Established in 1979, it brings together under one roof all the different branches of the law profession – judges, law teachers, law practitioners and government lawyers. The ASEAN Law Association is a dynamic organization, moving forward in collaborative efforts to understand and harmonise laws in the region. It continues to play a complementary role in promoting a common ASEAN focus on key issues and policies.
The objectives of the Association are :
- To promote close relations, cooperation and mutual understanding amongst lawyers in the ASEAN countries
- To provide the organisational framework for regional cooperation :
- i) in the study of and research in the laws of the ASEAN countries with a view to harmonizing those laws as required by the social and economic development of the ASEAN region
- ii) in promoting and facilitating the co-ordination of activities and the carrying out of collaboration projects, among lawyers’ organisations, law faculties, legal research centres and other like institutions in the ASEAN countries;
- iii) in promoting, exchanging and disseminating information of the laws, legal systems and legal development of the ASEAN countries
- iv) for the purpose of carrying into effect the objectives hereinbefore set out, in the publication of journals, newsletters, bulletins and in the organising of conferences, meetings, symposia, seminars and other discussions;
- To provide organisational facilities for ASEAN cooperation in conflict avoidance, in the arbitration or resolution of legal disputes in transnational contracts within the ASEAN region; and
- To cooperate with international, regional, national and other organisations in the furtherance of the aforementioned objectives.
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
The Assembly consists of all the members of the Association. A regular session of the Assembly is generally called once every three (3) years, the venue of which is, unless circumstances otherwise require, rotated among the member countries in alphabetical order. The Assembly has the following powers:
- To determine the general policies of the Association
- To consider and adopt or otherwise deal with the reports of the council;
- To elect the officers of the Association;
- To make amendments to this Constitution;
- To revoke any By-Laws made by the Council;
- To fix the venue for the next session of the Assembly; and
- To do such acts or things as it may deem appropriate and necessary to promote, protect and preserve the interests of the Association.
A quorum of the Assembly is formed when not less than 6 ASEAN member countries are represented by their delegations. Decisions of the Assembly are arrived at by consensus. If no consensus is achieved, the relevant motion or resolution lapses.
THE GOVERNING COUNCIL
The Governing Council consists of five (5) members from each ASEAN country appointed by the National Committee of that country, and comprising:
- A representative of the Government lawyers of that country;
- A representative of the Judiciary of that country;
- A representative of the practising lawyers of that country;
- A representative of the teachers of law in that country; and
- One other member.
Meetings of the Governing Council are chaired by the President. The Secretary-General, the Immediate Past President, the Immediate Past Secretary-General and the Chairman of the ASEAN Law Foundation are members of the Council ex-officio but do not have any voting right. The Governing Council has power:
- To approve the budget and to fix the amount of the dues and any special levies;
- To make and amend By-Laws;
- To determine the agenda at each session of the Assembly; and
- To appoint, and prescribe the duties of such officers, employees and agents of the Association, other than those to be elected at the Assembly, as it may deem to be desirable. All such other officers, employees and agents as may be appointed shall hold office at the pleasure of the Council.
The Governing Council may also do such acts, not being inconsistent with this Constitution, the By-Laws or any act of the Assembly, as the Assembly itself has power to do. Generally, the Council meets at least once during each calendar year. It may also hold such other meetings at such times and places as may be designated by the President of the Association or upon request in writing of the majority of the member countries. A quorum of the Council is formed when not less than 6 ASEAN member countries are represented by at least one member of the Council appointed by the National Committee of those countries. The Council may establish sections or committees of the Association with such jurisdiction and functions as the Council may determine.
The ALA has established seven Standing Committees to conduct studies on matters relevant to legal cooperation among ASEAN countries in various fields. These are the Standing Committees on:
- International Law
- Legal Profession
- Business Law
- Legal Education
- Legal Information
- Alternative Dispute Resolution
TRADE AND INVESTMENT GROUP
The Trade and Investment Group is a sub-group under the Standing Committee on Business Law and replaces the WTO Study Group. The WTO Study Group had proposed at the 35th Governing Council Meeting that the scope and objectives of the WTO Study Group should be widened to include “trade and investment” and that the group should be accordingly renamed, to reflect recent developments in this area. The Group’s recommendations were accepted by the Governing Council.
Every ASEAN country has established within itself a National Committee, consisting of not more than ten (10) members elected by the Members of the Association from that country. Members of the National Committee represent the following:
- The Judiciary
- Government Lawyers
- Practising Lawyers
- Teachers of Law of that country.
A Chairman is elected by the Members of the Association from that country from amongst the members of the National Committee.