VIETNAM has launched an ambitious plan to reform its judiciary system, in a bid to improve efficiency and independence.
It is hoped the move will underpin the country's drive towards doubling its gross domestic product in the next 10 years through a thriving private business sector.
The officially Communist country is receiving $1.85m (£1.12m) from the United Nations Development Programme to help fund the $5m (£3m) seven-year scheme, with Sweden offering a further $1.76m (£1.06m) and Denmark $460,000 (£277,000). This money will help the Vietnamese government design and monitor a comprehensive reform programme which aims to improve the country's legislative drafting process, widen access to justice, promote enforcement of a new law opposing administrative violations by the police, and reinforce the ability of local officials to implement the country's laws. Indicating that the scheme was a top priority for his government, Vietnam Minister of Justice Uong Chu Luu welcomed the foreign support, saying: "The comprehensiveness, complexity and long-term nature of the legal reform agenda demands a sustained capacity to guide, monitor, co-ordinate and evaluate the process."