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September 11, 2023

ABA ROLI and the Vietnam Court Academy Hosted a Training of Advocacy Skills Course in Vietnam

From August 24-26, 2023, the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI), in collaboration with the Vietnam Court Academy, successfully orchestrated a Training of Advocacy Skills (TAS) course, benefitting 115 law students from Hanoi Law University, Hanoi Procuratorate University, and the Vietnam Court Academy. The course was implemented through ABA ROLI’s Criminal Trial Advocacy (CTA) Program, with funding by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.

In 2015, Vietnam introduced adversarial elements to its 2015 Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), which marked an effort to reform court processes in the country; and on January 1, 2018, the 2015 CPC went into effect. While Vietnam’s criminal procedure generally falls in the inquisitorial criminal justice system, the 2015 CPC introduced elements of the adversarial criminal procedure. To assist Vietnam’s judicial system with this transition, ABA ROLI began implementing the Criminal Trial Advocacy (CTA) Program in 2019. The program focuses on building increased capacity among judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys to champion, teach, and model the trial advocacy skills and values needed to implement CPC reform.

Training Advocacy Skills Course, Image details below.

Training Advocacy Skills Course, Image details below.

Vietnam, August 2023.

Clockwise from top left: 

  1. Mr. Ryan E. McKean, INL Director, delivering Opening Remarks.
  2. Mr. Ryan E. McKean - INL Director, Mr. Pham Minh Tuyen – VCA Director, and Mr. Samuel Juett – INL Program Coordinator at Conference opening.
  3. Award Ceremony for the Teams who participated in the Mock Trial Competition.
  4. Law students role-playing in the Criminal Mock Trial competition

Across the first two days, students were treated to presentations delivered by esteemed professors from these institutions. These presentations, focusing on TAS skills for judges, prosecutors, and lawyers involved in first-instance trials, fostered a comprehensive understanding of these critical legal roles.

The highlight of the event occurred on the final morning when participants from all three institutions engaged in a Criminal Mock Trial competition. This dynamic training adopted an interactive teaching approach, encouraging students to actively brainstorm and express their viewpoints. The TAS training not only helped students reinforce theoretical knowledge gained at their universities, but also honed practical skills essential for their future careers.

The speakers went beyond theory, sharing valuable insights into the common mistakes made by prosecutors, judges, and lawyers during criminal proceedings. Drawing on years of teaching and research, these sessions provided an unparalleled opportunity for students to access real-world expertise not typically covered in their academic studies.

The Mock Trial competition garnered accolades from the Judge panel for the students' impressive acting and role-play. Their thorough preparation and exceptional execution earned all three teams (trial panel, prosecutors, and lawyers) the first and second prizes, reflecting their dedication and commitment.

Concluding the event, Mr. Pham Minh Tuyen expressed his high regard for the TAS training's practicality for law students. He advocated for more such initiatives to provide students with platforms to put their acquired knowledge and skills into practice. This event undoubtedly contributed to bridging the gap between theory and practice in legal education.

Learn more about ABA ROLI’s work across Asia & the Pacific.