1 The Seventh ASEAN Senior Law Officials Meeting (ASLOM) was held in Singapore on the 10th –11th September 2001.
2 The Meeting was attended by Mr Pg. Kasmirhan Bin Pg. Mohd Tahir, Head, International Division, Attorney-General’s Chambers Brunei Darussalam; Mr. In Vong, Counsellor, Embassy of the Kingdom of Cambodia; Mr Sanusi, Minister Counsellor, Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia; Mr. Sida Laukaphone, Director of Law Research Centre, Ministry of Justice, Lao PDR; Mdm. Azailiza Mohd Ahad, Head of Unit, Advisory and International Division, Attorney-General’s Chambers, Malaysia; Dr. Tun Shin, Director-General, Office of the Attorney-General, the Union of Myanmar; Ms. Merceditas N. Gutierrez, Under-Secretary, Department of Justice, the Republic of the Philippines; Mr. Jeffrey Chan Wah Teck, Chief of Staff, the Singapore Legal Service and Head, Civil Division, Attorney-General’s Chambers, Republic of Singapore; Mr. Tongthong Chandransu, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Kingdom of Thailand; Mr. Vu Duc Long, Deputy Director, Department of International Law and Cooperation, the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, and Dato’ Ahmad Mokhtar Selat, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN, and their respective delegations.
3 The Attorney-General of Singapore, Mr Chan Sek Keong, warmly welcomed participants to the 7th ASLOM. In his opening address Mr Chan said that ASEAN legal systems have to be effective and efficient to play their proper role in promoting and supporting economic development in ASEAN countries. Developing effective and efficient legal systems is a big challenge for ASEAN countries singly and collectively, he added.
4 According to Mr Chan, it is in the interests of ASEAN countries to work towards a convergence of their laws as much as possible to facilitate trade and commerce amongst themselves in order to make ASEAN more attractive to foreign direct investments. Harmonisation should be regarded as an exercise in sovereignty, rather than as a loss of sovereignty, he stressed. Mr Chan also called for countries that have a more developed legal profession to help and be allowed to assist their other ASEAN counterparts in order to enhance the quality of their legal services especially in a new global legal environment.
5 The Solicitor-General of Singapore, Mr Chan Seng Onn was elected Chairman of the 7th ASLOM. In his address to the Meeting, Mr Chan said that the continuing frank exchange of views, experiences and useful ideas, and more importantly, the transformation of those ideas and initiatives into concrete proposals for implementation will no doubt lend further impetus to the development of an ASEAN legal infrastructure and information service that ASEAN can be proud of.
6 ASEAN Legal Information Network Systems (LINKS): To date, there are hyperlinks in the ASEAN Secretariat website to the relevant legal institutions in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam. The Attorney-General’s Chambers of Singapore has embarked on a project to make the database of all the Acts of Singapore available on the Internet for free access by members of the public (including Member Countries) by the end of 2001 or early 2002.
7 Sharing of Legal Research: There was consensus that there was an existing avenue available to all Member Countries for the sharing of legal research. This could be done bilaterally or multilaterally.
8 ASEAN Government Law Directory: Singapore will compile the first ASEAN Government Law Directory which will be made available by the 5th ASEAN Law Ministers’ Meeting (ALMM) to Member Countries (especially the legal sector of all ASEAN Member countries) and the public. The Law Directory will contain the structures of government of ASEAN Member Countries, the key legal officials of each ASEAN Member Country, their contact particulars and a brief write-up setting out their role and responsibilities and those of their departments/agencies. It will also be published on the ASEANWEB.
9 ASEAN Government Legal Officers Programme: The first event of the ASEAN Government Legal Officers Programme which was a Seminar on “Good Governance and the Promotion of Trade” was held in Singapore from 13 to 17 November 2000. It was attended by Government legal officers from all ASEAN Member Countries. This was very successful. Following this, as contemplated by this Programme, another Seminar on a different subject will be held soon in another ASEAN Member Country.
10 Exchange of Legal Information (Establishment of ASEAN Legal Information Authority): Brunei, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam have nominated their national contact points to be the ASEAN Legal Authorities who will be responsible for facilitating the exchange of legal information amongst ASEAN countries and will also be the repository of ASEAN legal information for their government. This information will be made available on the ASEANWEB.
11 Exchange of Study Visits by ASEAN Law Officials: Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam have participated in the exchange of study visits in order to study each other’s legal systems and develop links among their legal officials.
12 The 7th ASLOM discussed and agreed that there can be continuing exchange of views and experiences between ASEAN Member Countries on the harmonisation of their trade laws and ways to improve the procedures for the legalisation of documents.
13 Date and Venue of the Eighth ASEAN Senior Law Officials Meeting: The next ASLOM and the 5th ALMM will be held in Thailand tentatively in June 2002.
14 The Meeting expressed its appreciation to Singapore for the warm hospitality accorded to them and for the efficient arrangements made for the Meeting.
15 The Meeting was held in the traditional ASEAN spirit of cordiality and solidarity.