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Vietnam belongs to the socialist law family, but its legal system also draws inspiration from pre-colonial and contemporary East Asian legal systems. Together, these sources form a complex legal architecture that is based on different systems of knowledge that in different times and places co-exist, interact and conflict. Vietnam’s legal system is slowly moving away from its socialist origins and adopting the trappings of a civil law system. Over the last three decades the State has enacted a comprehensive legislative framework that now cover most aspects of civil, commercial and criminal law. Reforms that might bring this law into the lives of most people are tempered by the Communist Party’s insistence on controlling state institutions—including the courts.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationElgar Encyclopedia of Comparative Law
EditorsJan M. Smits, Jaakko Husa, Catherine Valcke, Madalena Narciso
Place of PublicationCheltenham UK
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781839105609
ISBN (Print)9781839105593
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • comparative law
  • Vietnam
  • Law Reform
  • Courts
  • Socialist law

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