry of Justice, Department of Justice, Women’s Union and Farmers’ Association were held on the new model. She also hosted a two day seminar in April 2010 on ‘Designing Effective Public Legal Education for Women and Farmers in Vietnam.

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Justice Education Society

Building stronger communities by promoting understanding of, access to, and confidence in justice systems, at home and abroad.

Justice Education Society Vision

The Justice Education Society is a not-for-profit organisation established in 1989 as the Law Courts Education Society. Their International Programmes work in various regions of the world to strengthen the capacities of the justice system – a fundamental component of good governance. The Justice Education Society relies on the best international practices and adapts them to different countries and social contexts. Region-specific programming has been developed to create expertise in building local capacity in civil society and the formal justice system. The overall intent is to develop local capacity and to then integrate this into the ongoing operational work of their justice system partners.

The Justice Education Society has launched a podcast series, ‘Voices on Justice’ based on its good governance and institution-building projects around the world. The first podcast of this series features a compelling interview with Chief Judge Hong of the Vinh Long Province on the challenges of public legal education in Vietnam.

More about Justice Education Society’s International Programmes

Published: 19 October 2016

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