The rule of law in Vietnam: role and impact of informal institutions

Long, Hoang Duc (2007) The rule of law in Vietnam: role and impact of informal institutions. Masters thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

[thumbnail of Thesis document] PDF (Thesis document) - Submitted Version
Restricted to Repository staff only
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike.



It is widely recognized that the rule of law is an essential factor and indispensable value of a modem democracy. Establishing the rule of law is regarded as a priority to institutional reform in developing and transition countries. However, attempts to
establish the rule of law often raise problems and fundamental questions .about the nature of this concept and conditions necessary for such reforms to succeed.
This thesis examines and discusses the issue of the rule of law in theoretical and practical aspects: as a concept underlying the Western liberal-democratic system of government and as one of the main objectives of economic, political, and institutional reforms in Vietnam.
The theoretical aspect of the rule of law is discussed with reference to Western jurisprudential and political perspectives. This discussion provides a conceptual framework for assessing and comparing the rule of law in Vietnam (a one party system) with the concept used in Western liberal democracies.
For the practical aspect and case study, the theoretical standards discussed in the first part are applied to the analysis of the rule of law reforms in Vietnam. This is followed by assessment of the compatibility or lack of it, of the rule of law with the Vietnamese context. The thesis identifies some of the main obstacles to effective reform and successful transition to a rule of law polity/state in Vietnam, such as the informal institutions (Confucianism) and related to its social and political values. The main argument is that if the rule of law is not compatible with informal institutions rooted in society (e.g., Confucianism), the establishment of, or transition to the rule of law might fail. Therefore, Vietnam should not try to replicate the rule of law from the West in a mechanical and programmatic way.
My thesis suggests that a model of a rule of law polity in Vietnam should embrace a mixture of both Western democratic values and Eastern philosophies, which still, in some crucial way influence the Vietnamese society.

Repository Staff Only: item control page