This Guide will help you research the legal systems of the 10 South East Asian nations that comprise The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) - Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. For information about ASEAN and human rights, see the South East Asian page on our Human Rights Research Guide.
Legal Systems of SE Asian Nations
Legal Systems in ASEAN (open access) - from the ASEAN Law Association. Note that only 7 countries are so far included (not Cambodia, Lao PDR or Myanmar). For each jurisdiction, there are chapters on: Historical Overview, Sources of Law, Government and the State, Legal Procedure and The Legal Profession.
The Foreign Law Guide (UniMelb staff & student access) covers all ASEAN jurisdictions. You can search or browse by jurisdiction or subject. Each jurisdiction includes:
Juriglobe - World Legal Systems (open access) includes the following alphabetical, graphical and statistical distributions for all countries:
Modern Legal Systems Cyclopedia - on HEIN (UniMelb staff & student access). Although dated, the scholarly chapters provide excellent and detailed information about each of the 10 ASEAN countries.
Doing Business in South East Asia
General Country Information
Use the following resources to find general country information about the 10 countries in this guide - history, demographics, economy, government etc.
Country Reviews (UniMelb staff & student access) - annually updated in-depth reports of demographic, social, political, economic, business, investment, cultural and environmental information. These are excellent up to date sources of information, which include information on freedoms, human rights, status of women etc.
Europa World Plus (UniMelb staff & student access):
CIA World Factbook (open access) includes country information for all 10 ASEAN countries. The World Factbook Guide to Country Comparisons compares all countries in 80 topic areas under the main headings of Geography, People and Society, Economy, Energy, Communications, Military, Transportation.
Australian Government DFAT Country Briefs.
Rule of Law in ASEAN
Update on the Rule of Law for Human Rights in ASEAN: The Path to Integration (2016) - includes detailed chapters on all ASEAN nations.
Globalex Research Guides (open access) are excellent and up to date overviews of the legal systems of individual countries, guides to legal research and links to primary and secondary material in 9 of the 10 ASEAN nations (not Brunei).
See also on Globalex - Jeong Chung Phuoc, Sharīʿah Law in South East Asian (ASEAN) Region: Business and Religion - An Exploratory Introduction (2017)
Library of Congress Guide to Law Online provides brief information on the legal systems of the 10 ASEAN nations and links to open access sources for legislation and cases.
This box provides general information about ASEAN. For information about ASEAN and human rights, see the South East Asian page on our Human Rights Research Guide.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was established on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok, Thailand, with the signing of the ASEAN Declaration (Bangkok Declaration), which set outs the aims and purposes of ASEAN.
More about the history, establishment, structure and activities of ASEAN.
The 10 ASEAN Member States have adopted a set of fundamental principles, as contained in the 1976 Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC).
The ASEAN Charter entered into force on 15 December 2008. It is the foundation for achieving the ASEAN Community by providing the legal status of and institutional framework for ASEAN. It also codifies ASEAN norms, rules and values, sets clear targets for ASEAN; and presents accountability and compliance. For detailed commentary on the Charter, see the following book:
Recent Books on ASEAN - General & Legal