Burma and the common law? An uncommon question

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Abstract

What is the role of the common law in Burma’s current and future legal system? It is often assumed that common law concepts are relevant to, and applicable in, Burma’s legal system as they are in England and other former English colonies. However, closer analysis shows that such an assumption may be wrong in many respects. Various common law concepts have been negated by statutory laws in Burma’s legal history and developments in the country’s legal system between the mid 1960’s and 1980’s. The lack of judicial independence from 1962 onward has also been a serious impediment to the common law’s use and operation. However, even if Burma obtained judicial independence tomorrow, this article suggests that earlier developments have negated many common law concepts. It is difficult to see how the common law can provide much to Burma’s legal system unless there is specific legislative revival. This article also identifies areas where the common law is inadequate and constitutional or statutory arrangements should be considered for Burma’s future legal system.This article examines the issue in four stages:
1 introduction/overview of the common law;
2 outline of some common law concepts;
3 relevant developments in Burma; and
4 conclusions.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
JournalThailand Journal of Law and Policy
Volume10
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2006

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