Skip to main content

Southeast Asian Legal Research Guide: Legislation

Legislation / Legal Normative Documents

Article 100 of the 2013 Constitution states that 'the Government, the Prime Minister, Ministers and heads of ministerial-level agencies shall issue legal documents to exercise their duties and authorities'.

Pursuant to the Constitution, Vietnamese legal normative documents (legislation) were reorganised  by the Law on Promulgation of Legal Normative Documents (Law No 80/2015/QH13), which came into effect in July 2016. This Law prescribes the law-making process and regulates the types of legal documents. Article 4 categorises legal documents into 15 levels of validity of which the Constitution has the highest level. The 15 levels are (with issuing Authority in brackets):

  1. The Constitution  (National Assembly)
  2. Code, Law, Resolution (National Assembly) 
  3. Ordinance, Resolution and and Joint Resolution  (Standing Committee of the National Assembly) 
  4. Order and Decision (President) 
  5. Decree (Government) 
  6. Decision (Prime Minister)
  7. Resolution (Judge Council of the Supreme People's Court) 
  8. Circular and Joint Circular (Ministers and head of ministry-level bodies, Chief Justice of the Supreme People's Court, Head of the Supreme People's Procuracy)
  9. Resolution (People’s Councils of Provinces) 
  10. Decision (People’s Committees of Provinces)
  11. Legal normative document of local governments in administrative - economic units 
  12. Resolution of the People’s Councils of districts, towns and cities within provinces (districts)
  13. Decision of the People’s Committees of districts 
  14. Resolution of the People’s Councils of communes, wards and towns within districts (communes) 
  15. Decision of the People’s Committees of communes.

National Assembly building in Hanoi

Finding Legislation in English

All legal documents must be published in Công Báo, the Official Gazette (Article 150 of the  Law on Promulgation of Legal Normative Documents). We do not subscribe to the Gazette. The contents of each volume from 1994 to current are published in English on open access on the Official Gazette website of the Vietnam Law & Legal Forum

There is no one place online to find all Vietnamese legal documents. We recommend the following:

  1. The official Legal Normative Documents website (open access) on the Government portal includes all types of legal documents (laws, codes, resolutions, circulars, decrees etc) and can be browsed or searched. However, its coverage is patchy. For example, it is missing the 2013 Constitution, and a raft of recent important laws such as the 2015 Law on Promulgation of Legal Normative Documents, the 2015 Civil Code, and the 2012 Labor Code. Note that the English translations on this website are official.
     
  2. The Economica Legal Documents & Laws website (open access) includes major Laws, Codes and Resolutions and is completely up to date. However, its coverage is not comprehensive. Note that the English translations on this website are unofficial. It is arranged by default in date order, with the most recent laws listed first. It can also be sorted by title and document type. It includes major recent Laws and Codes promulgated since the 2013 Constitution, such as:

3. The Vietnam Laws Online (produced by law firm Allens) (UniMelb staff & student access) includes laws relevant to those doing business in Vietnam, such as foreign investment, commerce, banking and finance, and business laws.The database can be searched by subject category, keyword, issuing-body, date, legislation type, or official number. Note that the English translations on this website are unofficial