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Law Students can help MPs make better Legislation

Date of Publication: 05 May 2017; Source: Myanmar Times

Legal experts spoke of the advantages that MPs can get if they incorporate law students in their legislative functions, during the National Law Students Conference held at Yangon University’s Diamond Jubilee Hall.

Retired legal expert, U Maung Maung (Maw Kyun) told The Myanmar Times that members of parliament who are legislators, are also voters when it comes to enacting a law.

They need to make extensive research on the laws being drafted which must be relevant to the times.

“The world is developing and other countries have laws too. Our neighbouring countries also have laws. MPs need to learn the laws and try how to amend them to take into account the changing times. It is better if they get help from law students instead of working alone,” he said.

In developed nations, such as the United States, the legislative branch is composed of big legislative groups and representatives are aided by interns and assistants when drafting bills.

However, this practice is yet to be implemented in Myanmar. As such, some legal experts have urged that cooperation must be fostered with law students at various universities.

“In America, congress members have their own teams. They have their office team and aid team. But, our budget is limited here. We also need a lot more human resources. If we can collaborate with students and universities, the students will gain a lot of knowledge. You can only know a subject once you have written a thesis on it. That’s why, writing a thesis and doing research are an absolute necessity.” said U Maung Maung (Maw Kyun).

“University students are taught theories, but they lack practical work related to the subject.

“To overcome this, effective assignments should be given in legal research and students should be given practical lessons which will be mutually beneficial, said U Win Naing, a managing partner from Win & Cho Law Firm.

U Win Naing added, “For example, students can be assigned to research Section 66(d) of the Telecommunications Law. Their findings can be edited and supervised by expert teachers and professors.

“The data can be sent to Hluttaw representatives. If this is done the law itself will also be refined. In this modern world, sending messages and mails is just a matter of a mouse click,” he said.

Law experts said that cooperation between law students and Hluttaw representatives requires an understanding between the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw or regional/state Hluttaws and the law departments from respective universities.

This task is not impossible and it needs both sides to cooperate and it does not cost much.

U Win Naing said, “If there is cooperation between law students and Hluttaw representatives, the undergraduate will get to improve thesis writing skills, doing research and get practical skills when they reach legal workplace.

Ko Kaung Myat Arkar from the Dagon University Law Students Association said, “We will try to make it happen. What we can do is to share research methods among the students to improve our abilities. We need to talk to Hluttaw representatives about this and also need the support from the teachers.”

Legislation has two sections; legal experts from the Hluttaw Bill Committee write the draft bill, and Hluttaw representatives discuss and decide if the draft is in line with the policies being pursued.

However, the law experts pointed out that all the Hluttaw representatives are not legal experts.

Yangon Region’s Hlaing township Hluttaw representative U Kyaw Kyaw Htun said, “They [MPs] will need the help of legal organisations. Therefore, the cooperation between law students and Hluttaw representatives has certain advantages and it should be encouraged.”

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