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This course will provide students with an introduction to legal systems and traditions in Southeast Asia through a focus on the development and promotion of the ideal of the rule of law. The rule of law is now commonly promoted by scholars, politicians and legal professions as essential to political and democratic reform in Southeast Asia. The rule of law is however an inherently contested concept, and there is vigorous debate over its substance, content and practical value. This course will provide an opportunity for students to reflect on law reform in a number of countries in Southeast Asia, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Myanmar. Core themes of the course include: law reform in authoritarian states; constitutional law; democratisation; the courts; the role of judicial review; human rights institutions; religion-state relations; and legal education. This is a research-intensive subject.

This course is for students who are interested in deepening their understanding of the rule of law and exploring debates on law reform and democratisation in Southeast Asia. The course will equip students going into legal practice or into other sectors with a broad knowledge of legal traditions in the region, understanding of contemporary debates in law reform, and a deep appreciation for the legal systems of Southeast Asia. The course may include guest speakers. Students are encouraged to take Law in the Global Context prior to or simultaneously with this course.

Faculty Faculty of Law
Study Level


Offering Terms

Term 3



Indicative contact hours


Course Outline

To access course outline, please visit:


Pre-2019 Handbook Editions

Access past handbook editions (2018 and prior)

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