Legal Education and Judicial Training Program in Myanmar

From 2016 to 2019, Melissa Crouch led a major legal education project to deliver legal training for lawyers, judges and prosecutors in Myanmar. The project aimed to provide professional legal education training and skills integral to legal practice and the adjudication of commercial law. The program included a team of people from UNSW, foreign judges and practitioners from local law firms. The program had three components.

Part 1: Training local lawyers: this involved intensive training for 40 early career commercial lawyers in Yangon, Myanmar. Participants were selected in a competitive online application process. Topics covered include legal analysis and research skills for commercial practice, company law, commercial contracts, mergers & acquisitions, major projects, banking and finance, joint ventures and environmental law. Participants were required to complete four major written assignments in English to receive a certificate for the course. This program has benefited from the pro bono input of foreign commercial lawyers based in Yangon. It was run in collaboration with DFDL, Baker & McKenzie, Allen & Gledhill, Stephenson Harwood LLP, and Allen & Overy, among others.

This  innovative program included an online component via an online learning platform as part of an emphasis on blended learning. The addition of an online component to the course aims to enhance the learning experience of participants beyond the intensive face-to-face classes. It included tailored readings and additional resources, an online discussion forum, and set assignments and quizzes. It incorporated best practise techniques for teaching law to ESL learners (English as a second language). 

Part 2: Intensive training for 40 officers of the Union Attorney General’s Office in Naypyidaw, Myanmar. Topics include major projects, project finance and international agreements. This was run in collaboration with Baker & McKenzie, and Allen & Gledhill.

Part 3: Two major Judicial Colloquium specifically for judges of the High Courts in Myanmar. This colloquium covered a broad range of issues from statutory interpretation to adjudication of commercial law and arbitration. The colloquium was in partnership with the Federal Court of Australia and included contributions from Justice R White and Registrar Colbran. It also involved contributions from several foreign judges from Singapore and Hong Kong, as well as Justice Bergin of the Singapore International Commercial Court (formerly of NSW Supreme Court). The colloquium was also held in collaboration with Sydney-based Norton Rose law firm.

Given the absence of a professional legal training institute, this program offered a significant educational contribution to the training of a new generation of commercial law lawyers and judges in Myanmar.