LAWS3167/JURD7567 The Rule of Law in Southeast Asia

Lecturer: Melissa Crouch

What is the course about?
Want to prepare yourself to work in a developing country and use your legal skills to help others after you graduate? ‘The Rule of Law in Southeast Asia’ is the subject for you. This course provides students with an introduction to the legal traditions in Southeast Asia through a focus on the development and promotion of the rule of law. As a legal and political ideal, the rule of law is now commonly promoted by scholars, politicians and legal professions as essential to democratic reform and economic progress around the world, including in Southeast Asia.

This course will provide an opportunity for students to reflect on law reform and the promotion of the rule of law in Southeast Asia, including Myanmar, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.

Why does the subject interest you?
The reason I am teaching this course is because for the past 10 years, I have had the opportunity to research the legal traditions of Southeast Asia. In particular, I have spent a lot of time doing research and legal education in Myanmar, which is the latest site for law and development initiatives. I have worked with a range of international organisations there, including the United Nations Development Program, USAID, the International Bar Association, International Institute for Electoral Assistance and Democracy, the Open Society Foundation and the Asian Development Bank.

Do you have any advice to give students who are interested in taking this course?
This course is designed to give students an edge in their CV by being able to demonstrate close knowledge and understanding of the complex and diverse legal systems in our region. This course will help prepare students who aim for a career with international non-government organisations and development agencies; law firms that have branches in Southeast Asia; or careers in government or the private sector. Given Australia’s proximity to Southeast Asia, the pressing justice concerns in the region, and the economic growth of countries such as Indonesia, now is a fantastic time to be studying the role of law in the region.

My advice to students taking this course is to think about an issue or idea that relates to the rule of law in Southeast Asia that you would really like to do research on. It could be anything from the death penalty in Indonesia, court reform in Vietnam, to constitutional reform in the Philippines. This subject will give you the skills, knowledge and time to be able to pursue that interest, and at the same time equip you for your future career path. I am happy to supervise students who would like to undertake a research only subject related to the rule of law in Southeast Asia.